Belgium's second largest city, Antwerp blends modern style with a medieval character. The city hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. Today it is a major trade and cultural hub. Antwerp is sometimes nicknamed "diamond capital" for its large diamonds trading volume.
Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central) is the main railway station of Antwerp and a major transit hub. The original station building was constructed between 1895 and 1905. The building is now widely regarded as the finest example of railway architecture in Belgium with the extraordinary eclecticism in its style. It has been ranked as one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world.
The Rubens House (Rubenshuis) is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens (the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition) in Antwerp. It is now a museum. Rubens designed the building himself in 1610, based on studies of Italian Renaissance palace architecture that also formed the basis of his Palazzi di Genova.
Meir is the main shopping street in Antwerp. It is the most important shopping area in the country, both by number of shoppers and by rent prices. The name comes from the old Dutch word "meere" (lake). In this area, two important historic buildings can be found: Royal Residence, built in 1745, served as the Antwerp residence of the Kings of Belgium; the Osterrieth House, built in 1746 in full rococo style.
The Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal) is a Roman Catholic cathedral. Although the first stage of construction was ended in 1521, has never been 'completed'. It was built in Gothic style and contains a number of significant works by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Grote Markt (Great Market Square) is situated in the heart of the old city quarter. At walking distance, the Scheldt river flows alongside the city. It is a town square with many guildhalls. There are many restaurants and cafes around. In winter time, it houses a Christmas market and an ice rink.
Erected between 1561 and 1565, the City Hall (Stadhuis) incorporates both Flemish and Italian influences. In the 16th century Antwerp became one of the busiest trading ports and most prosperous cities in Northern Europe; a more imposing structure befitting the prosperity of the city was conceived. The Antwerp Stadhuis later became an exemplar for the new renaissance style in architecture in the Netherlands and Northern Europe. The Brabo's Monument based on a mythical story stands in front of the City Hall.
The Red Star Line Museum is the former warehouses of the Red Star Line ships. It was designated as a landmark and reopened as a museum in 2013. The Red Star Line was an ocean passenger line founded in 1871 as a joint venture between a company in Philadelphia. The museum's main focus is the travel stories of the some two million Red Star Line passengers. A quarter of those passengers were Jewish migrants largely from Eastern Europe until the exodus driven by the rise of Nazi Germany. Among them were many famous persons, including regular passenger Albert Einstein. The area is served by Tram Line 7 at Sint-Pietersvliet Station.
The Museum aan de Stroom (MAS; Dutch for: Museum by the River) is the largest museum in Antwerp. The museum's focus is the city and its many aspects including Antwerp's long history as a major international port. The building's façade is made of Indian red sandstone and curved glass panel construction. It is an example of postmodern Art Deco architecture.
Zurenborg is a historic area largely developed between 1894 and 1906 that features a high concentration of townhouses in Art Nouveau and other fin-de-siècle (end of the century) styles. The development of Zurenborg coincided with the peak of Art Nouveau popularity, which had the greatest impact on the style of the area. However, many other styles are also represented: Gothic Revival, Neo-Renaissance, Greek Revival, Neoclassical, and the "cottage style" that coincided with British Tudorbethan architecture. Today, the area is popular with artists and entrepreneurs. Many houses have become listed monuments.
De Koninck Brewery (Brouwerij De Koninck) is a Belgian brewery based in Antwerp. It was established in 1833 when Belgium as a country was barely three years old. By 1845, the brewery's name was successful and its beer had become well known.
The Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Museum is a sculpture park of 30 acres and it is part of the Middelheim Nachtegalen Park. Hundreds of sculptures are laid throughout the park and the collection includes works by many leading sculptors of modern and contemporary visual art.