Belgium’s second largest Flemish city is the result of port-based trade that has spanned centuries, leaving behind a medieval to modern pot of architecture, art and international culture, as well as a moderately generous pick-and-mix of local beers. While this is a large city with an own province, many of Antwerp’s main attractions are clumped close to the centre, and so are its tourists. Rarely arriving at Antwerp airport, most tourists first enter the city via the central train station which was once used to represent the Belgian capital’s station in a Hercules Poirot episode. They come in either from Brussels that lies about 25 miles straight South, or from Ghent (32 miles South West). The Dutch border is a little over 10 miles North. 

Antwerp has nestled beside the banks of the river Scheldt since the middle of the second century A.D but only got its name two centuries later, supposedly because a gianonce cut off the hand of a non-tax payer and threw it into the river. Flemish for hand is hand but with a slight t sound instead of a soft d; the verb for ‘to throw’ is werpenDropping the h is not really a universal faux-pas, so ‘appy ‘olidaymakers in ‘antwerp should feel right at ‘ome. As the Flemish-speaking community call the city Antwerpen and not Antwerp the giant tale is what most inhabitants will enjoy telling you. The true source of the city’s name is a mystery. Unless you believe in giants. However, such a punishment for tax offences is much easier to swallow in the modern age. 

Planning a trip to Antwerp? We’ve curated lists of the best breweries, restaurants, events and attractions in the city, especially for those with a love of authentic Belgian beer…

  1. Antwerp Breweries
  2. Antwerp Restaurants 
  3. Antwerp Events
  4. Antwerp Attractions


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