Celia So Paris in Antwerp

When my family suggested going to Antwerp for our Christmas holidays, I thought immediately the container harbor and the diamond trade. In fact, there are a lot more to see ! Antwerp is rich in history and culture. It is complex too !

Antwerp Historic Square

Complex because this part of Belgium, not like Brussels, is Dutch-speaking. Belgium is a small country, but it is divided into three regions : Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south and Brussels, the capital city and an autonomous region. Dutch is spoken in the north, whereas French is spoken in the south and in Brussels. Can you imagine two Belgian can not understand each other in their mother tongue and need to communicate in English.

Contemporay art on a wall of building, can you see it?

The city of Antwerp is renovating different areas. New iconic buildings are emerging.


A visit to Antwerp is not completed without seeing the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens. Rubens was more than an artist, he was also a diplomat. He was the superstar of the city. When he died, his funeral lasted for six weeks. We can see his paintings in different places, including the Cathedral of Notre Dame Antwerpen and of course in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA).

The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Antwerp – Triptych by Peter Paul Rubens
Exceptional but truly Belgian, a bar inside the Cathedral.
Madonna by Jean Fouquet in KMSKA

The city has a vibrant fashion trade too. There are many boutiques with creative designers’ clothing, such as Ann Demeulemeester.

Mode Museum Antwerp for all fashion lovers
Famous mussels with chips from Belgium!
Elfde Gebod restaurant – Lunch among all these religious statues is fascinating, food is good and reasonable price

To sum up, Antwerp is a city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity. Whether you like museums, admiring stunning architecture or shopping in creative designers’ clothes, there is always something for you.

Celia SO, Paris. January 2013

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