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Antwerp Travel Guide

  • Photo: Nut Iamsupasit / Shutterstock

Plan Your Antwerp Vacation

Antwerp is Europe's second-largest port and has much of the zest often associated with a harbor town. But it also has an outsized influence in a very different realm: that of clothing design. Since the 1980s, Antwerp-trained fashion designers have become renowned for experimental styles paired with time-honored workmanship. Several designers, such as Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester, stay

firmly rooted in the city; others have filtered into major European couture houses. On their home turf, you can experience the fascinating mix of tradition and innovation that influences their work.

In its heyday, Antwerp (Antwerpen in Flemish, Anvers in French) played second fiddle only to Paris. Thanks to artists such as Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens, it was one of Europe's leading art centers. Its printing presses produced missals for the farthest reaches of the Spanish empire. It became, and has remained, the diamond capital of the world. Its civic pride was such that the Antwerpen Sinjoren (patricians) considered themselves a cut above just about everybody else. They still do.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Shop 'Til You Drop Antwerp is a sophisticated shopper's paradise, with a center that's crammed with trendy stores and designer boutiques showing off the latest creations by the region's top fashionistas—although you may need fresh air when you see some of the price tags.
  2. Diamonds Are Forever Shiny rocks are not just a girl's best friend in Europe's largest center of diamond trading. If you can't afford to buy, you can still admire, and watch them being cut at Diamondland.
  3. No Struggling Artist Vincent van Gogh may have had to barter his paintings in exchange for meals, but it's clear from a visit to Peter Paul Rubens's home that the Flemish master had no such problems earning a living. The lovingly restored home re-creates what it would have been like when the 17th-century court painter to Archduke Albrecht was in his prime.


Antwerp Itineraries



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