A WEEK­END IN...: An­twerp, Bel­gium

Fiona Richards chooses her favourite spots on vis­it­ing An­twerp and rec­om­mends all to be vis­ited with a good help­ing of chocolate and cake when­ever pos­si­ble

Timeless Travels Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Named as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2018, An­twerp has so much to of­fer and dis­cover that you will def­i­nitely need a long week­end to see as much as pos­si­ble. And whilst it has a pic­turesque and his­toric city cen­tre with many charm­ing me­dieval build­ings, it also has a mod­ern, vi­brant and cos­mopoli­tan feel which in­stantly makes the vis­i­tor feel wel­come.

The city is the sec­ond largest in Bel­gium, af­ter the cap­i­tal, Brus­sels. Ly­ing on the River Scheldt, its port is one of the largest in the world and the sec­ond largest in Europe.

His­tor­i­cally, An­twerp started to grow in im­por­tance in the 15th cen­tury, when for­eign trad­ing houses were moved from Bruges to An­twerp be­cause the River Zwin in Bruges was silt­ing up. It also be­came the sugar cap­i­tal of Europe, im­port­ing raw com­modi­ties from Por­tu­gal and Spain, which then at­tracted Ital­ian and Ger­man sugar re­fin­ers who ex­ported it, mostly to Cologne. Money­len­ders and fi­nanciers set­tled here and de­vel­oped large busi­nesses lend­ing money all over Europe, and at the be­gin­ning of the 16th cen­tury, the city ac­counted for a stag­ger­ing forty per­cent of the world’s trade. Af­ter 1541, how­ever, its trade and wealth de­clined whilst Am­s­ter­dam flour­ished in­stead.

Known as home to one of the world’s great­est known pain­ters, Rubens, it is also the di­a­mond cap­i­tal of the world - two great rea­sons to visit on their own! Here are my favourite places to ex­plore but there are also many more beau­ti­ful the­atres, churches, mu­se­ums and his­toric build­ings to dis­cover. To find out all about vis­it­ing An­twerp see: www.vis­i­tantwer­pen.be/en.

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