Critical sectors

Antwerp is most famous for its diamond trade, the world class port & logistics business and its well developed oil & chemical cluster. Besides that Antwerp acquired fame as a retail & fashion center and for its many business services centers.

World port city & logistics hub

The port of Antwerp-Bruges is a world port. It is the 11th largest port in the world and the 2nd largest port in Europe. Absolutely no other port is so centrally located in Europe as Antwerp, which makes transport to the consumers easier, more sustainable, more efficient and consequently less expensive. Many logistic companies have set up shop around Antwerp.

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Diamond capital

Around eighty-six percent of all rough diamonds pass through Antwerp on their way towards becoming earrings or other pieces of jewelry. Antwerp is home to both traders and cutters, to diamond schools and start-ups inventing new technologies to get even more brightness out of stones that have gotten an Antwerp Cut. Every diamond in the world passes at least once in Antwerp! In 2016, more than 202 million carat of both rough and cut diamonds were traded. Adding up to a total value of 48 billion dollar.

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Oil & chemical cluster

All major chemistry and refinery companies worldwide have their European headquarters in Antwerp. From here, an intricate network of pipelines brings oil to the heart of the mainland. Starting companies can easily plug into this existing network of companies. Home to both base chemicals and fine chemicals production, the Antwerp oil and chemical cluster can offer great integration possibilities.

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Center of retail

Antwerp is home to flagship stores and branches from all major retailers around the world. Next to these global names, a seemingly endless row of smaller, local boutiques with collections from up-and-coming fashion designers line the streets. You can find everything here – from grungy street style to catwalk. Throughout Belgium, the GDP per capita – and hence purchasing power – is 19% higher than the average in Europe. In the Province of Antwerp, the GDP is 38% higher, and even 45% in the District of Antwerp. And shoppers choose Antwerp as their favourite place to spend their income.

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The epicenter of business services

With so many fascinating companies the demand for business services is high. Many companies found their way here supplying services in HR, finance, legal, ICT, marketing, security, administration and so on. More than 20% of the total added value in business services in Flanders is generated in the city of Antwerp. The City of Antwerp has 6,846 companies that have to file accounts every year as well as 3,805 self-employed who all provide business services. The companies generate a total added value of 4.4 billion euros, with a workforce of 60,490 employees. This creates ample of opportunities for new business service providers.

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City of Fashion

Antwerp enjoys a special status in the fashion world. As a small city, it has managed to cement its position for several decades, alongside such international powerhouses as Paris, London, Milan and New York. Our city has acquired this status thanks to the strong reputation of the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the MoMu fashion museum and the creativity and innovativeness of fashion entrepreneurs who were trained in Antwerp. The city also has a unique and qualitative retail offering.

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Economic Clusters

Next to these sectors, the city of Antwerp is a haven for new developments in two major clusters: Digital Innovation and Circular Economy.

Antwerp hosts many events, invests in company hubs and incentives investments in these domains so many companies have the opportunity to develop value-adding services.

Digital innovation


Circular economy