An unbeatable quality of life
© O.-L.-Vrouwekathedraal -Ans Brys
A Glorious Past
In the 16th century, Antwerp was the New York of its time. You can read all about it in Michael Pye’s widely lauded book, The Glory Years. The city, built on the banks of the River Scheldt, was a successful international metropolis and a remarkable hub for trade and business. As a trading centre, the city was ahead of its time. Its wealth and luxury seemed unparalleled. The city bustled with business and banking activities and people from all over the world visited with their wares. They all wanted to be in Antwerp. The great port exposed the city to numerous cultures, creating a metropolis that embraced new ideas, products, flavours, and opportunities.
Antwerp still has a palpable cosmopolitan buzz. It pulls in people from all over the world and ventures out to learn from the best and share its own invaluable assets, knowledge and talent with other continents. Over 173 cultures are present in Antwerp, contributing to its vibrant and diverse cultural fabric. This cultural richness enhances the city's global influence and fosters cross-cultural exchange.
Culture with a Capital C
A cultural walk around Antwerp will bring you to major historical landmarks, such as the Central Station, het Steen, the Cathedral of Our Lady and the impressive Town Hall which was completed in 1564.
Antwerp painter and diplomat Peter Paul Rubens, the most important Flemish painter of the 17th century, was part of the city’s economic and cultural success. After renovations in 2017, it is once again possible to visit his ‘palazzo’, where he lived with his family and created his world-famous paintings.
There is nostalgia in the old and magic in the new. Many renowned architects built inspiring buildings, such as the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS), the Port House, the Court of Justice and the Queen Elisabeth Hall, with its superb acoustics. The vibrant art and cultural scene in Antwerp attracts many artists and designers to the city so there is no shortage of inspiring modern art exhibitions and galleries. Antwerp lives, eats and breathes fashion, design, culture and gastronomy.
“A hidden gem. Famed for its diamond district. Flanders’ biggest city reflects a multicultural past and present, where forward-thinking and age-old tradition are woven together. It’s an attitude, not just of the people, but reflected in the cuisine too.”
© Frederik Beyens
Foodies: brace yourselves.
Antwerpenaars - that’s what natives of the city are called in Dutch - have long had a reputation as connoisseurs and makers of inventive food. With the Port as the primary gateway, food, drinks, herbs and spices from all over the world have influenced the city’s gastronomy throughout the ages. Antwerp offers a wide range of European, exotic, and of course, Belgian restaurants. These include Michelin Star and Gault & Millau restaurants, multicultural cuisine in Antwerp North, Chinese restaurants and supermarkets in Chinatown and Jewish kosher eateries in the area around Central Station. Belgian Beers are world famous and not to be missed. Besides beer, Belgium is also known for its delicious chocolate. Discover the magical history of Belgian chocolate in the world’s largest Belgian chocolate museum: Chocolate Nation. Taste and experience no less than ten different flavours of chocolate.
Fashion: an eclectic experience
Antwerp is a must for everyone who loves fashion. It is home to many well-known fashion brands, as well as the newest labels and independent designers. Its shops are as diverse and unique as Antwerp fashion itself. Famous fashion houses, local jewellery boutiques, unique concept and vintage stores, and design and interior shops are not to be missed. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ renowned Antwerp Fashion Department and the strong international reputation of Antwerp’s Fashion Museum are key ingredients in this success, alongside the creativity and innovative spirit of the fashion designers in the Modewijk or fashion district.
Source: Education in Flanders 2022
of the citizens are satisfied with living in Antwerp
Bicycle use has risen
Michelin stars and Michelin recognized restaurants
Source: City in numbers, 2021
A Metropolis on a Human Scale
For a huge number of visitors, the wide de Keyserlei avenue from Central Station to the major Meir shopping zone is their entrance to a day out in Antwerp. The grandeur of this great gateway has once again been restored after an extensive make-over. Now, shoppers can stroll along the widened footpath, undisturbed by traffic, or take a seat on the terraces of restaurants and cafés. It’s a true shopping paradise! On the corner with Frankrijklei, the Antwerp Tower will soon regain its former lustre: the tower will be completely refurbished, thereby fitting into the renovation of Opera Square.
An affordable city you’ll love to live in
Did you enjoy taking a tour with us? Brilliant museums, stunning architecture, theatres, galleries, a funky music scene, top-class restaurants, Belgian beers; Antwerp has it all. Not only is it the region’s cultural capital, it is also home to the Sportpaleis, proudly sitting in fourteenth place on the list of the world’s most visited arena venues.
The good news is that buying or renting a place in Antwerp is cheaper than in most European cities. Antwerp is an ideal place to live, work, play, and raise a family—and it’s affordable too. Many of the world’s most famous cities, including Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Oslo, are much more expensive than Antwerp. No wonder the population of Antwerp is on the rise! In recent years, many young families have been flocking to the inner city, boosting new urban developments all over town. New projects have recently emerged in countless locations in the city and many future developments are in the pipeline. Lively neighbourhoods, child-friendly, low cost of living… Life is good in Antwerp!
A great & safe place for kids
Antwerp is a great place to raise children. Its teachers and schools rank among the best in Europe and local sports clubs are open to everyone. And with every passing month, several kilometres of bike lane are added to the already bike-friendly inner streets of the city. The city is home to many international and local students who enjoy an unforgettable student experience in Antwerp’s numerous student bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Antwerp truly is a city you’ll love to live in.
© Jochen Verghote
Zuiderdokken – huge new open green spaces
Open spaces in the city centre are rare. The Zuiderdokken – Southern Docks - are a remnant of what were once three docks along the River Scheldt. After years of use as a plaza for events and car parking, there are now plans to turn it into a green, multipurpose amenity. The car park will be moved underground, making room for meeting spaces and a fresh view of the shops, houses, restaurants and cafés around the square. Not only that, it will also be child-friendly with a huge open-air playground.