The first sight many people see of Antwerp is the Central Station, which is more built like a cathedral with large domes and decorative walls. Stunning and a good spot for some photography!
Another famous sight is the Plantin Moretus, a UNESCO world heritage site which houses a museum with all things about the history of printing and is home to the oldest surviving printing press in the world. The collection is well curated and although it is not a topic I would’ve explored normally, I think it is a good way to spend half a day and gain some knowledge. Plus it is freezing cold outside and an indoor activity is very welcome.
Another good spot to explore is the St. Anna’s tunnel which is a pedestrian tunnel under the river for commuters who live on the other side of the Scheldt. It is still in use, just like the one in Hamburg. If you have never seen one, this is your chance.
So why is there a statue of a naked man throwing a hand? Legend says the name Antwerpen comes from Silvius Brabo killing the giant Antigoon and throwing his hand (hand werpen). Why, you might ask? Apparently this giant has very naughtily demanded a toll from boatmen and hacked off the hands of those who would not pay. What a beautiful story.
Actually, there is probably a much less dramatic origin of the name, but it just does not make a good story.
Another obvious sight is the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal or the Cathedral of Our Lady with several paintings by master painter Rubens (there is also his birth house to visit if you are interested). Even though this is not my preferred style and era, it is worth observing the small details of the artworks.
February 27th 2018