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Antwerpen (Dutch; Antwerp, English; Anvers, French)is a charming city on the Scheldt River. Antwerpen is Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Bruegel, Plantijn, but also a thousand years of architecture, five centuries of music and artistic and decorative crafts. Antwerpen, Belgium?s second largest city, is a pedestrian-friendly city. Some 20 percent of the historic city center is traffic free and during the many summer festivities pedestrians are given absolute priority.
Antwerpen is art and culture. Antwerpen is relaxation and diversion for young and old. Antwerpen is fun and festivity and you are the guest of honor. Take a walk through the city! But have a map. The streets here change names frequently. A street amy have been named for one person one block, and for another in the next.

Antwerpen Central Station

Museum of the Arts

De Kathedraal of Our Lady in Antwerpen

The Kathedraal dominates the city skyline

Commemorating the church builders

The shops are built right up to the church

The bell and clock tower of De Kathedraal. I couldn't get the entire church in except from a great distance as above.
The building on the right is down the street from the cathedral and across the street from where I ate lunch. It displays the Flemish, Belgian, and European Union flags.
This is also where I was treated to a medley of songs from West Side Story played on the church bells. They started at noon and were still playing when I left at 12:50 PM.

The sign on the restaurant where I had lunch. The tomato salad and pizza were great, but you get a thimbleful of coffee for about $2.50. I also had a De Koninck beer which was good and cheaper than the coffee.

City Center of Antwerpen

Some of the beautiful buildings in Antwerpen

Camel Boy atop the gate to the Zoo

A loving Gnome in the park

Borromeus: This typical Baroque church was built by the Jesuits between 1615 and 1621 to a design drawn up by their rector Francois Aguillon and Brother Peter Huyssens. Rubens played an important part in the decoration of the facade and the pinnacle of the tower but especially of the interior.

The Stadhuis (Town Hall) in Grote Markt

Flags are displayed around the building

Buildings lining Grote Markt

All are topped by gilded statues

A World War Two Memorial commemorating
those who gave all

Druoon Antigoon,
the "hand thrower"

The bronze statue of the brave Brabo,
who slew Antigoon
The legend about the town of Antwerpen has it that a Giant (Druoon Antigoon) guarded the river here and levied a heavy toll on the river Scheldt, if a Ship's captain refused to pay, he cut off a hand and threw it into the river. Silvius Brabo, a Roman Centurian, killed Antigoon, and chopped off both the giant's hands and threw them in the river.
Hand-werpen: werpen means to throw.

The Scheldt Riverfront

The Steen

A closer view
The 'Steen' are the remainings of the former castle, that once was the core of the city, from which it developed further. Formerly called "'s Heren Steen", it is the oldest structure in Antwerpen. Excavations showed traces of habitation in the Gallo-Roman period. It was used as a prison from the Middle Ages to 1823. In 1864 it was opened as a Museum of Antiquities. In 1952 the National Maritime Museum was established there. It was enlarged to it's present state and re-opened on Myy 17, 1958.

A side view

Details of the reconstruction

The back view from the Maritime Museum

A Boxer grazes nearby

Lions guard the park

A cruise ship docks

A Navy Destroyer was also in port

This old barge is in the Maritime Museum

A flower display on a light pole

Flowers near the riverfront

A look down the riverside road

A horsedrawn tour carriage

The Diamond District, Antwerpen is the diamond
capitol of the world

RULE #1: Never buy diamonds from any guy named
The diamond district of the city starts right next to the Central Station. It is a pleasant jumble of shops and stalls where you can buy old and new jewelry. This is where about 60% of the world's production of rough and cut stones and industrial diamonds are traded, observing ancient traditions based on unconditional trust between dealers.
Looking down the street toward Antwerpen Central there must have been 50 or more of these "diamond stalls". Each was about fifteen feet wide and no deeper than eight or ten feet. You don't need much room when your only product is diamonds. On the other side of the street the vendors used more traditional shops, but the number of shops and principle was the same. Sell diamonds. And, no, I didn't buy any.

Music is "Horizon"
by Jean Luc Bertel

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