Bart Albert De WeverŽivotopis
Antwerp first experienced an economic boom in the 12th century, when the rival port of Bruges started silting up. By the first half of the 14th century, the city had become the most important trading and financial centre in Western Europe, its reputation based largely on its seaport and wool market.
In 1356, Antwerp, which had been part of the Holy Roman Empire, was annexed to the County of Flanders and lost lots of its privileges, partly to Bruges' advantage. 50 years later, the political and economic tide turned again and as the Golden Age unfolded Antwerp became a world-class metropolis.
Antwerp was the focus of politico-religious struggles between the Protestant North and Catholic South (Spain), which led to the River Scheldt being closed, by the second half of the 16th century. From an economic point of view, this was a disaster. Thanks to painters like Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Jordaens and Teniers, yet the city continued to flourish culturally until the mid-seventeenth century.
From 1650 until the 19th century, the city went into serious decline, as the Scheldt remained closed and became little more than a provincial town. Only after the fall of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 did Antwerp enter a short period of prosperity, which ended with the Belgian Revolution in 1830 and once again the closure of the Scheldt. In 1863 the river was finally reopened for good, helping Antwerp to return to its former glory.
Apart from interruptions during the two world wars, Antwerp has experienced steady economic growth since the start of the 20th century and is now home to the second-largest European port, as well as the world hub for uncut diamonds.
Antwerp is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504 (November 2017), it is the most populous city proper in Belgium. Its metropolitan area houses around 1,200,000 people, coming at second place after Brussels.
Antwerp is situated on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary. It is about 40 kilometres north of Brussels, and about 15 kilometres from the Dutch border.
Grote Markt 1
The port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world and second in Europe. It handles big volumes of economically attractive general and project cargo, as well as bulk cargo. There is also a wind farm in the northern part of the port area.
Another great mainstay of Antwerp is the diamond trade that takes place largely within the diamond district. The city has 4 diamond bourses.
Antwerp also known as the cultural capital of Flanders is an outstanding historic centre for Belgian craftwork and artistry. In the past the city was home to such famous artists as Rubens, van Dyck, and Jordaens. In the same time, centuries of prosperity have bequeathed an inheritance of architectural beauty, which includes the magnificent cathedral, the town hall, and many other historical buildings in the old town center.
Antwerp's excellent museums are a must-visit places. In particular, the city's paintings - an incomparable collection of 15th- to 17th-century masterpieces from a time when the work of artists of the South Netherlands school attained extraordinary heights - is a highlight of any visit.