Antwerp, Belgium

Panorama from our ship, docked on the Schelde River, of the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire, Antwerp, Belgium

Panorama from our ship, docked on the Schelde River, of the waterfront and historic center of Antwerp with the magnificent, soaring Cathedral of Our Lady’s spire, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Celebrated as a leader in the diamond trade, Antwerp — Belgium’s second largest city after Brussels — is a many faceted city.  Among its architectural standouts is Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady), the largest cathedral in the Benelux countries.  The list of artists who were either born or worked in Antwerp includes Frans Halls, Anthony van Dyck, Pieter and Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens.  And Antwerp is a favorite of beer lovers – the Kulminator pub is famed for its menu of 600 brews.

 

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the ship, Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the ship, Antwerp, Belgium

 

After 169 years of construction, the cathedral of Antwerp — Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) – finally dominated the Antwerp skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 meters (404 feet).  It is the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries.

The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens.  Following a 20-year restoration, the cathedral has been restored to its former architectural beauty.

 

Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central Railway Station), Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central Railway Station), Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) with Michelin 2-star ‘t Zilte Restaurant on the top floor, Antwerp, Belgium

Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) with Michelin 2-star ‘t Zilte Restaurant on the top floor, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Details of the curved glass “curtain” walls of Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

Details of the curved glass “curtain” walls of Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Het Steen (Steen Castle), a medieval fortress dating back to the 13th century on the banks of the Schelde River (we were docked “next door”!), Antwerp, Belgium

Het Steen (Steen Castle), a medieval fortress dating back to the 13th century on the banks of the Schelde River (we were docked “next door”!), Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Looking towards Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) from the medieval residential quarter near the Schelde River, Antwerp, Belgium

Looking towards Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) from the medieval residential quarter near the Schelde River, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

New residential buildings built in the architectural style of the medieval buildings, adjacent to Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

New residential buildings built in the architectural style of the medieval buildings, adjacent to Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

“The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

“The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Legend has it that Antwerp owes its name to a corruption of the Dutch “hand werpen” (hand throwing).  The fountain in the middle of Grote Markt depicts the story of the brave Roman soldier Silvius Brabo, who slew the giant Druon Antigoon and threw his hand into the Scheldt River because the giant had demanded an exorbitant toll from every ship on the river.

The hand is also a prominent feature of the city’s coat of arms. Antwerp Hands come as pastry biscuits or as chocolate.  The chocolates may also be filled with marzipan and Elixir d’Anvers.  This luminous yellow liquer remains a popular tipple in Antwerp, still being produced in the center of the city.

 

Medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

Medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Closeup of “The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

Closeup of “The Antwerp Hand” statue in front of City Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Closeup of medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

Closeup of medieval residential buildings on Grote Markt in the heart of the old city, Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) tower and steeple, Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) tower and steeple, Antwerp, Belgium

 

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