Antwerp (/ˈæntwɜːrp/ (listen); Dutch: Antwerpen [ˈɑntʋɛrpə(n)] (listen); French: Anvers [ɑ̃vɛʁs]) is a city in Belgium, and is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, and with 1,200,000 the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels.
Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river's Westerschelde estuary. It is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of Brussels, and about 15 kilometres (9 mi) south of the Dutch border. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally. The city is also known for its diamond industry and trade.
Both economically and culturally, Antwerp is and has long been an important city in the Low Countries, especially before and during the Spanish Fury (1576) and throughout and after the subsequent Dutch Revolt. Antwerp was also the place of the world's oldest stock exchange building, originally built in 1531 and re-built in 1872.
The inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren (Dutch pronunciation: [sɪɲˈjoːrə(n)]), after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur, "lord", referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century. The city hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics.
Coat of arms
Location in Belgium
Antwerp municipality in the province of Antwerp
|• Mayor (list)||Bart De Wever (N-VA)|
|• Governing party/ies|
|• Total||204.51 km2 (78.96 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,600/km2 (6,600/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||Antwerpenaar (m) Antwerpse (f) (Dutch)|
According to folklore, notably celebrated by a statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend about a giant called Antigoon who lived near the Scheldt river. He extracted a toll from passing boatmen, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river. Eventually the giant was killed by a young hero named Silvius Brabo, who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen, akin to Old English hand and wearpan (to throw), which has evolved to today's warp.
A longstanding theory is that the name originated in the Gallo-Roman period and comes from the Latin antverpia. Antverpia would come from Ante (before) Verpia (deposition, sedimentation), indicating land that forms by deposition in the inside curve of a river (which is in fact the same origin as Germanic waerpen). Note that the river Scheldt, before a transition period between 600 and 750, followed a different track. This must have coincided roughly with the current ringway south of the city, situating the city within a former curve of the river. However, many historians think it unlikely that there was a large settlement which would be named 'Antverpia', but more something like an outpost with a river crossing.
However, John Lothrop Motley argues, and so do a lot of Dutch etymologists and historians, that Antwerp's name derives from "anda" (at) and "werpum" (wharf) to give an 't werf (on the wharf, in the same meaning as the current English wharf). Aan 't werp (at the warp) is also possible. This "warp" (thrown ground) is a man-made hill or a river deposit, high enough to remain dry at high tide, whereupon a construction could be built that would remain dry. Another word for werp is pol (dyke) hence polders (the dry land behind a dyke, that was no longer flooded by the tide).
Alfred Michiels has suggested that derivations based on hand werpen, Antverpia, "on the wharf", or "at the warp" lack historical backing in the form of recorded past spellings of the placename. He points instead to Dado's Life of St. Eligius (Vita Eligii) from the 7th century, which records the form Andoverpis. He sees in it a Celtic origin indicating "those who live on both banks".
Historical Antwerp allegedly had its origins in a Gallo-Roman vicus. Excavations carried out in the oldest section near the Scheldt, 1952–1961 (ref. Princeton), produced pottery shards and fragments of glass from mid-2nd century to the end of the 3rd century. The earliest mention of Antwerp dates from the 4th century.
The Merovingian Antwerp was evangelized by Saint Amand in the 7th century. At the end of the 10th century, the Scheldt became the boundary of the Holy Roman Empire. Antwerp became a margraviate in 980, by the German emperor Otto II, a border province facing the County of Flanders.
In the 11th century, the best-known leader of the First Crusade (1096-1099), Godfrey of Bouillon, was originally Margrave of Antwerp, from 1076 until his death in 1100, though he was later also Duke of Lower Lorraine (1087-1100) and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre (1099-1100). In the 12th century, Norbert of Xanten established a community of his Premonstratensian canons at St. Michael's Abbey at Caloes. Antwerp was also the headquarters of Edward III during his early negotiations with Jacob van Artevelde, and his son Lionel, the Duke of Clarence, was born there in 1338.
After the silting-up of the Zwin and the consequent decline of Bruges, the city of Antwerp, then part of the Duchy of Brabant, grew in importance. At the end of the 15th century the foreign trading houses were transferred from Bruges to Antwerp, and the building assigned to the English nation is specifically mentioned in 1510. Antwerp became the sugar capital of Europe, importing the raw commodity from Portuguese and Spanish plantations. The city attracted Italian and German sugar refiners by 1550, and shipped their refined product to Germany, especially Cologne. Moneylenders and financiers developed a large business lending money all over Europe including the English government in 1544–1574. London bankers were too small to operate on that scale, and Antwerp had a highly efficient bourse that itself attracted rich bankers from around Europe. After the 1570s, the city's banking business declined: England ended its borrowing in Antwerp in 1574.
Fernand Braudel states that Antwerp became "the centre of the entire international economy, something Bruges had never been even at its height." Antwerp was the richest city in Europe at this time. Antwerp's golden age is tightly linked to the "Age of Exploration". During the first half of the 16th century Antwerp grew to become the second-largest European city north of the Alps. Many foreign merchants were resident in the city. Francesco Guicciardini, the Florentine envoy, stated that hundreds of ships would pass in a day, and 2,000 carts entered the city each week. Portuguese ships laden with pepper and cinnamon would unload their cargo. According to Luc-Normand Tellier "It is estimated that the port of Antwerp was earning the Spanish crown seven times more revenues than the Americas."
Without a long-distance merchant fleet, and governed by an oligarchy of banker-aristocrats forbidden to engage in trade, the economy of Antwerp was foreigner-controlled, which made the city very cosmopolitan, with merchants and traders from Venice, Ragusa, Spain and Portugal. Antwerp had a policy of toleration, which attracted a large crypto-Jewish community composed of migrants from Spain and Portugal.
By 1504, the Portuguese had established Antwerp as one of their main shipping bases, bringing in spices from Asia and trading them for textiles and metal goods. The city's trade expanded to include cloth from England, Italy and Germany, wines from Germany, France and Spain, salt from France, and wheat from the Baltic. The city's skilled workers processed soap, fish, sugar, and especially cloth. Banks helped finance the trade, the merchants, and the manufacturers. The city was a cosmopolitan center; its bourse opened in 1531, "To the merchants of all nations." 
Antwerp experienced three booms during its golden age: the first based on the pepper market, a second launched by American silver coming from Seville (ending with the bankruptcy of Spain in 1557), and a third boom, after the stabilising Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis in 1559, based on the textiles industry. At the beginning of the 16th century Antwerp accounted for 40% of world trade. The boom-and-bust cycles and inflationary cost-of-living squeezed less-skilled workers. In the century after 1541, the city's economy and population declined dramatically The Portuguese merchants left in 1549, and there was much less trade in English cloth. Numerous financial bankruptcies began around 1557. Amsterdam replaced Antwerp as the major trading center for the region.
The religious revolution of the Reformation erupted in violent riots in August 1566, as in other parts of the Low Countries. The regent Margaret, Duchess of Parma, was swept aside when Philip II sent the Duke of Alba at the head of an army the following summer. When the Eighty Years' War broke out in 1568, commercial trading between Antwerp and the Spanish port of Bilbao collapsed and became impossible. On 4 November 1576, Spanish soldiers sacked the city during the so-called Spanish Fury: 7,000 citizens were massacred, 800 houses were burnt down, and over £2 million sterling of damage was done.
Subsequently, the city joined the Union of Utrecht in 1579 and became the capital of the Dutch revolt. In 1585, Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, captured it after a long siege and as part of the terms of surrender its Protestant citizens were given two years to settle their affairs before quitting the city. Most went to the United Provinces in the north, starting the Dutch Golden Age. Antwerp's banking was controlled for a generation by Genoa, and Amsterdam became the new trading centre.
The recognition of the independence of the United Provinces by the Treaty of Münster in 1648 stipulated that the Scheldt should be closed to navigation, which destroyed Antwerp's trading activities. This impediment remained in force until 1863, although the provisions were relaxed during French rule from 1795 to 1814, and also during the time Belgium formed part of the Kingdom of the United Netherlands (1815 to 1830). Antwerp had reached the lowest point in its fortunes in 1800, and its population had sunk to under 40,000, when Napoleon, realizing its strategic importance, assigned funds to enlarge the harbour by constructing a new dock (still named the Bonaparte Dock) and an access- lock and mole and deepening the Scheldt to allow for larger ships to approach Antwerp. Napoleon hoped that by making Antwerp's harbour the finest in Europe he would be able to counter the Port of London and hamper British growth. However, he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo before he could see the plan through.
In 1830, the city was captured by the Belgian insurgents, but the citadel continued to be held by a Dutch garrison under General David Hendrik Chassé. For a time Chassé subjected the town to periodic bombardment which inflicted much damage, and at the end of 1832 the citadel itself was besieged by the French Northern Army commanded by Marechal Gerard. During this attack the town was further damaged. In December 1832, after a gallant defence, Chassé made an honourable surrender, ending the Siege of Antwerp (1832).
Later that century, a double ring of Brialmont Fortresses was constructed some 10 km (6 mi) from the city centre, as Antwerp was considered vital for the survival of the young Belgian state. And in the last decade Antwerp presented itself to the world via a World's Fair attended by 3 million.
Antwerp was the first city to host the World Gymnastics Championships, in 1903. During World War I, the city became the fallback point of the Belgian Army after the defeat at Liège. The Siege of Antwerp lasted for 11 days, but the city was taken after heavy fighting by the German Army, and the Belgians were forced to retreat westwards. Antwerp remained under German occupation until the Armistice.
Antwerp hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. During World War II, the city was an important strategic target because of its port. It was occupied by Germany in May 1940 and liberated by the British 11th Armoured Division on 4 September 1944. After this, the Germans attempted to destroy the Port of Antwerp, which was used by the Allies to bring new material ashore. Thousands of Rheinbote, V-1 and V-2 missiles were fired (more V-2s than used on all other targets during the entire war combined), causing severe damage to the city but failed to destroy the port due to poor accuracy. After the war, Antwerp, which had already had a sizeable Jewish population before the war, once again became a major European centre of Haredi (and particularly Hasidic) Orthodox Judaism.
A Ten-Year Plan for the port of Antwerp (1956–1965) expanded and modernized the port's infrastructure with national funding to build a set of canal docks. The broader aim was to facilitate the growth of the north-eastern Antwerp metropolitan region, which attracted new industry based on a flexible and strategic implementation of the project as a co-production between various authorities and private parties. The plan succeeded in extending the linear layout along the Scheldt river by connecting new satellite communities to the main strip.
Starting in the 1990s, Antwerp rebranded itself as a world-class fashion centre. Emphasizing the avant-garde, it tried to compete with London, Milan, New York and Paris. It emerged from organized tourism and mega-cultural events.
The municipality comprises the city of Antwerp proper and several towns. It is divided into nine entities (districts):
In 1958, in preparation of the 10-year development plan for the Port of Antwerp, the municipalities of Berendrecht-Zandvliet-Lillo were integrated into the city territory and lost their administrative independence. During the 1983 merger of municipalities, conducted by the Belgian government as an administrative simplification, the municipalities of Berchem, Borgerhout, Deurne, Ekeren, Hoboken, Merksem and Wilrijk were merged into the city. At that time the city was also divided into the districts mentioned above. Simultaneously, districts received an appointed district council; later district councils became elected bodies.
In the 16th century, Antwerp was noted for the wealth of its citizens ("Antwerpia nummis"). The houses of these wealthy merchants and manufacturers have been preserved throughout the city. However, fire has destroyed several old buildings, such as the house of the Hanseatic League on the northern quays, in 1891. During World War II, the city also suffered considerable damage by V-bombs, and in recent years, other noteworthy buildings were demolished for new developments.
Although Antwerp was formerly a fortified city, hardly anything remains of the former enceinte, only some remains of the city wall can be seen near the Vleeshuis museum at the corner of Bloedberg and Burchtgracht. A replica of a castle named Steen has been partly rebuilt near the Scheldt-quais in the 19th century. Antwerp's development as a fortified city is documented between the 10th and the 20th century. The fortifications were developed in different phases:
This is the population of the city of Antwerp only, not of the larger current municipality of the same name.
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
After the Holocaust and the destruction of its many Jews, Antwerp became a major centre for Orthodox Jews. At present, about 15,000 Haredi Jews, many of them Hasidic, live in Antwerp. The city has three official Jewish Congregations: Shomrei Hadass, headed by Rabbi Dovid Moishe Lieberman, Machsike Hadass, headed by Rabbi Aron Schiff (formerly by Chief Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth) and the Portuguese Community Ben Moshe. Antwerp has an extensive network of synagogues, shops, schools and organizations. Significant Hasidic movements in Antwerp include Pshevorsk, based in Antwerp, as well as branches of Satmar, Belz, Bobov, Ger, Skver, Klausenburg, Wiznitz and several others. Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth, chief rabbi of the Machsike Hadas community, who died in 2003, was arguably one of the better known personalities to have been based in Antwerp. An attempt to have a street named after him has received the support of the Town Hall and is in the process of being implemented.
The Jains in Belgium are estimated to be around about 1,500 people. The majority live in Antwerp, mostly involved in the very lucrative diamond business. Belgian Indian Jains control two-thirds of the rough diamonds trade and supplied India with roughly 36% of their rough diamonds. A major temple, with a cultural centre, has been built in Antwerp (Wilrijk). Mr Ramesh Mehta, a Jain, is a full-fledged member of the Belgian Council of Religious Leaders, put up on 17 December 2009.
There are significant Armenian communities that reside in Antwerp, many of them are descendants of traders who settled during the 19th century. Most Armenian Belgians are adherents of the Armenian Apostolic Church, with a smaller numbers are adherents of the Armenian Catholic Church and Armenian Evangelical Church.
One of the important sectors that Armenian communities in Antwerp excel and involved in is the diamonds trade business, that based primarily in the diamond district. Some of the famous Armenian families involved in the diamond business in the city are the Artinians, Arslanians, Aslanians, Barsamians and the Osganians.
According to the American Association of Port Authorities, the port of Antwerp was the seventeenth largest (by tonnage) port in the world in 2005 and second only to Rotterdam in Europe. It handled 235.2 million tons of cargo in 2018. Importantly it handles high volumes of economically attractive general and project cargo, as well as bulk cargo. Antwerp's docklands, with five oil refineries, are home to a massive concentration of petrochemical industries, second only to the petrochemical cluster in Houston, Texas. Electricity generation is also an important activity, with four nuclear power plants at Doel, a conventional power station in Kallo, as well as several smaller combined cycle plants. There is a wind farm in the northern part of the port area. There are plans to extend this in the period 2014–2020. The old Belgian bluestone quays bordering the Scheldt for a distance of 5.6 km (3.5 mi) to the north and south of the city centre have been retained for their sentimental value and are used mainly by cruise ships and short sea shipping.
Antwerp's other great mainstay is the diamond trade that takes place largely within the diamond district. 85 percent of the world’s rough diamonds pass through the district annually, and in 2011 turnover in the industry was $56 billion. The city has four diamond bourses: the Diamond Club of Antwerp, the Beurs voor Diamanthandel, the Antwerpsche Diamantkring and the Vrije Diamanthandel. Antwerp's history in the diamond trade dates back to as early as the sixteenth century, with the first diamond cutters guild being introduced in 1584. The industry never disappeared from Antwerp, and even experienced a second boom in the early twentieth century. By the year 1924, Antwerp had over 13,000 diamond finishers. Since World War II families of the large Hasidic Jewish community have dominated Antwerp's diamond trading industry, although the last two decades have seen Indian and Maronite Christian from Lebanon and Armenian, traders become increasingly important. Antwerp World Diamond Centre, (AWDC) the successor to the Hoge Raad voor Diamant, plays an important role in setting standards, regulating professional ethics, training and promoting the interests of Antwerp as the capital of the diamond industry. However, in recent years Antwerp has seen a downturn in the diamond business, with the industry shifting to cheaper labor markets such as Dubai or India.
A six-lane motorway bypass encircles much of the city centre and runs through the urban residential area of Antwerp. Known locally as the "Ring" it offers motorway connections to Brussels, Hasselt and Liège, Ghent, Lille and Bruges and Breda and Bergen op Zoom (Netherlands). The banks of the Scheldt are linked by three road tunnels (in order of construction): the Waasland Tunnel (1934), the Kennedy Tunnel (1967) and the Liefkenshoek Tunnel (1991).
Daily congestion on the Ring led to a fourth high-volume highway link called the "Oosterweelconnection" being proposed. It would have entailed the construction of a long viaduct and bridge (the Lange Wapper) over the docks on the north side of the city in combination with the widening of the existing motorway into a 14-lane motorway; these plans were eventually rejected in a 2009 public referendum.
In September 2010 the Flemish Government decided to replace the bridge by a series of tunnels. There are ideas to cover the Ring in a similar way as happened around Paris, Hamburg, Madrid and other cities. This would reconnect the city with its suburbs and would provide development opportunities to accommodate part of the foreseen population growth in Antwerp which currently are not possible because of the pollution and noise generated by the traffic on the Ring. An old plan to build an R2 outer ring road outside the built up urban area around the Antwerp agglomeration for port related traffic and transit traffic never materialized.
Antwerp is the focus of lines to the north to Essen and the Netherlands, east to Turnhout, south to Mechelen, Brussels and Charleroi, and southwest to Ghent and Ostend. It is served by international trains to Amsterdam and Paris, and national trains to Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, Brussels, Charleroi, Hasselt, Liège, Leuven and Turnhout.
Antwerp Central station is an architectural monument in itself, and is mentioned in W G Sebald's haunting novel Austerlitz. Prior to the completion in 2007 of a tunnel that runs northwards under the city centre to emerge at the old Antwerp Dam station, Central was a terminus. Trains from Brussels to the Netherlands had to either reverse at Central or call only at Berchem station, 2 kilometres (1 mile) to the south, and then describe a semicircle to the east, round the Singel. Now, they call at the new lower level of the station before continuing in the same direction.
Antwerp is also home to Antwerpen-Noord, the largest classification yard for freight in Belgium and second largest in Europe. The majority of freight trains in Belgium depart from or arrive here. It has two classification humps and over a hundred tracks.
The city has a web of tram and bus lines operated by De Lijn and providing access to the city centre, suburbs and the Left Bank. The tram network has 12 lines, of which the underground section is called the "premetro" and includes a tunnel under the river. The Franklin Rooseveltplaats functions as the city's main hub for local and regional bus lines.
The now defunct VLM Airlines had its head office on the grounds of Antwerp International Airport. This office is also CityJet's Antwerp office. When VG Airlines (Delsey Airlines) existed, its head office was located in the district of Merksem.
Belgium's major international airport, Brussels Airport, is about 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the city of Antwerp, and connects the city worldwide. It is connected to the city centre by bus, and also by train. The new Diabolo rail connection provides a direct fast train connection between Antwerp and Brussels Airport as of the summer of 2012.
There is also a direct rail service between Antwerp (calling at Central and Berchem stations) and Charleroi South station, with a connecting buslink to Brussels South Charleroi Airport, which runs twice every hour on working days.
The runway has increased in length, and there is now direct connectivity to Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Greece from the city of Antwerp.
The current city council was elected in the October 2018 elections.
The current majority consists of N-VA, sp.a and Open Vld, led by mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA).
|New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)||23|
|Socialist Party Differently (sp.a)||6|
|Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V)||3|
|Workers' Party of Belgium (PVDA)||4|
|Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld)||2|
In the 16th and 17th century important mayors include Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde, Anthony van Stralen, Lord of Merksem and Nicolaas II Rockox. In the early years after Belgian independence, Antwerp was governed by Catholic-Unionist mayors. Between 1848 and 1921, all mayors were from the Liberal Party (except for the so-called Meeting-intermezzo between 1863 and 1872). Between 1921 and 1932, the city had a Catholic mayor again: Frans Van Cauwelaert. From 1932 onwards and up until 2013, all mayors belonged to the Social Democrat party: Camille Huysmans, Lode Craeybeckx, Frans Detiège and Mathilde Schroyens, and after the municipality fusion: Bob Cools, Leona Detiège en Patrick Janssens. Since 2013, the mayor is the Flemish nationalist Bart De Wever, belonging to the Flemish separatist party N-VA (New Flemish Alliance).
Antwerp has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb) similar to that of Southern England, while being far enough inland to build up summer warmth above 23 °C (73 °F) average highs for both July and August. Winters are more dominated by the maritime currents instead, with temps being heavily moderated.
Informally, most Antverpians (in Dutch Antwerpenaren, people from Antwerp) daily speak Antverpian (in Dutch Antwerps), a dialect that Dutch-speakers know as distinctive from other Brabantic dialects through its typical vowel pronunciations: approximating the vowel sound in 'bore' – for one of its long 'a'-sounds while other short 'a's are very sharp like the vowel sound in 'hat'. The Echt Antwaarps Teater ("Authentic Antverpian Theatre") brings the dialect on stage.
Antwerp is a rising fashion city, and has produced designers such as the Antwerp Six. The city has a cult status in the fashion world, due to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, one of the most important fashion academies in the world. It has served as the learning centre for many Belgian fashion designers. Since the 1980s, several graduates of the Belgian Royal Academy of Fine Arts have become internationally successful fashion designers in Antwerp. The city has had a huge influence on other Belgian fashion designers such as Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, Olivier Theyskens and Kris Van Assche.
Antwerp is famous for its local products. In August every year the Bollekesfeest takes place. The Bollekesfeest is a showcase for such local products as Bolleke, an amber beer from the De Koninck Brewery. The Mokatine sweets made by Confiserie Roodthooft, Elixir D'Anvers, a locally made liquor, locally roasted coffee from Koffie Verheyen, sugar from Candico, Poolster pickled herring and Equinox horse meat, are other examples of local specialities. One of the most known products of the city are its biscuits, the Antwerpse Handjes, literally "Antwerp Hands". Usually made from a short pastry with almonds or milk chocolate, they symbolize the Antwerp trademark and folklore. The local products are represented by a non-profit organization, Streekproducten Provincie Antwerpen vzw.
A number of Christian missions to seafarers are based in Antwerp, notably on the Italiëlei. These include the Mission to Seafarers, British & International Sailors' Society, the Finnish Seamen's Mission, the Norwegian Sjømannskirken and the Apostleship of the Sea. They provide cafeterias, cultural and social activities as well as religious services.
Cultuurmarkt van Vlaanderenis is a musical festival and a touristic attraction that takes place annually on the final Sunday of August in the city center of Antwerp. Where international and local musicians and actors, present their stage and street performances.
The city of Antwerp will co-host the 2020 World Choir Games together with the city of Ghent. Organised by the Interkultur Foundation, the World Choir Games is the biggest choral competition and festival in the world.
Antwerp held the 1920 Summer Olympics, which were the first games after the First World War and also the only ones to be held in Belgium. The road cycling events took place in the streets of the city.
Royal Antwerp F.C., currently playing in the Belgian First Division, were founded in 1880 and is known as 'The Great Old' for being the first club registered to the Royal Belgian Football Association in 1895. Since 1998, the club has taken Manchester United players on loan in an official partnership. Another club in the city was Beerschot VAC, founded in 1899 by former Royal Antwerp players. They played at the Olympisch Stadion, the main venue of the 1920 Olympics. Nowadays KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk plays at the Olympisch Stadion in the Belgian Second Division.
For the year 2013, Antwerp was awarded the title of European Capital of Sport.
Antwerp hosted the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
Antwerp has a university and several colleges. The University of Antwerp (Universiteit Antwerpen) was established in 2003, following the merger of the RUCA, UFSIA and UIA institutes. Their roots go back to 1852. The University has approximately 13,000 registered students, making it the third-largest university in Flanders, as well as 1,800 foreign students. It has 7 faculties, spread over four campus locations in the city centre and in the south of the city.
The city has several colleges, including Charlemagne University College (Karel de Grote Hogeschool), Plantin University College (Plantijn Hogeschool), and Artesis University College (Artesis Hogeschool). Artesis University College has about 8,600 students and 1,600 staff, and Charlemagne University College has about 10,000 students and 1,300 staff. Plantin University College has approximately 3,700 students.
The following places are twinned with or sister cities to Antwerp:
Within the context of development cooperation, Antwerp is also linked to
The 1920 Summer Olympics (French: Les Jeux olympiques d'été de 1920; Dutch: Olympische Zomerspelen van de VIIe Olympiade; German: Olympische Sommerspiele 1920), officially known as the Games of the VII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium.
In March 1912, during the 13th session of the IOC, Belgium's bid to host the 1920 Summer Olympics was made by Baron Édouard de Laveleye, president of the Belgian Olympic Committee and of the Royal Belgian Football Association. No fixed host city was proposed at the time.
The 1916 Summer Olympics, to be held in Berlin, capital of the German Empire, were cancelled due to World War I. The aftermath of the war and the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 affected the Olympic Games not only due to new states being created, but also by sanctions against the nations that lost the war and were blamed for starting it. Hungary, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire were banned from competing in the Games. Germany did not return to Olympic competition until 1928 and instead hosted a series of games called Deutsche Kampfspiele, starting with the Winter edition of 1922 (which predated the first Winter Olympics).
The sailing events were held in Ostend, Belgium, and two in Amsterdam, Netherlands.Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck (Dutch pronunciation: [vɑn ˈdɛi̯k], many variant spellings; 22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641) was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England after success in the Southern Netherlands and Italy.
The seventh child of Frans van Dyck, a wealthy Antwerp silk merchant, Anthony was precocious as a youth and painted from an early age. In his late teens he was already enjoying success as an independent painter, becoming a master in the Antwerp guild in 1618. By this time he was working in the studio of the leading northern painter of the day, Peter Paul Rubens, who became a major influence on his work. Van Dyck worked in London for some months in 1621, then returned to Flanders for a brief time, before travelling to Italy, where he stayed until 1627, mostly based in Genoa. In the late 1620s he completed his greatly admired Iconography series of portrait etchings, mostly of other artists. He spent five years after his return from Italy in Flanders, and from 1630 was court painter for the archduchess Isabella, Habsburg Governor of Flanders. In 1632 he returned to London to be the main court painter, at the request of Charles I of England.
With the exception of Holbein, van Dyck and his contemporary Diego Velázquez were the first painters of pre-eminent talent to work mainly as court portraitists, revolutionising the genre. He is best known for his portraits of European aristocracy, most notably Charles I and his family and associates; Van Dyck became the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. He also painted mythological and biblical subjects, including altarpieces, displayed outstanding facility as a draughtsman, and was an important innovator in watercolour and etching. His superb brushwork, apparently rather quickly painted, can usually be distinguished from the large areas painted by his many assistants. His portrait style changed considerably between the different countries he worked in, culminating in the relaxed elegance of his last English period. His influence extends into the modern period; the Van Dyke beard is named after him. During his lifetime, Charles I granted him a knighthood, and he was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, an indication of his standing at the time of his death.Antwerp Province
Antwerp Province (Dutch: Provincie Antwerpen [ˈɑntʋɛrpə(n)] (listen)) is the northernmost province both of the Flemish Region, also called Flanders, and of Belgium. It borders on (clockwise from the North) North Brabant province of the Netherlands and the Belgian provinces of Limburg, Flemish Brabant and East Flanders. Its capital is Antwerp which comprises the Port of Antwerp. It has an area of 2,867 km2 (1,107 sq mi) and with 1.8 million inhabitants it is the country's most populous province. The province consists of 3 arrondissements: Antwerp, Mechelen and Turnhout. The eastern part of the province comprises the main part of the Campine region.Cathedral of Our Lady (Antwerp)
The Cathedral of Our Lady (Dutch: Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium. Today's see of the Diocese of Antwerp started in 1352 and, although the first stage of construction was ended in 1521, has never been 'completed'. In Gothic style, its architects were Jan and Pieter Appelmans. It contains a number of significant works by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, as well as paintings by artists such as Otto van Veen, Jacob de Backer and Marten de Vos.
The belfry of the cathedral is included in the Belfries of Belgium and France entry in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Fall of Antwerp
The Fall of Antwerp on 17 August 1585 took place during the Eighty Years' War, after a siege lasting over a year from July 1584 until August 1585. The city of Antwerp was the capital of the new Protestant-dominated Dutch Revolt, but was forced to surrender to the Spanish forces. Under the terms agreed all Protestants were given four years to settle their affairs and leave the city. Many migrated north, especially to Amsterdam, which became the capital of the Dutch Republic. Apart from losing a high proportion of its mercantile population, Antwerp's trade suffered for decades as Dutch forts blockaded the River Scheldt.Flanders
Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen [ˈvlaːndərə(n)] (listen), French: Flandre French pronunciation: [flɑ̃dʁ], German: Flandern German pronunciation: [ˈflandɐn]) is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities, regions and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language, politics and history, and sometimes involving neighbouring countries. The demonym associated with Flanders is Fleming, while the corresponding adjective is Flemish. The official capital of Flanders is Brussels, although the Brussels Capital Region has an independent regional government, and the government of Flanders only oversees the community aspects of Flanders life in Brussels such as (Flemish) culture and education.
Flanders, despite not being the biggest part of Belgium by area, is the area with the largest population (68.5%). 7,876,873 out of 11,491,346 Belgian inhabitants live in Flanders or the bilingual city of Brussels. Not including Brussels, there are five modern Flemish provinces.
In medieval contexts, the original "County of Flanders" stretched around AD 900 from the Strait of Dover to the Scheldt estuary and expanded from there. This county also still corresponds roughly with the modern-day Belgian provinces of West Flanders and East Flanders, along with neighbouring parts of France and the Netherlands. Although this original meaning is still relevant, during the 19th and 20th centuries it became increasingly commonplace to use the term "Flanders" to refer to the entire Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, stretching all the way to the River Meuse, as well as cultural movements such as Flemish art. In accordance with late 20th century Belgian state reforms the Belgian part of this area was made into two political entities: the "Flemish Community" (Dutch: Vlaamse Gemeenschap) and the "Flemish Region" (Dutch: Vlaams Gewest). These entities were merged, although geographically the Flemish Community, which has a broader cultural mandate, covers Brussels, whereas the Flemish Region does not.
Flanders, by every definition, has figured prominently in European history since the Middle Ages. In this period, cities such as Ghent, Bruges, and later Antwerp made it one of the richest and most urbanized parts of Europe, trading, and weaving the wool of neighbouring lands into cloth for both domestic use and export. As a consequence, a very sophisticated culture developed, with impressive achievements in the arts and architecture, rivaling those of northern Italy. Belgium was one of the centres of the 19th century industrial revolution but Flanders was at first overtaken by French-speaking Wallonia. In the second half of the 20th century, and due to massive national investments in port infrastructures, Flanders' economy modernised rapidly, and today Flanders and Brussels are significantly more wealthy than Wallonia and in general one of the wealthiest regions in Europe and the world.Geographically, Flanders is mainly flat, and has a small section of coast on the North Sea. Much of Flanders is agriculturally fertile and densely populated, with a population density of almost 500 people per square kilometer (1,200 per square mile). It touches France to the west near the coast, and borders the Netherlands to the north and east, and Wallonia to the south. The Brussels Capital Region is an officially bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. Flanders has exclaves of its own: Voeren in the east is between Wallonia and the Netherlands and Baarle-Hertog in the north consists of 22 exclaves surrounded by the Netherlands.Guild of Saint Luke
The Guild of Saint Luke was the most common name for a city guild for painters and other artists in early modern Europe, especially in the Low Countries. They were named in honor of the Evangelist Luke, the patron saint of artists, who was identified by John of Damascus as having painted the Virgin's portrait.One of the most famous such organizations was founded in Antwerp. It continued to function until 1795, although by then it had lost its monopoly and therefore most of its power. In most cities, including Antwerp, the local government had given the Guild the power to regulate defined types of trade within the city. Guild membership, as a master, was therefore required for an artist to take on apprentices or to sell paintings to the public. Similar rules existed in Delft, where only members could sell paintings in the city or have a shop. The early guilds in Antwerp and Bruges, setting a model that would be followed in other cities, even had their own showroom or market stall from which members could sell their paintings directly to the public.The guild of Saint Luke not only represented painters, sculptors, and other visual artists, but also—especially in the seventeenth century—dealers, amateurs, and even art lovers (the so-called liefhebbers). In the medieval period most members in most places were probably manuscript illuminators, where these were in the same guild as painters on wood and cloth—in many cities they were joined with the scribes or "scriveners". In traditional guild structures, house-painters and decorators were often in the same guild. However, as artists formed under their own specific guild of St. Luke, particularly in the Netherlands, distinctions were increasingly made. In general, guilds also made judgments on disputes between artists and other artists or their clients. In such ways, it controlled the economic career of an artist working in a specific city, while in different cities they were wholly independent and often competitive against each other.Jainism in Belgium
The Jains in Belgium are estimated to be around about 1,500 people. The majority live in Antwerp, working in the wholesale diamond business. Belgian Indian Jains control two-thirds of the rough diamonds trade and supplied India with roughly 36% of their rough diamonds. They have built building a major temple in Wilrijk (near Antwerp), with a cultural centre, which was consecrated in 2010. Their spiritual leader, Ramesh Mehta, is a full-fledged member of the Belgian Council of Religious Leaders put up on 17 December 2009.The Jain community in Europe, especially in Belgium, is mostly involved in the very lucrative diamond business.Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Camille François van Varenberg (born 18 October 1960), professionally known as Jean-Claude van Damme (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ klod vɑ̃ dam], Dutch: [vɑn ˈdɑmə]) and abbreviated as JCVD, is a Belgian actor and retired martial artist best known for his martial arts action films. His most successful of these projects include Bloodsport (1988), Kickboxer franchise (1989-2018), Cyborg (1989), Lionheart (1990), Double Impact (1991), Universal Soldier franchise (1992-2012), Nowhere to Run (1993), Hard Target (1993), Timecop (1994), Street Fighter (1994), Sudden Death (1995), The Quest (1996), Inferno (1999), Replicant (2001), In Hell (2003), Until Death (2007), JCVD (2008), The Expendables 2 (2012), Dragon Eyes (2012), Kung Fu Panda 2, and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2011–2016).Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, KG (Norman: Leonell Duc de Clarence; 29 November 1338 – 17 October 1368) was the third son, but the second son to survive infancy, of the English king Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. He was named after his birthplace, at Antwerp in the Duchy of Brabant. Lionel was born of a Flemish mother and was a grandson of William I, Count of Hainaut. He grew to be nearly seven feet in height and had an athletic build.Mechelen
Mechelen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɛxələ(n)] (listen), French: Malines, traditional English name: Mechlin) is a city and municipality in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. The municipality comprises the city of Mechelen proper, some quarters at its outskirts, the hamlets of Nekkerspoel (adjacent) and Battel (a few kilometers away), as well as the villages of Walem, Heffen, Leest, Hombeek, and Muizen. The Dyle (Dutch: Dijle) flows through the city, hence it is often referred to as the Dijlestad ("City on the river Dijle").
Mechelen lies on the major urban and industrial axis Brussels–Antwerp, about 25 km from each city. Inhabitants find employment at Mechelen's southern industrial and northern office estates, as well as at offices or industry near the capital and Zaventem Airport, or at industrial plants near Antwerp's seaport.
Mechelen is one of Flanders' prominent cities of historical art, with Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, and Leuven. It was notably a centre for artistic production during the Northern Renaissance, when painters, printmakers, illuminators and composers of polyphony were attracted by patrons such as Margaret of York, Margaret of Austria and Hieronymus van Busleyden.Olympic symbols
The Olympic symbols are icons, flags, and symbols used by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to elevate the Olympic Games. Some—such as the flame, fanfare, and theme—are more commonly used during Olympic competition, but others, such as the flags, can be seen throughout the years. The Olympic flag was created under the guidance of Baron Coubertin in 1913 and was released in 1914. But it was first hoisted in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium at the 1920 Summer Olympics in the main stadium. Five rings equal the Five continents of the world.Olympisch Stadion (Antwerp)
The Olympisch Stadion (Dutch pronunciation: [oːˈlɪmpis ˌstaːdijɔn]) or Kielstadion [ˈkilstaːdijɔn]) was built as the main stadium for the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp. For those games, it hosted the athletics, equestrian, field hockey, football, gymnastics, modern pentathlon, rugby union, tug of war, weightlifting and korfball (demonstration) events. Following the Olympics it was converted to a football stadium. Its current tenant is FCO Beerschot Wilrijk, a Belgian football club. There are no remnants of the Olympic athletics track.
It is possible that Archibald Leitch was involved in the design of the stadium having made several visits prior to the Games.Peter Paul Rubens
Sir Peter Paul Rubens (; Dutch: [ˈrybə(n)s]; 28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish artist. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens's highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation. Rubens specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. Rubens was a prolific artist. The catalogue of his works by Michael Jaffé lists 1,403 pieces, excluding numerous copies made in his workshop.His commissioned works were mostly "history paintings", which included religious and mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the royal entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria in 1635.
His drawings are predominantly very forceful and without great detail. He also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems.Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp)
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (Dutch: Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen) is an art academy located in Antwerp, Belgium. It is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. It was founded in 1663 by David Teniers the Younger, painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and Don Juan of Austria. Teniers was master of the Guild of St Luke — which embraced arts and some handicrafts — and petitioned Philip IV of Spain, then master of the Spanish Netherlands, to grant a royal charter to establish a Fine Arts Academy in Antwerp. It houses the Antwerp Fashion Academy.Royal Antwerp F.C.
Royal Antwerp Football Club, often simply referred to as Antwerp, is a Belgian football club based in the city of Antwerp.
Founded around 1880 as Antwerp Cricket Club by English students residing in Antwerp, 15 years prior to the creation of the Royal Belgian Football Association, Antwerp is regarded as the oldest club in Belgium. At first there was no organised football played by its members, until 1887 when the football division was founded with an own board, named Antwerp Football Club. Being the oldest active club at the time, it was the first club to register to the Association in 1895. Consequently, when matriculation numbers were introduced in 1926, the club received matriculate number one.Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (Dutch: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen) is a museum in Antwerp, Belgium, founded in 1810, houses a collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries. This collection is representative of the artistic production and the taste of art enthusiasts in Antwerp, Belgium and the Northern and Southern Netherlands since the 15th century. The museum is closed for renovation until 2020.
The neoclassical building housing the collection is one of the primary landmarks of the Zuid district of Antwerp. The majestic building was designed by Jacob Winders (1849–1936) and Frans van Dijk (1853-1939), built beginning in 1884, opened in 1890, and completed in 1894. Sculpture on the building includes two bronze figures of Fame with horse-drawn chariots by sculptor Thomas Vincotte, and seven rondel medallions of artists that include Boetius à Bolswert, Frans Floris, Jan van Eyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Quentin Matsys, Erasmus Quellinus II, and Appelmans, separated by four monumental sculptures representing Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, and Graphics.
The building stands in gardens bounded by the Leopold de Waalplaats, the Schildersstraat, the Plaatsnijdersstraat, and the Beeldhouwersstraat.Sportpaleis
The Antwerps Sportpaleis (English: Antwerp's Sport Palace), also called Sportpaleis Antwerpen, Sportpaleis Merksem or simply the Sportpaleis, is an arena in Antwerp, Belgium. It is a multipurpose hall where concerts, sporting events, festivals and fairs are organized. The arena was built for sport, especially track cycling, but there is now little sport there, an exception being the Diamond Games tennis. It is the largest indoor venue in Europe.
According to Billboard Magazine, the Sportpaleis is the second most visited event hall in the world, second only to Madison Square Garden. The Sportpaleis is known for performances by both Dutch-speaking and international artists. It also hosts the Nekka-Nacht, the Proximus Diamond Games tennis tournament for women and Pop Poll De Luxe, organised by the magazine HUMO.
The main building is 88 metres wide and 132 metres long and has a roof spanning 11.600 m². Under the stands, there is a wooden cycling track 250 meters long and 8 meters wide. The arena is elliptical and has two floors.
Next to the Sportpaleis is its sister venue the Lotto Arena, a hall that can accommodate 8,000 spectators.University of Antwerp
The University of Antwerp (Dutch: Universiteit Antwerpen) is one of the major Belgian universities located in the city of Antwerp. The official abbreviation is UA, but UAntwerpen is more recently used. The University of Antwerp has about 20,000 students, which makes it the third largest university in Flanders. The University of Antwerp is characterised by its high standards in education, internationally competitive research and entrepreneurial approach. It was founded in 2003 after the merger of three smaller universities.
As of 2014, the University of Antwerp ranks as 170th globally according to Times Higher Education, 205th according to QS World University Rankings and between the 201 and 300th place according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The university ranked 15th in the Times Higher Education Ranking for Young Universities (2018) and 14th in the QS University Ranking Top 50 Under 50 (2018). In ten domains the university's research is among the best in the world: Drug Discovery and Development; Ecology and Sustainable Development; Harbour, Transport and Logistics; Imaging; Infectious Diseases; Materials Characterisation; Neurosciences; Socio-economic Policy and Organisation; Public Policy and Political Science; Urban History and Contemporary Urban Policy.
|Climate data for Antwerp (1981–2010 normals), sunshine 1984–2013|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.4
|Average low °C (°F)||0.7
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||69.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||12.3||10.6||12.0||9.2||10.6||10.4||10.2||9.9||10.3||11.4||12.9||12.8||132.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||57||77||122||177||208||202||214||202||144||116||62||47||1,625|
|Source: Royal Meteorological Institute|
Places adjacent to Antwerp
City of Antwerp
Members of the Hanseatic League by quarter