When many people think of Belgium, it’s likely they think of Antwerp, one of the most picturesque cities in the country. It’s massively popular with fashion and art tourists, meaning there’s often lots to see here on the gallery scene – if you’re a fashionista or an art collector, Antwerp probably has a few different surprises up its sleeves for you. In the meantime, feast your eyes on our fun facts about Antwerp for the full lowdown.
1. Antwerp isn’t just a city, it’s a province.
You’ll find Antwerp in the northern region of Belgium, in the Flemish Region. It serves as the capital of the province of Antwerp, meaning it’s pretty easy to confuse the city with the wider region!
2. It’s a very dense area for its wider region.
Antwerp is said to have a population of over 530,000 people as of 2022. This makes it one of the most populous cities in the broader Flanders region – and a hotspot for vacationers and people looking to move to the continent.
3. It is home to the Port of Antwerp.
Antwerp plays home to one of the largest and busiest ports in Europe, the Port of Antwerp. The port plays a vital role in international trade, and you’ll even find that the city’s maritime history is celebrated in the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), a great day out for anyone interested in how the area became such a major player in maritime.
4. You’ll find there are diamonds in Antwerp!
Yes, believe it or not, Antwerp famously has a Diamond District, one of the world’s most prominent diamond trading centers. The city’s massively popular for its cuttings, which probably helps put it on the international fashion map, too!
5. There’s tons of history to explore in the center of Antwerp.
Antwerp famously has a beautiful historic center, featuring rows of picturesque architecture, including the stunning Cathedral of Our Lady, which also houses several notable artworks by Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens.
In fact, you can also visit the former home and art studio of Rubens, which has since been converted into a museum called Rubenshuis.
6. It’s ripe with fashion influence.
Antwerp’s fashion industry certainly helps to put Belgium on the map, and its Royal Academy of Fine Arts plays a huge role in training fashion designers to be the best in the industry. If you’re serious about fashion, there’s a good chance you’ll make a beeline for Antwerp at some point!
7. Many people sample the best of Belgium here in Antwerp.
Vacationers in Antwerp get to sample sweet treats such as authentic Belgian waffles, chocolate, and sup beer – it’s a food tourism hive that welcomes over 11 million people each year! That number appears to be on the rise, too, so believe the hype and join the crowd!
8. It is home to one of the world’s oldest zoos.
Antwerp Zoo opened in 1843, making it one of the oldest on the planet, period – and there’s certainly no shortage of species for people to watch and learn about, too. At last count, there’s more than 7,000 animals here across 950 different species. It’s known locally as Zoo Antwerpen, if you’re looking for it online!
9. It is a very diverse city.
Antwerp is a city that thrives on multiculturalism and is something of a mini-nation of polyglots! Many residents in Antwerp speak English, French, and Dutch – meaning if you’re traveling here from elsewhere in Europe, you probably won’t have to pick up a phrase book or load up Duolingo!
FAQs about Antwerp
What is Antwerp best known for?
Antwerp is best known for being a center of the diamond industry, for its art and fashion, and for being home to one of the world’s major seaports.
Is Antwerp good for tourists?
Antwerp is a great place for tourists to visit! It has a rich history to explore, incredible cuisine to taste, and plenty of industries to admire around the city. It generally attracts followers of fashion, art, and maritime history.
Is it expensive in Antwerp?
Antwerp can be an affordable city to visit, depending on where you go. Generally speaking, you should plan to spend about 123€ per day. This amount includes food, transport, and hotel.
Do you know any interesting facts about Belgium? Share them in the comments section below!