A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Recently I paid a visit to the city of Antwerp. I was so impressed by the grandeur of the city that I decided to blog about it. Antwerp might be renowned throughout the world as a diamond hub, but that is just one part of the city it also has another cultural and hip side to it.
Of course it is impossible to be not awed by the majesty of the Antwerpen- Centraal railway station as one arrives in the city. The station itself is made on several levels and it has a neo-Gothic facade, vast main hall and splendidly proportioned dome. It was built in the year 1905. One understands why this was rated by Newsweek as one of the world’s five most beautiful stations.
One of the coolest hangout spots in Antwerp is the Grote Markt, it is pedestrianized and one can safely admire the magnificent buildings surrounding the square from here.One of the major attractions of the square is the Brabo fountain which was built in late 1800’s by Jef Lambaux. It shows the hero of what is perhaps Antwerp’s most famous legend, the hero Brabo.
The city of Antwerp is also home to five immense churches These churches were built during the golden age of Antwerp which was in the 16th century. All these churches have also an association with the famous Rubens , whose works adorn their insides.
Antwerp is also home to a very unique museum which is the Diamond museum. Although this museum has been closed since 2012 due to the renovations which are taking place, Antwerp still has the Diamond pavilion. Diamond Pavillon is located at the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS).This Diamond pavilion informs one about the history and economic importance of the typical Antwerp activity of Diamond business. It is admittedly a place of excesses and is known for showcasing objects such as most exclusive and expensive diamond boots in the world!
One can find every mode of architecture in Antwerp whether it be Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance. Baroque , Art Noveau or Modernism! Antwerp has so much to offer in that regard.
At the end of the day if one wants nothing more than to just relax then one can head to the Vlaeykensgangm which is nothing more than a cobbled alleyway at Oude Koornmarkt 16. Being in this place is like going back in time. Vlaeykensgang is a calm place which is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the modern city.
At the end of the day my verdict on Antwerp is that it is a must visit city, especially since it is so close to Leiden and involves just about an hour of traveling!