‘I’m from Antwerp i said’
I felt myself smiling, smiling proudly and shy at the same time, because it felt like i just shared one of the best secret’s in Belgium with them, Don’t get me wrong i love all the other Belgian cities as well, but Antwerp feels to me like one of the greatest cities in the world.
When i tell my overseas friends about my love and obsession for Antwerp i usually always get the same answer ‘Why is it so special?’
And until this very day i still can’t say what exactly is it that makes it so special, it’s like falling in love with someone, you know you love him/her but you can’t exactly explain why, it’s usually because a lot of feelings and emotions mixed together, the way they look, the way they hold your hand, the way they touch you in such way no one else can. That’s Love. and love can be applied to many things, such as, friends, family, lovers. but Also to cities, cities that have touched your heart, cities that motivate you, that make you feel proud, cities where you have loved and lost, cities that for a small moment make you feel like you’re in heaven on earth, cities that make you fall in love…
I have many cities that inspire me, and that captivate me, some of which i fell in love with right when i got there, without even getting to know it better.
Antwerp is a city in which i wasn’t born, but i was raised in it, i would held my grandmothers hand as we walked over the the promenade, with the river right in front of us, and the boats that would be going back and forth from the harbour which was right next to the promenade. I remember the car rides, from my school to my grandparents house, my grandfather was a big lover for old 50ies music, he would play he’s favourite radio station, and with Louis Armstrong singing what a wonderful world in the background, i would look outside and see the city around us waking up.
To me this city means more than just being a city, it is a city that cherishes my memories, and with every visit i make, it takes me back, back to them good old days…
As a city Antwerp hasn’t changed a lot since i was a kid, but it did improve on some serious matters such as safer bicycle lanes and better pedestrian areas, renovation of some amazing 1200 century houses and it also rebranded itself as one of the major fashion cities of Europe.
We have a fashion museum, which changes it’s exhibitions every few months so there’s always something new to see.
We have a chocolate museum, a museum of contemporary art, a museum of modern art, and so on… in total there are about 30 to 40 museums in Antwerp, ranging from chocolate to of course, the diamond museum.
Antwerp is a city so old, no one has been able to tell exactly how old, it’s name is from ‘hand-werpen’ which means ‘hands-throwing’ there’s a myth about a giant that asked for money to all the sailors and up until one day, druoon antigoon cut off he’s hand and threw it in the river. (i’m not sure as to how much of this is true, since it’s believed to be a myth, and there’s no actual proof that this has ever happened, but it’s a cool story nonetheless) 😉
These days Antwerp is one of the few cities in Belgium where there are the most coffee shops per citizen, the buildings look a bit like a mixture between Paris and New York, it’s extremely hip, but not super modern, it’s kind of hipster and classic as the same time, it’s very open minded and because of it’s 172 different nationalities living in a city with only 510.000 citizens it’s very multi cultured, which makes the clothing style and the life-style very different to other cities.
In Antwerp, we really go out in the weekends, that’s a thing we just have to do, usually it’s going to one of it’s many great restaurants, you can try tastes from all over the world in Antwerp.
There is a huge range of different sorts of shops, from hipster clothing stores, to chic parisienne style, we have it all… Fashion is a really big deal in Antwerp, fashion is something that describes somebody’s personal style but what i love about the fashion in Antwerp is there are no specific guidelines as to what to wear or how to wear it, it’s very fashionably open minded. As long as you love what you’re wearing everybody in Antwerp will love it too.
It’s really hard to write down the experience that is visiting Antwerp, i’ve taken a few photos on my last trip there, i hope these will convince you to buy a ticket and visit our amazing city.
Especially if you’re a die-hard fashion fan you should really considering visiting this fashion pearl, if you’re not into fashion you could always come to try out beloved chocolate or enjoy on of our crispy waffles on of the many terraces here, or just come to sight see. 🙂
“And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, in dimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.”
― Pico Iyer