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A Day in Antwerp

By: Cityseeker
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De Kathedraal

The Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp is a treasure trove for art lovers. Although completed in 1521, nearly 170 years after the first foundation stone was laid, the original design was never fully realized. Even today, one of the two towers remains incomplete, while the completed spire is reputed to be the tallest in Benelux at a height of 123 meters (403.5 feet). An impressive example of the Gothic style of architecture, the historic church boasts a detailed front that draws the eyes upward to the pinnacle of its lofty spire. The cathedral also houses an extensive collection of ecclesiastical art, including four altarpieces painted by Peter Paul Rubens. Vibrant stained-glass windows and rich carvings are some of the other treasures enshrined within the Cathedral of Our Lady. It was especially a stunning sight when lit up at night.

Antwerp, Belgium
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De Groenplaats

One of the largest squares in the city, Groenplaats is the ideal starting point for visitors of the historic center. It gets quite busy during the summer tourist season. You'll enjoy numerous café terraces and restaurants. Street musicians provide background music, and the pubs provide great Belgian beers. Don't forget to try a Bolleke Koninck, a light brown ale which is brewed in Antwerp. Nearby you'll find cute copper, pewter and lace shops, the Fnac bookstore, the Hilton and the Cathedral.

Antwerp, Belgium
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Grote Markt

The Grote Markt makes for a splendid vision in the middle of the city and evokes instant awe with its varied sights, smells, and sounds. Dominated by the renaissance style Stadhuis (city hall), the square is lined with numerous guildhalls, high patrician houses with step gables and gold-plated ornaments and statuettes. The famous tavern Den Engel is located here, and it is also home to several traditional cafes and shops. One of the square's most enchanting landmarks is the Brabo fountain, which is steeped in mythical history. It features the late 19th Century statue of the legendary Roman Silvius Brabo, a braveheart, who according to Danish folklore, saved Antwerp from Druon the giant.

Antwerp, Belgium
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Rubensmarkt

Rubens is by far the most important painter who ever lived in Antwerp. His house at Wapper Square is now a museum housing many of his paintings. In addition, every year on August 15th, Antwerp recreates the atmosphere of the golden age when Rubens was active as a painter.

Antwerp, Belgium
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Rubenshuis

Home to some of the most mesmerizing masterpieces of the Flemish Baroque school of art, Rubenshuis is one of the best repositories of fine art in the city. It was also the home of one of the most influential artists of his time, Peter Paul Rubens, who continues to assert artistic influence in Brussels even after four centuries of his existence. His collection of artwork is housed within Rubenshuis, a grand Italian-style villa which he designed himself. Equal parts home and art studio, Rubenshuis was where some of his most renowned artworks were birthed, including Adam and Eve and The Annunciation. The collection at the museum also includes myriad artworks produced by his protege, Anthony van Dyck, and four of Ruben's self-portraits.

Antwerp, Belgium
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Koningin Fabiolazaal

This exhibition center is named after Queen Fabiola (wife of the late King Boudewijn). It's reserved for showcasing the works of young artists who live, work or study in the Antwerp region. These artists are recent graduates and are younger than 40. This center creates opportunities for them to start a professional artistic career. The exhibited works are selected by professional art connoisseurs of Antwerp.

Antwerp, Belgium
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Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen

Located in the South district of Antwerp between Waalsekaai and the river Scheldt, the Museum of Contemporary Art is a fascinating museum for avant-garde art. In an old warehouse which has been completely revamped, you will discover a modern and minimalist architectural style. Their wonderful collection offers a progressive view of various art forms. The exhibitions highlight selected themes throughout the year. On the roof of this 4-story building, you'll find a bar with a pleasant patio and breathtaking views over the Scheldt.

Antwerp, Belgium
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Bobbejaanland

Bobbejaanland has more than 50 dry and wet attractions including some amazing roller coasters. Try the exciting El Rio, Locomotion, Bob Express and the spectacular Thrillenium Ride. Younger kids will enjoy the fairytale ride through "Kinderland." And, don't forget to buy your coin for the car park before you leave. Please call for open hours.

Lichtaart, Belgium
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