Antwerp is most famous for being the diamond capital of the world, but there is much more to be known about this Belgian city with a 2008 population of 472,000. One reason that Antwerp emerged as a trading center for the world’s diamonds is its location on the right bank of the River Scheldt, which links to the North Sea. In fact, Antwerp is Europe’s second-largest port.
Antwerp is not a tourist city per se, however it is a bustling place that offers much interest and entertainment to visitors, with a great night life, a wide array of restaurants and top notch shopping opportunities. There are also many historical architectural buildings to take in, most notably the massive 14th-century Cathedral of our Lady which to this day remains the tallest building in the city. The Church of St. James has a stunning interior of Baroque design and houses the tomb of the famous painter Rubens.
The main square in Antwerp is impressive as well with a stunning town hall and a wide array of 16th-century guild houses. For you castle lovers, be sure to visit the waterside Steen Fort, a restored remnant of the once mighty and extensive fortified citadel.
There are many great museums in Antwerp, most notably the Royal Fine Arts Museum near the southern quays which features an extensive collection of paintings by the Dutch Masters, as well as Rubens, Titian and Van Dyck.
And of course you want to visit the diamond quarter with its traditional Jewish character. Antwerp is also a center for fashion design, and a visit to the Antwerp Fashion Center around Meir street will enlighten you as to the latest Flemish fashions and designs. Antwerp also features a great city zoo established back in 1843 with over 4000 animals. diamond painting tiere