Antwerp Central Station

The perfect way to arrive in Antwerp is by train


Since Antwerp Central Station is one of Antwerp's main landmarks and definitely in the top 10 attractions in the city.

Antwerp Central Station is often referred to as the Rail Road Cathedral of Antwerp and is one of Europe's most beautiful stops. It was designed by Louis Delacenserie at the start of the 20th century.

It has a huge dome and 8 smaller towers of which 6 were demolished during the 1950s. Luckily these were reconstructed in 2009 together with several ornaments including large lion statues on the roof at the entrance.

It was build to replace a wooden train station built in 1854, the original terminus of the Brussels-Mechelen-Antwerp Railway.

It’s difficult to assign a style to it since it's a harmonious blend of styles. Let’s say it’s a neo-classical building with post-modern details influenced by neo baroque. Or easier, you could just call it eclectic.

More than 200 dancers were performing their version of "Do Re Mi", in the Central Station of Antwerp. with just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! Those 4 fantastic minutes started the 23 of march 2009, 08:00 AM

The building was very close to extinction in the 80s and threatened with demolition since it was in a very bad condition and needed serious renovations. It was a close call but luckily enough, the government decided to keep it. Now, 20 years later, the station has been upgraded to version 2.0 - Eurostar and Thalys high-speed train compatible. The whole complex is over 400m (1300ft) long and has two entrances, a historic domed building at the Astrid square and a modern atrium at the Kievit square.

From the main hall is decorated with more than 20 different kinds of marble and stone and covered with the impressive dome. From there are steps up to the vast 185 metres long and 44 metres high iron and glass-covered train platforms.

Adjoining is a diamond gallery with more than 30 diamond shops and other newly open boutiques. With three levels of tracks and a shopping center this is the place to come for a stroll when it is raining or even on a sunny day. The area has countless jewelry shops and the place is considered as the financial center of the world’s Diamond industry.

Antwerp Central Station Orientation:
  • Level +1 (the original station) has 6 terminating tracks arranged as two groups of three and separated by a central opening allowing views of the lower levels

  • Level 0 houses ticketing facilities and commercial space

  • Level −1 (7 meters below road level) has 4 terminating tracks arranged in two pairs

  • Level −2 (18 meters below road level) also has 4 tracks, the two central tracks leading to the tunnel under the city (used by high-speed trains and fast domestic InterCity services)

The station is operated by the national railway company NMBS/SNCB but if you are looking into extensive train travel in Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France the   Eurail France/Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg Pass  might be a cheaper travel option

For me, without exception or possible discussion, it’s the most beautiful station in the world. Antwerp Central Station is now widely regarded as the finest example of railway architecture in Belgium.

In February 2009, In Newsweek's "Stations: A Destination That Matches the Journey" article found that Antwerp Central Station deserved a 4th place as world's most beautiful station.

Here is the full Newseek's Best Stations list ..
1. St. Pancras, London
2. Grand Central Terminal, New York
3. Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mumbai
4. Antwerp Central Station, Antwerp, Belgium
5. Dare des Bénédictins, Limoges, France
6. Lahore Railway Station, Pakistan
7. Central Railway Station, Maputo, Mozambique
8. Hua Hin Railway Station, Thailand
9. Atocha Station, Madrid

Resources on the Web ...

  • Book your Thalys tickets here - If your journey includes Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany, then the high-speed Thalys train is your ticket. The “red train” Thalys provides direct links to 17 cities in all, and you can travel from Paris to Brussels in under ninety minutes.
  • Eurail Pass can take you off the beaten road, allowing for genuine interactions with Europeans that go beyond market squares and money exchanges.Taking the train, provides you with the ability to see the beauty of Europe the way its been appreciated since the beginning of time.
  • Check out our sister site Romantic Train Vacations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Europe for more beautiful train stations, romantic getaways, weddings and honeymoons on the world’s most luxurious trains.

Return from Antwerp Central Station to Antwerp City Holidays

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Return to Gone Belgian 

Search Belgium Tourist Guide
Custom Search

Hotel Search

A fantastic tool to find Hotel Deals - it searches and combines prices + availability from all major travel sites at once and finds the cheapest.

Click to buy direct from hotels or your favorite travel sites.

Book Eurostar from Rail Europe