Antwerp City Tour: Southern walk

Richard Rogers, New Palace of Justice

This self guided Antwerp-City-Tour starts at the Bolivarplaats in front of the New Palace of Justice the Bolivar Plaats... This building is not yet finished and we are not sure how we feel about it. But we did start calling it the ‘omgekeerde frietzakken’ - twisted fries bag! Fries are a national dish in Belgium – so no problem there … but I do sometimes wonder what Mr. Rogers thinks about.

Once you start getting seasick from the architectural idea of waves...

Head north on the Emiel Banningstraat.

Here you will see late 19th century master houses. On the roundabout, ’Lambermontplaats’ you find a memorial for 50 years re-opening of the Scheldt and free commerce on the Scheldt. Lombermont helped put a stop to the Dutch tolling the passing ships. The Belgium king made him baron for this service to the people of Antwerp and Belgium.

The sitting man - looking in the direction of the courthouse is Baron Lambermont who succeeded in re-opening the river to trade. This square is an excellent example of the Parish style of the late 19th century. The few original houses kept their charm and in between the passing trams its is a nice quiet plaza to sit down for a while.

When you are ready...

Continue on the Leopold de Waelstraat until you see the Museum of Fine Arts.


Here we make a small loop behind the Museum.

Make a right turn before the museum – on Beeldhouwersstraat’ and then take the first left.
You are at the back of the museum now. Continue straight and take the first street on your right.

After a few steps you will reach Bouwmeestersstraat 7 you will see a mid 19th century Ottoman Style Synagogue.

Once you are done looking at the impressive structure track back those in the direction of the museum and take right.

On the corner, at Schildersstraat 2 you’ll see a very cute house with a boat coming out of the facade. bootje This is the famous Five Continents – also refered to as t’bootje.
Take Schildersstraat in the direction of the square and head north through the first street on your right - De Zwijgerstraat – in the direction of the statue of Neptune. As Antwerp is a harbor city, this is one of our protective gods. The statue was inaugurated at the end of the 18th century when the river was finally re-opened after more then 200 years of boycott of the Dutch. Napoleon him self decided that Antwerp would retake its rightful place as a main harbor.

Take the Scheldestraat to your left in the direction of the river and take the third street on your left. This is the Vlaamse kaai. Until the end of the 19th century, this square used to be one of the docks of the city. It was covered and now it’s mainly a parking or the place where the Cirque de soleil can be found when they are on tour. A lot of Antwerpians would like to see this part to be re-opened and given back to the Scheldt.

Continue until you arrive at a gate! This is the only original gate left from the 17th century. It looks a bit lost now but that’s because it’s the only 17th century city part left in this part of the city. Oh yes, Rubens is the designer.

Cross the square! In front of you, on the Waalse kaai, you’ll see the photo museum. They always have nice collections and the museum changes all the time.

Go back direction of old town on the Waalse kaai. You’ll pass bars, restaurants and an old power plant that was used until the 60ies for the manueuvres of the docks and the bridges. I never knew a power plant could be that cute. ☺

Go to the Schelde straat and take to your right. Take the first left and if everything goes well this should be the kloosterstraat. The street got it’s name to the old monestry that used to be here in the middle ages. Unfortunately, there are no left overs other then the street’s name.On approximately 50 meters you’ll pass the dancing Chocola. This is a good place to stop and enjoy a coffee or a beer. That depends on your time.

Head north on the Kloosterstraat! You’ll pass a statue of Peter the Great. The story goes that the Tsar used to travel incognito through Europe.This spot is where he arrived in Antwerp. Yes, this also was one of the docks in that time.This street is very popular for antiques. Take your time in a few shops. They all have their specialties and are just fun to go through.

The street will change names to ‘Oever’ and you’ll pass the statue of Jacob Jordaens. One of the many famous painters that worked and lived here in the 17th century. A bit further you’ll see the square with the old tunnel to the left bank. I suggest this walk stops here and you take a beer in one of the many bars you find here on this plaza. Oh yes, on Sunday there is an antique market until 4PM. I bought already several old thing-a-magics here. Also good to know is that the shops in the Kloosterstraat and the Hoogstraat are all open on Sunday. At least there are some possibilities for the shopaholics among us.

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