By the early 8th century a small village existed where now is Antwerp.
Before long it was burned down by the Vikings, who at the time were doing a lot of plunder around Europe. In 2006, during roadworks, a unique Viking boat was found on the spot where now is the highway - Proving that the Vikings were indeed involved.
On the destructed site (way before the roadworks) the Normans founded a new village and build a ditch around it. The wall does not exist anymore but the name Burchtgracht (which means: castle’s ditch) is the name of the street where this ditch used to be. This is the oldest part of the city left.
In 950 AD Emperor Otto I build a new castle.The oldest parts of the castle ‘Het Steen’ (The Stone) are from this period. This castle was the strongest one it the area and was build for protection against the Vikings. The village grew again under the protection of the castle and in 1008 it became substantially bigger and got its city rights.
Otto I can therefore be credited as the the real city founder of Antwerp. Walls continued to become bigger and higher and the first fortification around the city was build.
In the 1300’s, Antwerp revolted against Brabant and became a sort of an independent city state - Fifty years later it would join Flanders. You can still witness the rivalry between the counties of Brabant (Brabant and Antwerp) and Flanders - and now you know that it goes back to the Middle Ages.
Interesting enough - linguistically seen, the dialect of Flanders is seen as another language then the one of Antwerp.