Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Survival Guidelines.
Here are some useful hints and tactics for blending in with the locals. Some are typically Belgian and others purely Antwerpian...
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs: Things to know about Antwerp Customs!
Antwerp, Belgium-Custom Nr. 1: Keep in mind that we refer to Antwerp as ‘the city’ and believe it’s the center of the world. If you tell us you just come from the city, we assume you came from Antwerp. Even if you are in Ghent or Brussels and you say that you are going to shop in the city - we assume it’s going to be in Antwerp!
Antwerp, Belgium-Custom Nr. 2: You should always exaggerate! That makes it understandable for the locals. For us something is always” kei goed” - which means very good or “kei-slecht” - meaning very bad! You can add the word kei to almost every adjective
Antwerp, Belgium-Custom Nr. 3: Talk loudly and have an opinion on everything - be convinced that you are right in every case! That’s how we behave and all our fellow Flemish neighbors appreciate us for it.
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Nr. 4: The most popular snack is French fries and a curryworst special! Don’t try to find out what is in it - just eat it! Go to the Frituur Nr. 1, there is one just around the corner from the City Hall. The very loud abrupt woman that serves you is Maria! Tell her hello from Daniel! I used to work there as a teenager!
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Nr. 5: The most popular beer is a ‘Bolleke’. It’s an amber ale made not far from where I live. In the old days, you could smell it when they were brewing - but new laws and modern technology changed all that. If you see the glass you’ll understand why Antwerpians have such a big mouth! We need it for our local beer!
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Nr. 6: Don’t pee on our Cathedral – this is what the Dutch are known for (we even have songs about it). We don’t appreciate this sort of sacrilegious behavior and we will also immediately assume you’re Dutch if we see you doing it.
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Nr. 7: Do tell us how much you like our city and its citizens. It would not hurt to tell us this is the greatest place on earth! You will win us over immediately if you tell us you like it much more then Brussels or Ghent and can’t understand why this Antwerp is not the capital. I’m pretty sure somebody will offer buy you a beer and you might be in for a long night of deep conversations seasoned with lots of beer and amazing stories.
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Nr. 8: Antwerpians are very sensible when it concerns football (soccer for the North Americans). We have two major teams but they are not doing too well the last years and the Great Old (the oldest team of Belgium) is playing in second division. Don’t use the words merger, FC Antwerp and Beershot in one sentence. It’s simply not done and can be dangerous. Be warned Antwerpians might bite if you do so. And yes - Antwerp is de ploeg van ‘t stad! ☺
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Nr. 9: It is true that the lately the right wing party is popular in The City. But the voters are not racist. That’s my opinion! For decades the government has been plagued with scandals and lousy governance. It will take a while before the locals re find back their trust in the major’s office.
Antwerp, Belgium-Customs Nr. 10: There are no dangerous areas in town. There might be some better then other. One of my brothers lives in one of the “not so great ones” we go there often and return safely. Of course, you can meet the wrong person everywhere but generally, it’s a safe city – just use common sense! The red light district is not dangerous but might not be the best choice for an evening walk for an unaccompanied woman. Again it’s not dangerous – but you might get some invitations.
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