Antwerp

General information

The City of Antwerp is located in Belgium. It is well-known for its big harbour, which will be explained further down in this text. It also is the most important place for processing and trading diamonds. It was one of the biggest cities of the world in the 15th and 16th century. Furthermore, Antwerp was the most important trading city in Europe. The Belgian capital Brussels is only 40 kilometres south and the harbour stretches 75 kilometres up north. Antwerp consist of the following districts: Antwerp, Berchem, Berendrecht-Zandvliet-Lillo, Borgerhout, Deurne, Ekeren, Hoboken, Merksem and Wilrijk. Originally, all of these districts were independent towns, but they were annexed to the city in two steps in 1958 and 1983.

 

Since 1909 the city of Antwerp has had a rather small airport.

Many known artists come from Antwerp like Rubens, van Dyck or Christoph Platin.

The Port

The port of Antwerp is the second biggest port in Europe after Rotterdam, covering an area of 152.57 km². 11.87 million containers and 238 million tons of cargo were handled in 2018. It is located in Flanders (Belgium), mainly in the province of Antwerp but also partially in the province of East Flanders.

One of the main advantages is its central location. In a radius of 250 km the port is surrounded by five capitals and in a radius of 500 km its surrounded by over 10 million citizens. Antwerp’s docks are connected to the hinterland by rail, road, and river and canal waterways. This is what makes this port so special, because it’s connected so well to the mainland.

 

Napoleon Bonapart was the first to see the potential in the location of Antwerp and ordered the construction of the first dock in 1811. This dock was named after Napoleon. Two years later a second dock was built, the “Williem dock”, named after the Dutch King. By 1908, after a second “Golden Age” the Belgians had built eight more docks. When the World War I broke out, the British saw the strategic importance of the port, so much so that Churchill arrived in Antwerp on 4 October 1914 to take charge of the defence of the city and its port.

The port is divided into banks. The “Left Bank” and the “Right Bank”. The “Right Bank” is the much older part of the dock, with docks like the Bonapart dock which are being modernized. The “Left Bank” is much more modern and much bigger.

The Emigrants

Antwerp became famous for being the last stop in Europe for emigrants who were hoping for a better life on the other side of the Atlantic, primarily in the USA and Canada. You can follow the story of many emigrants in the famous “Red Star Line Museum” in the port city of Antwerp.

In the museum you can also see paintings of famous Antwerp artists. The museum also features a tower from where you have an amazing view of the port. The tower is designed to look like a chimney of a ship.

Leave a Comment