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A walk around Antwerp is a trip into history in the context of modernity. Each of its neighborhoods blend the old and the new creating a lively environment in which past architectural styles adapt to Antwerp contemporary urban life.
Begin your trip at Antwerp Historical Center and experience the Middle Ages in its buildings and streets. At the Grote Markt, admire the Renaissance architecture while you sip a coffee among the locals and watch the people pass by. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady and admire Rubens' masterpieces.
Stroll through the Southern District, called ‘t Zuid. Visit its museums such as the Photography Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, mix with the locals in art galleries, go after dark and enjoy the frenzy night at the bars or attend a theater performance. If you are into shopping in a 16th century architectural environment, go to The Latin Quarter. This is one of the hubs of Antwerp’s life. Browse the fashion and antique stores, visit its museums, go to theater performances, even indulge your senses in the serenity of a monastery.
Ossenmarkt and Beguinague is a different type of neighborhood. Although it is near the university, it still harbors the quiet character of a small town. Another district favored by students is the Stadswaag, there are many cafes where you can enjoy reading a good book.
Zurenborg is a trendy neighborhood. It's located in the eastern part of the city, and close to Antwerpen-Berchem. Characteristic for this neighborhood are the art nouveau and jugenstil houses. Walking along the Cogels-Osylei is a truly architectural experience. Today more than 170 buildings in the Zurenborg area have the 'protected monument' status.
The area around Dageraadplaats is getting famous for its good restaurants.
The Antwerp Harbour. Okay, it's not really a neighborhood but Antwerp wouldn't be Antwerp without its harbour which, by the way, is the 2nd largest harbour in Europe and the 4th largest in the world. Although the harbour activity does no longer take place in the old centre, the harbour and the city will always be bound by indissoluble ties.
Antwerp has the largest concentration of orthodox jews in northern Europe. Consequently the city has a considerable Jewish quarter that can be found around the Central Station in the Diamond District. The streets around the Central Station are sometimes defined as 'the Jerusalem of the north". The Jewish quarter is a closed community that leans on orthodox and chassidic traditions, easily visible on Friday night or Saturday morning when the Jews visit one of the 13 Antwerp synagogues. The Jews have played an important role in the development of Antwerp as a leading trading centre. Till today 85 percent of the diamond trade is in hands of the Jewish community.
The newest "star on the firmament" re neighbourhoods is 't Eilandje, situated at the northern side of the city. The name 'Eilandje' (little island in English) comes from the fact that this neighbourhood is completely surrounded by docks. Bonapartedok and Willemdok are the centre of 't Eilandje. The main attraction here is without doubt the new MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), the largest museum in Antwerp. Its architecture is spectacular: red brick and a lot of glass. It's 60 metres / 10 floors high and the various floors are stacked in a way that it looks like a spiral tower. From the top floor you have a splendid view over the Antwerp harbour and the city. On the top floor, also, you will find the excellent 2* restaurant 't Zilte. Furthermore in this neighbourhood a lot of restaurants and bars.