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Antwerp: Belgium’s vibrant city

Belgium’s city of Antwerp offers culture, history and architecture for all to enjoy

Antwerp's Nieuw justitiepaleis
Antwerp's Nieuw justitiepaleis 

Antwerpen, Antwerp, Anvers, Amberes… a Belgian city with many different names and even more facets. It is the city of Rubens, the world diamond centre, an international fashion capital, a maritime metropolis and a culinary trendsetter.

Although the city is pocket-sized it still has a metropolitan feel. And although Antwerpers can be a bit quirky at times, above all they are welcoming. Antwerp is often praised for its rich history but it is also a contemporary city. You could say Antwerp keeps its own time – a time in which everyone feels comfortable.

This is why Antwerp attracts a wide range of visitors; it is a vibrant centre of creativity for designers and fashionistas, a frivolous and trendy place for the young and the LGBT crowd, a favourite among culture lovers, and the city by the river for cruise passengers. And, thanks to its unique central European location, it’s also the perfect meetings and incentives destination.

Centre of attention
Travelling to a new city for business can be a time-consuming hassle. Not to Antwerp. The Belgian city is centrally located on a crossroad of European motorways, just a 45-minute drive from the capital of Europe, and a 34-minute train journey from Brussels Airport. Antwerp has rail connections with many of Europe’s biggest cities. Cruise ships moor in the city centre, only a stone’s throw from the Cathedral of Our Lady and Grote Markt. Regardless of how visitors arrive in Antwerp, the centre of the city is always easy to reach.

Ask a local about their city and they will pour you a Bolleke beer, face beaming, and tell you about its majestic cathedral, about walks along the quays and about the city’s master painter, Peter Paul Rubens. The city and the painter are eternally associated with each other, much like Andy Warhol and New York. Antwerp was where the Flemish Baroque painter lived and, centuries later, his presence is still keenly felt. His statue welcomes everyone in Groenplaats and more than fifty of his works are on display in museums and churches, often in their original setting.

Antwerpers are known to be proud of their city, and rightly so. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Antwerp had already garnered a reputation extending far beyond the city’s borders. It was known for its flourishing art trade and bustling port, which turned the city into an economic hotspot. During this golden age Antwerp resembled present-day New York: it was a global city.

Today, Antwerp continues to build on this rich history, positioning itself as a contemporary metropolis. Although it is always respectful of the numerous historic buildings that bear witness to the city’s rich history, Antwerp is becoming known for its iconic modern architecture. Examples include the new Law Courts, the new MAS museum, the even newer Red Star Line Museum or the Port Authority building, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

The Antwerp Six are living proof of Antwerp’s influence on the fashion world, and more generally, on the art world, which thrives in Antwerp, especially in the Zuid district. Nowhere else will you feel the centuries-old bond between man and diamond as keenly as in Antwerp – and at Antwerp’s jewellers. All this, and more, in a city where you can still sit on a park bench and smell the roses and where you will never feel lost in the crowd.

Fashion, architecture, art and cuisine play vital roles in the everyday life of the city

Convene here
After Brussels, Antwerp is Belgium’s most important city for conferences and events. A significant 27 percent of total overnight stays in Antwerp are linked to a conference or event. Antwerp offers excellent conference facilities and catering, often directly linked to the city’s major hotels. A large new conference centre, right in the heart of Antwerp, will enable the city to host even bigger fixtures from 2015 onwards.

Antwerp has been hosting dynamic and successful events for many years. The people of Antwerp host events with imagination, creativity and passion. It is an innovative city, alive with design in every discipline. Fashion, architecture, art and cuisine play vital roles in the everyday life of the city and its citizens.

The city has four locations that are particularly well-equipped to host conferences. The historical centre, surrounded by impressive architecture, offers character-filled venues like the City Hall and unique settings for entertainment. The impressive Central Station provides the backdrop for creative networking. The ring road provides easy access to the city centre. The vibrant and contemporary docklands (Het Eilandje) are revitalising with new, waterfront venues. Two new museums (MAS and Red Star Line) are the main attractions here. Venues of different sizes cater up to 28,000 people and tertiary services include catering, transport and technology.

Unique incentive activities like diamond cocktails, chocolate demonstrations, beer tasting, creative workshops, fashion shows, lectures, and late-night visits to museums entice conference organisers and delegates. Antwerp accommodated over 1.7 million overnights spread between congress, business and leisure. Antwerp is well-equipped, with over 4,300 hotel rooms, ranging from four-star international names to small boutique hotels.

Antwerp Tourism & Conventions is a dedicated team offering free, customised advice and information about convention, meeting and event opportunities in Antwerp. They can help you find event facilitators, assist in choosing the best location for your conference and also organise site inspections. Plus they have a wealth of promotional material, can talk you through availability and offers, and provide guidance in drawing up bid books. Antwerp Tourism & Conventions is the ultimate key to unlocking meetings and events in this spectacular city. It’s even been awarded Business Destinations’ Best In-house CVB Service Provider, Europe, 2013.

Antwerp succeeds in being a world-class city without ever forgetting about the importance of being a pleasant and, above all, liveable city. Antwerp has something to satisfy everyone.

Find further information at visitantwerpen.be or email informationmeeting@stad.antwerpen.be

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