An eventful day in Antwerp

Saturday, September 22th, 2018

On 22 September 2018, our fall trip took us to Antwerp, an important cultural, port and commercial city on the Scheldt whose history reaches back into the Middle Ages.

49 club members took part in the trip, including many foreign employees with their families. After a two-hour bus ride to Antwerp, our members chose between German and English tours that started in the old harbor near the city center.

The German tour visited the old fish market first. We learned that because of the heavy traffic on the Scheldt in and around Antwerp, there are no bridges, only tunnels. To reach the tunnel at the fish market we took the elevator down 31 meters to see the 572 meter long tunnel, then went back up on the old wooden escalator. Built in 1933, this tunnel was a technical masterpiece in its day.

Our tour continued through the bustling Hoogstraat to the mansion and workshop of the printer and publisher family Plantin / Moretus, where we visited the large Baroque courtyard and garden.

Our next destination was the Grote Markt (Main Square) with its magnificent - unfortunately currently under renovation -Town Hall and the beautiful Renaissance guild houses, which testify to the great wealth of this city. Our next stop was the nearby Gothic Church of Our Lady with its 123 meter high tower. All the churches display numerous paintings created by Rubens and other masters. Afterwards, our path led us to the Schoenemarkt with its famous Rubens Monument, the most important son of the city.

Very close to the market is also a 96 m tall high-rise built in 1933.

Our guide was full of original anecdotes that enriched the tour. He explained the important role of the diamond trade, which is one of the city's main sources of income in addition to the port, the petrochemical industry and tourism.

The English-speaking tour was equally fascinating, especially the amazing depth of knowledge of our tour guide.

Some of our members used the afternoon for a stroll through the historic old town, a visit to the Church of Our Lady or the Plantin / Moretus Museum, while others preferred restaurants or cafes serving delicious clams, fries or waffles.

At the end of our trip, all members thanked our club member Myriam with warm applause for the well-organized day.