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Antwerp see + do

Belgium's second-largest city is a flourishing port town and one of the most textured, tourist-free destinations in Western Europe. The fiercely Flemish city (don't even think about speaking French here) boasts the world's largest diamond trade, an achingly hot fashion scene that gave birth to Dries Van Noten of Antwerp Six fame, and teems with Rubens paintings, chocolate shops, beer connoisseurs, and frite pride. Antwerp is also one of Europe's most ethnically mixed smaller cities, with large communities of Senegalese, Turks, Indians, and Moroccans, not to mention the denizens of Belgium's only Chinatown. This helps produce a counterculture that feeds the city's artists, designers, and intelligentsia, many of whom can be seen debating Antwerp's future through clouds of smoke at notorious "brown cafés."

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Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal), Antwerp

Antwerp's Cathedral of Our Lady is one of the most impressive Gothic churches in all of the Low Countries—and it is the largest. With construction...more

Editors' Pick
Het Rockoxhuis, Antwerp

Nicolaas Rockox was Antwerp's mayor during the Golden Age, when commerce and creativity boomed, and was a personal friend of Rubens (though it sometimes seems...more

Editors' Pick
Historic Walks, Antwerp

For a real insider's view, Tourism Antwerp offers terrific two-hour walking excursions of historic Antwerp on Saturday and Sunday (starting at 11 a.m.). If you...more

Editors' Pick
Koninklijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, Antwerp

Discover exactly what art historians mean by "Flemish Old Masters" at the Antwerp Royal Museum of Fine Arts. This is the native city of Rubens, and the...more

Editors' Pick
ModeNatie, Antwerp

The ModeNatie complex is not only a fascinating foray into Antwerp's fashion history—dominated by Antwerp Six alums like Dries Van Noten and Ann...more

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Muhka (Museum of Contemporary Art), Antwerp

A grain silo and warehouse in the Zuid district of town have been converted into a 13,000-square-foot exhibition space devoted to art—both international...more

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Museum Mayer Van Den Bergh, Antwerp

This glorious hodgepodge of paintings, decorative arts, and fine crafts (heavy on Dutch and Flemish pieces from the 14th to 16th centuries) was amassed by art...more

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Museum Plantin Moretus, Antwerp

You don't have to be a bibliophile to be intrigued by Europe's oldest industrial printing house—UNESCO wouldn't have granted it World Heritage status for...more

Editors' Pick
Rubenshuis, Antwerp

Peter Paul Rubens liked his women fleshy and his home palatial, so when he bought this building in 1610, he set out to turn it into a Renaissance palazzo that...more

Editors' Pick
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