The Zurenborg neighborhood in south-east Antwerp has strikingly beautiful Art Nouveau and fin-de-siècle town houses from the turn of the 19th century.
The Zurenborg neighborhood in south-east Antwerp has strikingly beautiful Art Nouveau and fin-de-siècle town houses from the turn of the 19th century. The eclectic collection of houses is based on varied themes, some of which are grouped together. It looks like the manifestation of a Belle Epoque artist’s dream, with ornate wrought-iron work balconies, stained glass, mosaics, and sculptures adorning the facades inspired by Greek Antiquity, Italian Palazzos, French Renaissance and Flemish art.
The Cogels OsyLei in Berchem is the arterial road, lined with Art Nouveau mansions built by the immensely wealthy, with front gardens and wrought iron framed doors. House number 1 is the neo-Flemish Renaissance style Huize Brabo BVBA with a bronze statue of Brabo near the balcony, houses 2 to 4 show the Lion of Flanders, houses 6 to 12 make up the Carolus Magnus built in neo-Carolingian style with the remnants of a statue of Charlemagne, number 17 is De Zevensterre (The Seven Stars or Big Dipper) and number 19 – 23 are part of Apollo.
Other streets in Zurenborg worth exploring are Waterloostraat, General van Merlenstraat, and Transvaalstraat. At the intersection of Waterloostraat and Merlenstraat are De Vier Seizonen (The Four Seasons) with mosaics depicting Lente (Spring) with mayflowers and hyacinths, Zomer (Summer) with roses, Herfst (Autumn) with grapes, and Winter with snow laden branches. Waterloostraat has a cluster of 5 houses at 55 – 63 representing the times of the day – De Morgend (Morning), Den Dag (Day), De Tijd (Time), Den Avond (Evening) and De Nacht (Night). At number 30 is house Napolean with a portrait of the eponymous ruler, while the Art Nouveau house at number 11 De Slag van Waterloo (The Battle of Waterloo) has a panel depicting the battle after which the street was named as well as mosaic portraits of Napolean and Wellington. Also worth seeing is the Art Nouveau Les Mouettes on number 39, inspired by Victor Horta and designed by Jacques De Weerdt.
References to the then topical Boer war in South Africa can be seen on Pretoriastraat, Transvaalstraat and Krugerstraat. Number 15 on Transvaalstraat has the Twelve Apostles, while 59 – 61 has the Twaalf Duivels or 12 Devils carved in dark wood. 23 – 35 are a cluster of monumental Neoclassical Greek houses, with a white stone façade and ornamental statues.
Dageraadplaats (Dawn Square) in the northern part of Zurenborg is a popular dining area lined with restaurants and cafes. Here you can find the neo-Gothic church of St. Norbert (Norbertuskerk).
ECK is a gallery for contemporary visual arts
The Museum Ridder Smidt van Gelder houses the decorative art collection of Peter Smidt van Gelder (1878-1956) at his Beaux-Arts residence
The Antwerp Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world, dating back to 1843
Antwerp's famous Diamantkwartier or Diamond District lies to the south and southwest of the central station, along Pelikaanstraat
Counted among the most beautiful railway stations in the world, the Antwerp Central Station is definitely worth visiting even if you are not arriving or leaving by train
The Jewish Quarter in Antwerp is often referred to as a Shtetl (Yiddish for village or small town) due to the high population of about 15000 Jews, several of them being Orthodox and Hasidic
The Aquatopia is an aquarium with over 10000 fishes and reptiles in the basement of the Radisson Blu hotel
Antwerp's Chinatown is situated along Van Wesenbekestraat
The Begijnhof (Beguinage) was a monastery for beguines - women who lived like nuns without taking their vows
Bourla Theatre is a 19th century neo-classicist theatre building designed by architect Pierre Bourla