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Antwerp is Belgium's shopping and fashion capital. An artistic energy pulses through its streets as people eat at roadside cafés, explore its attractions or take a quiet moment in one of its parks.
Shopping in Antwerp
Expats will find all the variety they'd expect from a major city. They can shop at modern malls and along historic pedestrian streets. The main shopping area is Meir, also Antwerp's most famous street. Though the street draws comparisons with other major shopping streets, such as 5th Avenue in New York City, this iconic street has been a prominent part of the city for centuries, and many historical buildings remain.
The Wijnegem Shopping Centre is Belgium's largest mall, with the retail area clocking in at six hectares. With 250 stores ranging from supermarkets and restaurants to fashion and hobby shops, this must-see mall has something for everyone.
The diamond district, known as the Diamantkwartier (Diamond Quarter
Eating out in Antwerp
Antwerp has an exceptional selection of restaurants, and its historical architecture means that many of the best establishments are also a feast for the eyes. The wide variety of restaurants reflects the city's diverse modern population. Diners can savour a broad palette of everything from Asian Fusion to Mediterranean food to French cuisine and local fare.
Outdoor activities in Antwerp
Expats who enjoy the outdoors won't be short of things to do in Antwerp. The city has several parks and sports facilities and lends itself well to being explored by bicycle and on foot.
The triangular piece of land occupied by the Stadspark was once the site of a 16th-century fort. Its central location is close to the station and the zoo, allowing expats to escape the city's bustle without leaving its boundaries. The park boasts a lake and various historical monuments and is especially popular with joggers, walkers and families.
There's also plenty to do outside the city, including various cycle routes around the Flanders region, which can be used to explore the surrounding towns or tour the tranquil Belgian countryside.
See and do in Antwerp
An exciting city with a storied history, expats will always find plenty to see and do in Antwerp. Beauty can be found everywhere here, from Antwerp's numerous museums and its many awe-inspiring centuries-old buildings to its refreshing green spaces. Here are some of our top picks.
Situated in the heart of Antwerp's old-city quarter, the Grote Markt is one of Antwerp's most iconic attractions. Overlooking the square is the Town Hall (Stadhuis), a beautiful Renaissance building influenced by Italian and Flemish styles. Completed in 1564, this grand building has stood for centuries overlooking the square and is still actively used as a venue for political meetings. The square has a bustling atmosphere and plenty of excellent restaurants and cafés to sit and people-watch.
Museum Aan de Stroom
Another not-to-be-missed attraction is the 10-storey Museum Aan De Stroom. The complex is the city's largest museum and contains priceless paintings, ancient artefacts and interactive exhibitions. The 360-degree view from the museum's rooftop is one of Antwerp's best.
Park Spoor Noord
Set on reclaimed land that once held a railway, Park Spoor Noord is a wonderful place to spend a sunny day out, and is particularly well suited to families. Children can splash about in the cooling water fountains, while older kids can enjoy showing off their moves in the skatepark. Adults, meanwhile, are sure to enjoy the concerts staged on the park's summer terrace.
Antwerp is proud of its association with the Baroque master painter Peter Paul Rubens. His palatial house was restored to its former glory and was opened to the public in 1946. Aside from containing some of his most famous works, its ornate decorations make the house an attraction in its own right.
►Learn more about finding the perfect home in Accommodation in Antwerp
"I love Antwerp's energy. Avant-garde fashion, street food, modernist design stores, concept pop-ups, all on a smaller (and easier to navigate) scale than London. I love to go out, to dine in great restaurants and to meet new people from all walks of life." Read more about expat Nina's experience in Antwerp.
Are you an expat living in Antwerp?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Antwerp. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
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