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Voluptuous, fashionable and sparkling

Voluptuous, fashionable and sparkling

Antwerp is multi-faceted, with sparkling architecture and flawless art. A perfect metaphor for the city that trades nearly 70% of the world’s diamonds. Antwerp has a long history of trading nearly…everything. Its well-located port allowed the city to become a strategic marketplace. During the 15th and 16th centuries, also known as the Age of Exploration, Antwerp was a world economic power and a center of sophistication. And although politics have played a part in this downfall of their global status, the port is still the largest in Europe, and the 5th largest in the world.

Antwerp’s financial riches may have dwindled, but culturally, the city has a wealth to offer. In the 16th century, the city was known for the "Antwerp School" – a term for the artists living in this part of the low Countries. The 17th century is when Antwerp became an artistic stronghold of the Flemish Masters, including Jordaens, Van Dyck and most notably, Rubens. The artists developed a style that combined northern detail and atmosphere with Italian style and flair. Rubens remains Antwerp’s most illustrious citizen and his life and work is central to the city.

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At Rubenshuis, you can view where the artist lived and worked. The home itself is from 1610, and he and his wife purchased the house two years after he returned from Italy. This stay inspired not only his painting oeuvre, but his view of architecture as well. Inside the home, find famous works depicting Rubens fleshy brushstrokes. Today, when one hears the word “Rubenesque,” everyone knows it’s to describe the voluptuous.

The Rubens Market is a colorful event where traders dress in the clothes that would have been worn during the 16th-century painter’s lifetime. The event takes place usually in August, on Assumption Day, and recreates the scene of one of Rubens’ famous works. Come soak up the atmosphere and browse for local goods.

Completing the Rubens triumvirate, the Cathedral of Our Lady is a UNESCO Heritage Site and holds three glorious canvases : The Raising of the Cross, Assumption of the Virgin Mary and The Descent from the Cross. You can visit Rubens’ tomb at the St James’s Church.

Antwerp is famous from canvas to cloth. The city has achieved a cult status in the fashion world, due to its Royal Academy of Fine Arts, one of the Europe’s most important fashion schools. A group of designers (including Ann Demeulemeester and Dries van Noten) who graduated from here between 1980-81 have come to be called the Antwerp Six. This collective of influential avant garde designers presented a distinct, radical vision for fashion during the 1980s that established Antwerp as a center for design.

Shop for showstopping couture in Antwerp after breakfast, and hit chic Parisian shops by dinner. Thanks to the high-speed Thalys, you can be there in just over two hours. Or have waffles and mussels in Brussels’ Grand Place in just 42 minutes. And compare the Flemish masters to Dutch Masters in Amsterdam in just over an hour.

Before leaving, try pear-shaped chocolate pralines at Chateau Blanc, a fine Belgian chocolatier. They’re so good, you’ll want to bring some back to everyone at home !

Antwerp station(s)

Trains are convenient way to reach any town and city in Europe. All main towns have a railway station, while major cities have more than two railway stations. Nearly all railway stations are located in the city centre. Check our map to locate railway station(s) in Antwerp.

Antwerp city guide

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From our travel community

Reservation booked/tickets received transfer times are 5 min! Hi, I reserved and booked train tickets on rail europe already and found a few reservations I made with 5-6 min transfer! Is this enough time? What happens if I miss a transfer, can I just jump on the next one without buying another ticket? I (...)

mlo878 | 2015/02/11 complete | 72 Comments
I purchased a eurail benelux pass- still need to reserve & pay ? Hi,I purchased a Benelux Pass (4 days) online and I plan to travel:Amsterdam -> BrusselsBrussels-> LuxembourgLuxembourg -> Amsterdam-Do I still need to make a reservation for seats?-when I tried to book, it shows the price and says I (...)

marknemily Lim | 2018/07/19 complete | 4 Comments
If i activate german rail pass at germany, can i use to travel from prague to berlin & cologne to amsterdam? If I activate German Rail Pass at Germany, Can I use to travel from Prague to Berlin with Eurocity (EC) train? If I would like to travel from Cologne to Amsterdam center, Can I use German Rail (...)

Pohwan Tam | 2018/10/30 complete | 1 Comments
International transportation covered with the german rail pass? Could you please advise whether German rail pass can be used to cover my transportation?- S bahn in any cities- U bahn in any cities- train back and forth to/from German to/from Austria/Belgium/Italy, Switzerland/Poland and Czechia?for example (...)

MJ | 2018/10/30 complete | 1 Comments
London, paris, bruges, and amsterdam / 4 cities, one pass? Hi, I'm Jessica. I plan to visit London, Paris, Bruges, and Amsterdam. My trip has to begin and end in London, but other than that, I am open. Is there a specific order I should visit these cities in to be the most efficient? Also, does a rail (...)

Jessica Smith | 2018/06/27 complete | 4 Comments

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Customer reviews

  • Value for money
    Trip to Belgium |
    "We had never taken the Thalys train before. I would absolutely do it again. It was clean and comfortable. The service was excellent. The train is quiet and smooth. We had a great time. "

  • Value for money
    Good and easy trip  |
    "Great comfort, stylish train. Easy to understand for a non-European traveler (who speaks English and understands Dutch and Flemish) "

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    Great in every respect |
    "We were very pleased with this trip. The train left and arrived on time and it was a great way to travel. "

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    Better than flying |
    "Smooth,comfortable journey,train left and arrived exactly when it was supposed to. "

  • Good |
    "The trains are on time. Use the code on the ticket can pass the gate of Rotterdam. "

  • Value for money
    excellent |
    "Not only was the comfort and convenience of the trip that made it worthwhile, I even discovered speculoos at breakfast ! "

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    Lyon to Mulhouse |
    "Great and comfortable "

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    Nice One |
    "The train is so clean and comfort. There is also a mini restaurant on the train for us in the second class to buy some food and drinks. "

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    Fantastic |
    "I enjoyed so much the first class of Thalys. A very comfort train, the seat is nice, free wi-fi, electricity, and a large place to put our suitcases (I brought 2) right above so we can control the belongings any time. We also served by a beautiful crew with a high hospitality. Ups, almost forget, there was a very nice meals reserved already for lunch. Fantastic. "

  • Value for money
    ok but... |
    "nowadays is quite ridiculous do not have free wi fi for every class ticket. "

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