Antwerp (Antwerpen/Anvers in Dutch and French) is Belgium’s second city, biggest port, and capital of cool. It has long been a powerful magnet for everyone from fashion moguls and club queens to art lovers and diamond dealers. In the mid-16th century, it was one of Europe’s most important cities and home to the baroque superstar painter Pieter Paul Rubens—as many a museum will regularly remind you. Despite many historical travails thereafter, and severe WWII bombing, Antwerp retains an intriguing medieval heart with plenty of café-filled cobbled lanes, a riverside fortress, and a truly impressive cathedral. Today, however, Antwerp’s top drawcards are its vibrant fashion and entertainment scene, along with its startling architectural and cultural contrasts.
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