Highlight of Antwerp: we walk into a room in the Pieter Paul Rubens house, and our professor points to a wooden box on top of stand with a huge iron crank onto top. The machine stands to be about my height. Upon asking if any of the students know what the box does, and after a serious of ridiculous responses (music box, crank flashlight, etc) I reply that it’s an iron. My teacher’s eyes light up as she exclaims my brilliance; thus, I was deemed by my friend, Nina, to be the Queen of Domestic Kingdom- wherever I go, I can spot a good, household appliance. Enjoy!
8:25 — Meet at Gare Centrale.
8:37 — Train leaves for Antwerp. (Train first passed at Midi station leaving at 8:33)
9:22 — Train arrives in Antwerp at Central Station. We take the Keyserlei, then the Meir. See the statue of Antwerp painter David Teniers and look at the eclectic buildings. Further on the left side of the Meir, look at the18th c. Osterrieth house (now a bank) in Rococo style
9:45 — Pass by the statue of Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) and by a modern sculpture of a huge hand, symbol of Antwerp. Walk to Groen Plaats where is the statue of Rubens (1577-1640) and where one discovers the Cathedral, the largest church in Belgium. Turn on Nationale straat (street of Antwerp’s fashion designers). Take the first street on the right (Steenhouwersvest) to get to Vrijdag Markt (Friday flee market).
10:20 — Visit Plantin-Moretus Museum where one learns about the history of printing in the printing house founded by Christophe Plantin in the 16th c.
12:00 – Walk to Steenhouwersvest where lived Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678) who became, after Rubens’death the greatest painter in Antwerp. Take Hoogstraat to the right until we enter by doorway into the picturesque Vlaeykensgang alley which brings us close to the cathedral by way of Pelgrimstraat. Walk to the Grote Markt with its guildhouses, its Renaissance Stadhuis (Townhall) built in 1564 by Cornelis De Vriendt and the fountain of Silvius Brabo by Jeff Lambeaux (19th c).
12:25 — Break for lunch.
13:25 — Meet in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady. Enter and visit.
14:20 — By Suikerrui get to the terrace over the Scheldt. See the panorama: the harbor (Bonaparte dock nearby), the left bank and on the right bank, the imposing eclectic buildings of the Hansa and the towers of the Cathedral.
14:35 — Walk to the Steen (stone), the medieval fortress, which houses today the National Maritime Museum. Cross the road and walk to the Vleeshuis, the Butchers’ Hall built in 1504.
14:50 — By Oude Beurs and Wolstraat to Hendrik Conscience Square, called after the Antwerp-born author of the Lion of Flanders (1812-83).We will look at the facade of St. Charles Borromeo (1621), a Baroque church that used to have a ceiling decorated by Rubens until it was destroyed by fire in 1718.
15:45 — Return to the Meir where we see the Old Stock Exchange, a neo-gothic building dating from
1872, an exhibition hall today, and built on the site of the original “Beurs” of 1531 which had burned
in 1856. The 1531 Antwerp’s Beurs was the first Stock Exchange building and served as a model to those of Amsterdam and London. Walk on Meir to Wapper Square.
16:00 — Visit the house of Pieter Paul Rubens
17:00 — Walk to the station. Trains for Brussels (45 -50 minutes) leave at the hour 38 and 03.