The over 10,000 different varieties of plants in the tropical and subtropical greenhouses of the University's Botanical Garden are both flourishing and fascinating.
The unique collection of Mediterranean plants alone is well worth a visit.
Guided visits can be arranged. https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/ghent-university-botanical-garden
Gentbrugse Meersen is a park and nature reserve that is still being created.
You can come here for sports, play, gardening and picnics. Take a walk in the woods and discover stretches of open water populated by water birds. A piece of wild nature close to the city.
The barefoot path is a 1-km long footpath that has not been laid artificially. It is a natural path which changes along with the weather and the seasons. A real treat for your feet! https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/gentbrugse-meersen
A weekend trip to Ghent is simply not complete without a visit to the mysterious ‘Castle of the Counts’. This important sight in Ghent is a castle with a very turbulent past, closely intertwined with the complex—often stormy—political and social history of the city. It is the only remaining mediaeval castle with a moat and largely intact defence system in Flanders. Your visit to the Castle of the Counts will give you a complete picture of heraldic culture in the 12th century. The gatehouse, ramparts, keep, count’s residence and stables are open to visitors.
The Castle of the Counts boasts a unique collection of torture equipment. What used to be the pantry now features the torture equipment, which is displayed in a suggestive executioner's cabinet. The former courtroom features the collection of judicial objects. The Castle of the Counts also hosts all kinds of cultural activities, events and activities, for example during the Ghent Festivities. It is also a popular place to get married for Ghent’s locals.
Let’s not forget the time the Castle of the Counts was occupied by protesting students in 1949! Explore the castle during your weekend trip in Ghent and find out all about the ‘Battle of the Castle of the Counts’. https://visit.gent.be/en/castle-counts-0?from_category=3332&context=tourist
This magnificent sight on Sint-Baafsplein in Ghent is a proud old lady: don’t just walk past her on your city trip. St Bavo’s Cathedral is the oldest parish church in the lively heart of Ghent. It stands on the site of a 10th century church and a 12th century Romanesque church. The latter was dedicated to St John the Baptist. In the Middle Ages, Ghent was a rich and powerful city that had the means to commission ever-larger and more opulent churches. So the Church of St John the Baptist was converted during the 15th and 16th centuries into the imposing Gothic St Bavo’s Cathedral.
St Bavo’s Cathedral has a rich history and it is also filled with art treasures that make many an art-lover’s mouth water: from the baroque high altar in white, black and red flamed marble, the Rococo pulpit in oak, gilded wood and marble, to a masterpiece by Rubens: Saint Bavo enters the Convent at Ghent, and the Calvary Triptych by Justus van Gent, the Gothic chandelier/sanctuary lamp, the opulent tombs of the Bishops of Ghent – and of course the world-famous Mystic Lamb. https://visit.gent.be/en/st-bavos-cathedral-0?from_category=3332&context=tourist
The STAM is the ideal place to start your cultural holiday in Ghent, an unmistakeably contemporary building against a historic backdrop. Ghent is a city of every era, and the same applies to the modern Ghent City Museum: the 14th-century abbey, 17th-century convent and new 21st-century building all form part of the STAM.
The STAM tells the story of Ghent from the Middle Ages to the present day, with imaginative collections and interactive multimedia. The past, present and future of the city are presented in a clear and interesting way: from mediaeval metropolis to city of knowledge and culture.
The eye-catcher at Ghent City Museum, the STAM, is a gigantic aerial photograph of Ghent (measuring 300 m2!) that you are allowed to walk all over. Use the multimedia app to see Ghent in detail in four different centuries. ‘Views of Ghent’ shows a view of the city in 1534, maps from 1641 and 1912 and a contemporary aerial photograph.
Ghent’s ‘arts quarter’ is not only home to impressive historic buildings, but also to quiet green spaces, parks and gardens where you can fully recharge your batteries. https://visit.gent.be/en/stam?from_category=3332&context=tourist
Look up at the magical city skyline for a moment during your weekend trip in Ghent: you can’t miss it. The Belfry is the middle tower in the famous row of three, between St Bavo’s Cathedral and St Nicholas’ Church. A fiery dragon, the proud symbol and mascot of Ghent, guards the historic heart of the city.
The Ghent Belfry symbolises the city’s prosperity and independence. The Cloth Hall, built onto the Belfry, was completed in 1907. The flamboyant Brabant Gothic style of the Cloth Hall is an ode to the industry to which Ghent owes so much. On the corner of the Cloth Hall is an old jailer’s house. Every Sunday morning you can hear the carillonneur at work between 11 am and 12 noon. And you can enjoy a carillon concert on the first Friday of each month from 8 to 9 pm. In the summer months, the concert takes place every Saturday night! https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/ghent-belfry-world-heritage
This church in Tournai bluestone is one of the most beautiful examples of the Scheldt Gothic style.
One of its unique elements is that the tower is not above the entrance but above the crossing of the nave and transepts. It functions as a sort of natural lantern as the light shines into the transept from the tower. https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/st-nicholas-church
The strength of the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Ghent, one of the oldest museums in Belgium, lies in the varied nature of its collection, which is nothing short of remarkable. Never before have old masters and modernists hung side-by-side so perfectly as in this iconic museum building.
At the end of the 18th century, Ghent was under French rule and many of the city’s art treasures were seized. Some of them can still be seen in the Louvre in Paris today. Rebellious Ghent wasn’t having any of it and slowly began to establish a wide-ranging art collection, searching for years to find an appropriate building. The ideal location was found in the building designed by the architect Van Rysselberghe in the Citadelpark, a museum with a fantastic feeling of spaciousness and a lot of light.
The collection, which ranges from Hieronymus Bosch to Rubens and Magritte, has never been shown more attractively than it is today. It covers an enormous variety of paintings, statues, drawings, etchings and tapestries, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. An auditorium, a library, a children’s workshop and a brasserie turn the MSK into a contemporary, multipurpose complex where you can spend many a pleasant hour surrounded by beauty during your weekend trip to Ghent. Why not take a virtual peek inside the MSK now? https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/museum-fine-arts-ghent
Lovers of contemporary art absolutely can’t afford to miss a visit to the S.M.A.K. during their weekend in Ghent. The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, or S.M.A.K. for short (in Dutch), was founded in 1999 and is located opposite the MSK in a former casino building.
The city of Ghent is known for its rebelliousness, and its contemporary art museum is every bit as dynamic and unconventional as Ghent itself. The collection is considered to be the most important collection of contemporary art in Flanders, with world-famous works of art from Belgium and abroad. Every four months, the museum exhibits a selection of these works in alternation with original, often daring exhibitions. Recover at leisure from the assault on your senses in the museum café.
Under the inspiring leadership of the controversial curator and ‘art pope’ Jan Hoet, the former ‘contemporary art wing’ of the MSK was given its own museum, the S.M.A.K. The permanent collection at this museum for contemporary art includes top Belgian and international works of art by Cobra, pop art, minimal art, conceptual art and arte povera artists, who are now among the most famous artists in the world. https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/smak-contemporary-art-ghent
The oldest mental asylum in Belgium, which dates back to 1857 is in Jozef Guislainstraat. Today it houses an absolutely fascinating museum.
It was the visionary Dr Guislain who was one of the first to think of mentally ill people as patients with a right to humane treatment. The shame that was felt at the way psychiatric patients had been treated in the past was the impetus for founding the Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent in 1986.
Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent aims to break down the many prejudices that still define what is ‘mentally ill’ and what is ‘normal’. Discover the permanent collection and find out about the history of psychiatry, as well as an international collection of outsider art or art brut. The temporary exhibitions are always great too. https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/dr-guislain-museum
The House of Alijn museum in Ghent puts the ordinary daily life of 20th-century people in the spotlight. This was once the ‘Children of Alijn hospice’. It is the only almshouse—a charitable institution where the old and sick were cared for—to have been preserved in Ghent.
Traditions and rituals belong to the past and present. Daily routines and special events determine the rhythm of your life. During your weekend trip to Ghent, enjoy the customs, traditions and rituals at the House of Alijn museum that recall a recent or more distant past.
Go ‘Back to the future’: rediscover your very first baby photos, marbles in the playground, your first love, the excitement of the summer holidays... The way we approach ‘occasions and emotions’ changes over time: it is both personal and universal. Find out that everyday life is anything but ordinary.
Enjoy these collective memories in the lovely courtyard garden and a typical working-class pub. We recommend it! https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/house-alijn
Ghent is proud of its industrial past, and that makes the Museum of Industry a hotspot for many Ghent locals: a sight in Ghent that needs to be on your to-do list for your city trip.
Much of the industrial heritage that bore witness to the first and second industrial revolutions was scrapped and demolished from the 1970s onwards. Ghent City Council has made efforts to preserve machines and objects.
In the main exhibition “About people and machinery” the Museum of Industry tells the story of the industrial revolutions.
In addition, the museum features two other exhibitions. “Three centuries of graphic industry” will show you the evolution of the printing industry over the past 300 years. In “From cotton plant to finished product” you will discover how cotton is processed as well as the different weaving methods. https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/museum-industry
Wild about design? Be sure to visit the Design Museum Gent. A modern, open building lurks behind a magnificent 18th-century façade.
This impressive city residence in Rococo style was bought by the City of Ghent in 1922 and used it to house the Design Museum. The temporary exhibitions complement the magnificent permanent collection, from art nouveau to trends in contemporary design.
Even if you don’t need to go, the toilet enclosure at the museum is well worth a visit. The bathroom wing was built in defiance after Design Museum Gent kept being refused the funds for expansion by Ghent City Council. When it did get a permit for a huge monumental work of art, a huge toilet roll with toilets hidden inside it, a message was added with a double meaning: ‘de pot op’. Literally it means “go to the loo” but what the expression really means colloquially is “go to hell”, giving the figurative finger to Ghent City Council. https://visit.gent.be/en/see-do/design-museum-gent-modern-meets-history
One of the best thing you can do in Bruges is to take a beautiful short walk along the ramparts with its windmills. It is nearby the city center, so after discovering shopping places, beers and coffees, this is a great opportunity to escape from the busy city life for a moment.
Belgium has a rich mill history. If you check a map of Bruges from the 16th century, you can see there were no less than 23 windmills here! They were part of the town walls since the end of 13th century. Nowadays, there are four remaining mills between the Dampoort and the Kruispoort: Koeleweimill, Nieuwe Papegaai, Sint-Janshuismill and Bonne Chiere. https://www.visitbruges.be/en/windmills-of-bruges
The Groeninge Museum offers a varied overview of the history of Belgian plastic arts. Although the Flemish Primitives are a high point, you will also marvel at top 18th and 19th-century neoclassical pieces, masterpieces from Flemish Expressionism and post-war modern art. https://www.visitbruges.be/en/groeningemuseum-groeninge-museum
The 'Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde' with its white-coloured house fronts and tranquil convent garden was founded in 1245. This little piece of world heritage was once the home of the beguines, emancipated lay-women who nevertheless led a pious and celibate life. Today the beguinage is inhabited by nuns of the Order of St. Benedict and several Bruges women who have decided to remain unmarried. In the Beguine's house, you can still get a good idea of what day-to-day life was like in the 17th century. https://www.visitbruges.be/highlights/beguinage
The 115.5 metres high brick tower of the Church of Our Lady is a perfect illustration of the craftsmanship of Bruges’ artisans. The church displays a valuable art collection: Michelangelo’s world-famous Madonna and Child, countless paintings, 13th-century painted sepulchres and the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. Useful to know: at the moment, large-scale renovation works are still being carried out, so the church is only partially accessible and many works of art cannot be viewed. The choir was renovated in 2015 and the remarkable church interior can now once again be admired in all its splendour. https://www.visitbruges.be/en/onze-lieve-vrouwekerk-church-of-our-lady
A visit to Bruges isn’t complete without a boat trip on its canals. Go aboard at any of the five landing stages for a half-hour trip that allows you to appreciate the most noteworthy delights of the city from a completely different angle. March to mid-November: daily 10.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m. (last departure at 5.30 p.m.). https://www.visitbruges.be/en/bruggemetdeboot
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic basilica in Bruges. The church houses a venerated relic of the Holy Blood allegedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders.
The double church, dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Basil in the 12th century and a basilica since 1923, consists of a lower church that has maintained its Romanesque character and a neo-Gothic upper church, in which the relic of the Holy Blood is preserved. The treasury, with numerous valuable works of art, is also worth a visit. https://www.visitbruges.be/en/basiliek-van-het-heilig-bloed-basilica-of-the-holy-blood
The most important of Bruges’ towers stands 83 metres tall. It houses, amongst other things, a carillon with 47 melodious bells. In the reception area, waiting visitors can discover all kinds of interesting information about the history and working of this unique world-heritage protected belfry. Those who take on the challenge of climbing the tower can pause for a breather on the way up in the old treasury, where the city’s charters, seal and public funds were kept during the Middle Ages, and also at the level of the impressive clock or in the carillonneur chamber. Finally, after a tiring 366 steps, your efforts will be rewarded with a breath-taking and unforgettable panoramic view of Bruges and her surroundings. https://www.visitbruges.be/en/belfort-belfry
Markt is the heart of the city and surrounded by many historical highlights. It is filled with pedestrians and bicyclists and a perfect place to get some rest or food in a local restaurant.
Markt is dominated by its Belfry, for centuries the city’s foremost edifice and the perfect look-out in case of war, fire or any other calamity. You can still climb to the top of the tower! The statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck graces the middle of the square. These two popular heroes of Bruges resisted French oppression and consequently played an important part during the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. Their statue neatly looks out onto the Gothic revival style Provincial Palace. Until the 18th century this used to be the extremely busy Waterhalle, a covered warehouse where goods were loaded and unloaded along the canals that ran alongside the square. Today the canals are still there, albeit underground. https://www.visitbruges.be/highlights/marketsquare
The half-hour carriage ride along Bruges’ historic winding streets trots off on Markt (at Burg on Wednesday morning). Halfway through the ride the carriage briefly stops at the Beguinage. The coachman gives expert commentary en route. https://www.visitbruges.be/en/bruges-by-horse-drawn-carriage-2
The Zwin: a unique combination of a visitor park and a nature reserve, originally founded by Count Léon Lippens. There is a constant coming and going of birds in the Zwin Nature Park; in spring many return from their wintering area in the deep south to land at their brooding areas in the north; in autumn they set out on their journey in the opposite direction.
Numerous species of birds follow coastlines and use estuaries and other nature areas to rest for a while or to find food. You can compare it with aircraft that must make as stop during a long-haul flight to refuel at an airport. For very many migratory birds that follow the coastline, the Zwin is an important layover point on their long journey. The Zwin area is an airport, but one reserved exclusively for birds, the 'International Airport for Birds'!
The Zwin also famous with its rare landscape: a natural transition from one biotope to another is visible here, from beach to dunes on the one hand and from beach to mudflats and salt marshes on the other. Mudflats are flooded by the sea twice a day, at high tide, and feature no or hardly any vegetation. The salt marshes on the other hand feature a rich flora which has adapted to its surroundings. Salty mudflats and salt marshes are rare along the coasts and river mouths of Western Europe and they are under European protection. https://www.zwin.be/en
The Zwin Nature Park is an interactive nature experience park for the entire family.
Discover the different elements! Check in at the entrance to the exhibition with your boarding card and ... fly alongside your Zwin migratory bird. Besides experiencing an exciting journey full of adventure and surprise, you will learn a great deal about the fascinating world of birds. Among other things you will find out how they fly accurately and how they prepare for their long migratory journey. And why every year thousands of birds land in the Zwin, plus lots more besides.
You will never get closer to nature as you will do in the Zwin Nature Park. The park’s cabin trail will guide you through numerous exciting points or huts: A feeding hut from where you can admire the birds from a very short distance or the story hut, where our birds are ringed and several presentations are given. Fly alongside your Zwin migratory bird. Besides experiencing an exciting journey full of adventure and surprise, you will learn a great deal about the fascinating world of birds.
Aslo be sure to make time go up to panorama tower. From here you have a wonderful vantage point to embrace the beauty of the Zwin Plain, the Zwin dunes and polders and even the sea! http://www.zwin.be/en/discover-park
The For Freedom Museum shows the bleak times of the Second World War in a dazzling, realistic way. No single inhabitant of the Zwin region and western Zeeland Flanders was spared hardship and repression between 1940 and 1944. This black period in our history forms the main theme of the museum.
True-to-life dioramas (goggle-boxes) immerse you in the regional history from 10 May 1940 to 3 November 1944, the day that the thundering guns finally grew silent in the Zwin region.
The museum houses three impressive collections. Patrick Tierssoone and Freddy Jones, two old school friends with a passion for history, make available their unique collections of original vehicles and uniforms. The Belgian Aviation History Association (Bahaat), a recognised association of aviation archaeologists, is the third partner with an imposing exhibition of excavated aircraft remains. https://www.myknokke-heist.be/en/freedom-museum
Knokke Casino is a seafront casino in the town of Knokke, in the administrative community Knokke-Heist, in the province of West Flanders in Flanders, Belgium.
Enjoy spending time a room with slot machines you will find a wide selection of traditional roll machines and contemporary video machines. With blackjack you play against the dealer and the aim is to achieve a score as close as possible to 21. With roulette it is about predicting the winning number. The number where the bullet falls after turning the cylinder wins.
Also Napoleon Games Grand Casino has several rooms and is therefore extremely suitable for company, dance and wedding parties, anniversaries and seminars. https://www.grandcasinoknokke.be/nl/
Discover in the visitors centre the fascinating and tumultuous history of 2000 years Zwin region: the reclamation of the polders, the unique scale model of the port town of Sluis arround 1400, wars in the region, the emergence of the villages of Duinbergen and Het Zoute, the development of tourism.
Children love Fonske and his wonderful stories. Fonske is the son of a fisherman and lives in the museum. He’s really good at telling visitors about life on board a fishing vessel or how to catch shrimp. A visit to Fonske’s attic is highly recommended. Make a fort with puzzle pieces or dive into his dress up trunk and step out as a bold pirate.
In the old school building (1899) you can immerse yourself in the hard life of the fishermen and their families. Taste the particular people's culture. Take a seat on the school desks. https://www.myknokke-heist.be/en/museum-zwin-region-sincfala
Located at the foot of the Atomium, Mini-Europe is the only park where you can have a whistle-stop tour of Europe in a few short hours. A truly unique journey! Enjoy a stroll taking in the typical atmosphere of the most beautiful towns of the old Continent.
The incomparable chimes of Big Ben welcome you to the heart of London. The gondolas and mandolins invite you to discover the charms of Venice. Follow the TGV high-speed train from Paris to the other end of France. You can make the models work yourself: the eruption of Vesuvius, the fall of the Berlin Wall, a bull-fight in Seville, the take off of the Ariane spaceship and many others. All in all, 350 models and sites with an unequalled level of craftsmanship. Visit also the European area, packed with interactive multimedia games and the exhibition. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Mini-Europe
Unavoidable icon of Brussels en Belgium, important place for international tourism, unique creation in the history of architecture and emblematic vestige of the World fair in Brussels, the Atomium is today the most popular tourist attraction of Europe’s Capital.
The Atomium was constructed for the first post-war universal world exhibition (EXPO 58) The nine spheres represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. They represent the faith one had in the power of science and moreover in nuclear power. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Atomium
Near the Basilica, the Belgian Chocolate Village is one of the largest museums dedicated to chocolate. The scenographic tour displays and explains the stages of the manufacture of chocolate, its uses, its history, its benefits, its economy and its diversity. It appeals to all the visitor’s senses while a tropical greenhouse reproduces the conditions of cocoa cultivation. Thanks to the chocolate workshop integrated in the museum tour you experience the daily work of the artisan chocolate makers who let you taste their last creations. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Belgian-Chocolate-Village
The Forest and Waters Museum is located in the Domaine de Bérinzenne in Spa. Come and discover the many secrets of the fauna and flora of the Fagnes.
Through murals, stuffed animals, interactive modules and its cheerful mascot, the Musée de la Forêt et des Eaux offers a real immersion in the enchanting natural world of the Spa region.
Wander from one room to another and listen to birds singing, streams flowing, observe wild animals and learn about the famous Spa water and forestry.
A new theme is chosen every year, inspiring an exhibition and an adventure: a treasure hunt for children to make the most of the site. The museum is nestled at the heart of the Domaine de Bérinzenne, the perfect start for walks in the Fagne regio and home for the CRIE de Spa welcome centre. http://walloniabelgiumtourism.co.uk/en-gb/content/musee-de-la-foret-et-des-eaux-domaine-de-berinzenne
The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels. All over the world it is known for its decorative and aesthetic wealth. The Grand-Place is surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi.
The Grand-Place is considered as one of the most beautiful places of the world. The Grand-Place of Brussels was registered on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 1998.
Nowadays, numerous festive or cultural events are organized on the Grand-Place: the Flower carpet (77 x 24m, event organized every 2 years in mid-August and with more than 500.000 begonias; the Ommegang which commemorates the tribute created in 1549 during the coming of Charles the Fifth in Brussels to present it his son, the future Philippe II; the Christmas tree; the daily flower market; the procession of the Meyboom and concerts. https://www.brussels.be/grand-place-brussels
The Belgian Comic Strip Center has been honouring the creators and heroes of the 9th Art for more than 25 years.
The regularly renewed permanent exhibitions and a diversified programme of temporary exhibitions enable visitors to discover the countless aspects of comics art. Tintin and the Smurfs lead the way towards further adventures, an encounter with a world where creativity has no limits.
Enhanced by an exceptional Art Nouveau home designed by Victor Horta, the Belgian Comic Strip Center is just as much a tribute to the pioneers as a glimpse of contemporary comics art. https://visit.brussels/en/place/The-Belgian-Comic-Strip-Center
As the name suggests, the Kuipers Guild used to be located in the Kuiperspoort. It is a beautiful courtyard that you pass if you don't pay attention. The Kuiperspoort can be found between the Dam and the Rouaanse Kaai. The houses there are mainly from the second half of the sixteenth century. In the first half of the seventeenth century, the courtyard was bought by the Kuipersgilde. Several companies are now located in the former Kuiper houses, including the Walcheren art education foundation, where various painting and drawing lessons can be taken. https://www.vvvzeeland.nl/en/kuiperspoort-oid187140/
You can't miss it, right in the beautiful historic center of Middelburg. Here, the imposing Abbey Tower de Lange Jan rises proudly above the many monuments in Middelburg. You should not miss the climb.
It takes a bit of climbing, 207 steps to be precise, but the view is worth this effort. The tower of the Lange Jan is 90.5 meters long (belongs to the top 10 tallest towers in the Netherlands). On clear days you can even see the surrounding Zeeland islands from the Lange Jan. http://www.langejanmiddelburg.nl/
The Zeeuws Museum, a special museum focusing on the history of Zeeland, is located in the beautiful old abbey in the city center of Middelburg. Admire historic wall tapestries, beautiful regional costumes, and special finds from Zeeland.
The collection of wall tapestries of the Provincial-Executive of Zeeland is the pride of the Zeeuws Museum. The provincial government of Zeeland commissioned a wall tapestry depicting the battle of Bergen op Zoom in 1591. When the tapestry was completed four years later, the Provincial-Executive of the province of Zeeland decided to commission more tapestries depicting naval battles in Zeeland. After a number of relocations during and after WWII, the tapestries have now been reunited at the Abbey of Middelburg. https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/destinations/provinces/zeeland/zeeuws-museum-14.htm
This 20-hectare park, which is Schaerbeek’s green lung, is a place for relaxation which is steeped in history and culture. It is arranged into three sections: the historical park, the great lawns and the playground area.
A spot praised by writers and artists, a refuge for botanists and ornithologists, the park also has a collection of sculptures, as well as areas set aside for sporting activities and young people. In July and August, free concerts are organised. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Josaphat-Park_236207
Visit The Ruien, a truly unique attraction, and walk through Antwerp's former canals and sewers. During this adventurous and astonishing underground walk you'll discover some of Antwerp's exciting and rich history.
Sewers, streams and ramparts have criss-crossed the city since the Middle Ages. This network of waterways provided Antwerp with drinking water and an inland port. Later, the waterways served as sewers. They were eventually covered with vaulted ceilings. This unique piece of heritage disappeared from view.
Now you can rediscover this hidden patrimony. A visit to The Ruien is a walk along old vaulted ceilings, narrow canals, bridges, sewers and sluices. You'll get a peak at the underbelly of the city and hear secretive anecdotes and fascinating facts from the distant and recent past. https://www.visitantwerpen.be/en/sightseeing/ruien
The secret Vlaeykensgang alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time.
In the past this alley was where the shoemakers and the poorest people in the city lived. The shoemakers were also in charge of sounding the alarm bell of the cathedral. These days you can find antiques stores and art galleries here as well as the exclusive restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The atmosphere is very intimate which is why many people also like to come here to listen to the carillon concerts during the summertime. https://www.visitantwerpen.be/en/sightseeing/vlaeykensgang
The Horta Museum is established in the private house and studio of the famous architect, Victor Horta (1861 - 1947). Built between 1898 and 1901, the two buildings are characteristic of Art Nouveau at its peak. The house has kept intact most of its interior decors: mosaics, stained-glass windows, furniture, paintings and murals form a collection whose every detail evokes harmony and sophistication. The museum is also a centre for research into Victor Horta and Art Nouveau. The architect's personal archives, a collection of blueprints for his buildings and a library are open to the public by arrangement. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Museum-Horta
Grote Markt originally was a forum or square just outside the medieval residential quarter. In 1220 Duke Henry I of Brabant (1165-1235) donated this community land to the city.
The name Merckt was used for the first time in 1310.
Around this time the first annual markets or foren van Brabant (Brabant fairs) were organised. Here English merchants would do business with Italians, Spaniards and merchants from the Northern German Hanseatic cities as well as from Southern Germany and Flemings of course. At the end of the fifteenth century Antwerp overtook Bruges as the most prominent city of the Low Countries. https://www.visitantwerpen.be/en/sightseeing/grote-markt
The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens. Now, after twenty years, the seven-naved church has been restored to its former architectural glory. Fascinating features include Rubens’ ‘Elevation of the Cross’ and his ‘Descent from the Cross’.
After 169 years of construction the cathedral of Antwerp finally dominated Antwerp's skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 metres. It's the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries.
Any visit to Antwerp starts with a visit of the Cathedral of Our Lady! https://www.visitantwerpen.be/en/sightseeing/cathedral-of-our-lady
The Botanical Garden along Leopoldstraat is a unique green haven in the city centre.
It is a world in one garden, exceptional trees and shrubs, 2000 herbs, cactuses and foreign plants will inspire the plant fundi. Built almost 200 years ago, it grew only medicinal plants to supply the St Elisabeth’s hospital next door. The city has managed the garden since 1926 and in 1950 the Botanical Garden was listed as a valuable landscape for the city of Antwerp and its inhabitants. Indeed it is not to be missed! https://www.visitantwerpen.be/en/parken-en/botanical-garden
How do you go about explaining how the European Parliament works, in a simple and sexy way? The Parlamentarium takes on the challenge with interactive tools such as a 360° digital film, role playing for school children and an interactive floor map. The Parlamentarium is open every day, visits are completely free and can be experienced in no less than 24 European languages. Suitable for individual visitors, schools and families.
The ins and outs of how the European Parliament works, how European unification came about and how Members of the European Parliament address todays challenges are explained in an easy and accessible way in what is the largest parliamentary visitors’ centre in Europe. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Parlamentarium
In the heart of Antwerp is the home of Peter Paul Rubens, the famous 16th-17th--century Baroque painter. For four hundred years, he and his work have been a source of inspiration and a reference. And to think that he created the bulk of his work in this house.
Rubens was a fan of Rafael’s, the Italian painter. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in 1610, just as his idol, Rubens designed his own city palace. Near the Meir, which has always been a sought-after part of the city.
This is the house where Rubens created his masterpieces, his children played in the garden and he received his high, noble and even royal guests. And in the meantime, a team were working hard on his paintings in the studio. At his peak, Rubens could not cope alone and led a team of professional artists. https://www.visitantwerpen.be/en/sightseeing/the-rubens-house
The Europa building is one of the most recent and magnificent examples of contemporary architecture in Brussels. The enormous cube is made up of 3 750 restored window frames and contains a glass lantern that, at night, is beautifully lit up by 374 LED tubes. This ‘House of the European Member States’, with its multicoloured interior, is the main seat of the European Council and of the Council of the EU, and is where meetings between EU ministers and heads of government are now held.
Philippe Samyn, the Europa building’s lead architect, sees it as the expression of a number of the values espoused by the EU. The façade thus consists of window frames from every EU country which signify both the diversity and the craftsmanship of every Member State, as well as the desire to promote sustainability. Thanks to the collection of rainwater, the use of solar panels across the whole area on the top of the building, and the optimised façade structure, the Europa building has been awarded the Valideo environmental certificate. The interior lantern, built in a shape that was necessary to avoid too much pressure being exerted on the ground and the underground metro tunnels, mainly contains meeting rooms and a large press room and press area. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Council-Europa-building