Antwerpen has a stunning number of industrial heritage sites and museums
which unfortunately we cannot all show to the participants due to a lack of time.

But maybe they can come earlier or spend some more days in the city
 

Antwerp, city on the Scheldt

 

What to see and visit in Antwerp ?

Of course there are the ‘traditional’ monuments and highlights as the Cathedral of Our Lady (buildings started in the 14th century and finished in 1518. The church has four works by Rubens, viz. "The Descent from the Cross", "The Elevation of the Cross", "The Resurrection of Christ" and "The Assumption") and St. James' Church with the tomb of Rubens.
But here we focus on the industrial heritage

                                    

  • The now most famous industrial building is of course the Antwerp Central Railway StationAntwerp Central Station - the railway Cathedral

The impressive iron hall with its three-hinge-trusses (185 m long, 64 m wide and 44 meter high) was designed by engineer Clemence Van Bogaertand realised by the "Compagnie Centrale de Construction SA." from Haine St.-Pierre. Its construction was finished in 1898,when the works of the main station building (designed by arcitect Delacenserie, 1894) started. The inauguration took place in 1905.
In the early 1970s the building was in poor situation, pieces of broken stone falling from its facade, and plans were made to demolish and replace it with something 'new and efficient, adapted to the needs of modern transport and travellers'. Fortunately - and against all protest and opposition - the main building was protected as a historic monument on 12.03.1975, the iron hall on 14.10.1976. Restoration started in 1986 and was finished in 1998, when the construction works for a 1200 m tunnel for high speed trains started, going under the station and the city. On March 27th 2007 everything was completed.
Once considered a burden, even a 'danger', then saved - it is now looked at with great pride by the city and the Belgian Railway Company
See:

Next to the station the Antwerp Zoo is situated - founded in 1843, it is home to more than 6,000 animals (about 769 species). One of the oldest zoos in the world, it is now renowned for its high level of research and conservation.


Boerentoren, Antwerpen The ‘Boerentoren’ (Farmers' Tower), a 26-storey building built in 1932, is the oldest skyscraper in Europe. He was constructed in Art Deco style between 1929 and 1932 and originally 87.5 m (287 ft) high - thus being the tallest building on the continent by roof height until in 1940 the Terrazza Martini Tower opened in Genoa, Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Port of Antwerp

The old docks - to become a centre for maritime heritage and history The port of Antwerp today is the seventeenth largest (by tonnage) port in the world and second only to Rotterdam in Europe.

The first evidence for the existence of the port of Antwerp dates from the 12th century, but main developments started in the 19th century when Napoleon built a first lock and dock, and after 1863 when the Belgian government was able to redeem the Dutch Toll in 1863.

 

see our page with information on the port of Antwerp and its heritage, some of which we will visit during the E-FAITH weekend

 


 


Museums

Antwerp is rich of museums - we only mention those who can interest industrial archaeologists

Next to the 'Zuiderpershuis' the M HKA - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Provincial Museum of Photography are situated - both housed in re-used harbour warehouses

 

M HKA - Museum of Contemporary Art

Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art - M HKA

 

 

In 1982 the Flemish Government decided to establish a museum of contemporary art in Antwerp, the M HKA, and on 20 June 1987 the museum was inaugurated.

The M HKA is housed in a converted and extended grain silo from 1926. The building had served as a warehouse until the port activities were discontinued as a result of filling in the Southern Docks in 1969 and was then used as a discotheque.
The conversion was entrusted to the Antwerp architect Michel Grandsard, who as a collector was known for his involvement in visual arts. The façade in art-deco style, the stairwell in the 'little tower', the many pillars in the central space which had to bear the weight of the grain and the reclining ceiling of the grain funnel (visible in the entrance hall) were preserved.

Provincial Museum of Photographythe Antwerp Museum of Photography

The famous  FotoMuseum (Museuml of Photography) of the Province of Antwerp is since 1986 housed in the former harbour warehouse 'Vlaanderen' ('Flanders') designed by the architect Hendrik Frans Van Dijk (1853-1939). It was built in 1911 using a reinforced concrete structure and a a striking brick facade.
The museum has a collection of more than
915.000 photos and negatives going back to the archives and library of the Association Belge de Photographie (°1874) and the historical archives and collections of the Gevaert, later Agfa-Gevaert photo company, completed with donations and purchases by the museum.
The collection moreover includes 23,000 objects and  photographic equipment , and is one of the leading collections in the world. They illustrate the evolution of photographic technology in all its aspects from the very beginning to now, from the camera obscura to the digital camera.

Nearby is also located the famous Plantin-Moretus Museum

Plantin-Moretus museum

The Plantin-Moretus Museum preserves the house and workshops of the printer Christoffel Plantijn and his successor Jan Moretus. Its name refers to the greatest printer-publisher of the second half of the 16th century, Christophe Plantin (c. 1520-1589), and his son-in-law, Jan Moretus I (1543-1610), who took over the best-equipped printing company in Europe upon Plantin’s death.
It is the only surviving printing workshop and publishing house in the world dating back to the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Now on the UNESCO World Heritage List

 

  • Museum aan de Stroom is situated north of the city centre, in the oldest part of the harbour
Museum aan de Stroom

 

The MAS, Museum aan de Stroom (Museum at the River)  is the new city museum opened five years ago. It is housed between the old Bonaparte and Willem docks in a 60 metres high building designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects - and from the top one has a unique panoramic view of the town and iots harbour. The collection consist of over 500,000 museum pieces, and  was created by combining several collections related to Antwerp's history that were scattered over the city, including those of of the Maritime, Flemish Folklore and Ethnographical Museums.
In permanent and temporary exhibitions the MAS tells the fascinating story of Antwerp and its harbour, from its growth during the Middles Ages over its Golden Age in the sixteenth century - when it was one of Europe's largest and most powerful cities - to today's modern metropolis.

 

At the beginning of July this year, the Euroports freight handling company transferred its old DE296 electric crane to the Rhine quay where it was set in its new place by the Brabo floating crane, a giant with a lifting capacity of 800 tonnes.

With 17 dock-mounted cranes and one floating crane the MAS Museum already had the largest collection of port cranes in the world. However it still did not have a D-series crane. This gap has now been filled, thanks to the Euroports donation. The new acquisition with a lifting capacity of 3 tonnes was built between 1928 and 1930 by Ateliers Métallurgiques de Nivelles.
The collection has representative examples of all crane series used in the port of Antwerp over the past 200 years, from a 19th-century metal hand-operated crane to hydraulic cranes and electric cranes.

- See more at: http://www.portofantwerp.com/en/news/port-cranes-focus#sthash.l9wvHyTK…

At the beginning of July this year, the Euroports freight handling company transferred its old DE296 electric crane to the Rhine quay where it was set in its new place by the Brabo floating crane, a giant with a lifting capacity of 800 tonnes.

With 17 dock-mounted cranes and one floating crane the MAS Museum already had the largest collection of port cranes in the world. However it still did not have a D-series crane. This gap has now been filled, thanks to the Euroports donation. The new acquisition with a lifting capacity of 3 tonnes was built between 1928 and 1930 by Ateliers Métallurgiques de Nivelles.
The collection has representative examples of all crane series used in the port of Antwerp over the past 200 years, from a 19th-century metal hand-operated crane to hydraulic cranes and electric cranes.

- See more at: http://www.portofantwerp.com/en/news/port-cranes-focus#sthash.l9wvHyTK…
With 17 dock-mounted cranes and one floating crane the MAS Museum already had the largest collection of port cranes in the world. However it still did not have a D-series crane. This gap has now been filled, thanks to the Euroports donation. The new acquisition with a lifting capacity of 3 tonnes was built between 1928 and 1930 by Ateliers Métallurgiques de Nivelles.
The collection has representative examples of all crane series used in the port of Antwerp over the past 200 years, from a 19th-century metal hand-operated crane to hydraulic cranes and electric cranes. - See more at: http://www.portofantwerp.com/en/news/port-cranes-focus#sthash.l9wvHyTK…
With 17 dock-mounted cranes and one floating crane the MAS Museum already had the largest collection of port cranes in the world. However it still did not have a D-series crane. This gap has now been filled, thanks to the Euroports donation. The new acquisition with a lifting capacity of 3 tonnes was built between 1928 and 1930 by Ateliers Métallurgiques de Nivelles.
The collection has representative examples of all crane series used in the port of Antwerp over the past 200 years, from a 19th-century metal hand-operated crane to hydraulic cranes and electric cranes. - See more at: http://www.portofantwerp.com/en/news/port-cranes-focus#sthash.l9wvHyTK…
The Museum aan de Stroom also keeps the largest collection of harbour cranes in Europe, 18 giant cranes, the oldest dating from 1907 and the youngest from 1963. Theye were built by 15 different renowned manufacturers from home and abroad, and demonstrate the rapid technological developments that took place in the port during the last century.
The all are protected monuments.

Antwerpen harbour cranes 1

 

Antwerpen harbour cranes 2

 

Antwerpen harbour cranes 3 Antwerpen harbour cranes 4


North of the MAS, in the harbour between the Scheldt and the Kattendijk-dock one finds the Red Star Line Museum

 

Red Star Line

In the Red Star Line Museum visitors can follow in the footsteps of the many emigrants who embarked here for a new life in the New World.

Between 1873 and 1934 the legendary Red Star Line carried more than two million passengers from Antwerp to the USA and Canada. The vast majority of them were emigrants from all over Europe who went in search of the “American dream.”

For a very large number of European migrants the crossing to the USA or Canada started in the Red Star terminal in Antwerp.
The museum is situated in the 1894 built Red Star Line terminal. The Red Star Line Museum teaches us to see the world migration - yesterday and today - from a new perspective.

Other interesting museums to mention are

  • Museum Vleeshuis (Butchers' Hall) is a fine Gothic brick-built building, originally used as a home for the Butchers Guild these days holding a splendid musical instrument collection (including some original Ruckers harpsichords).
  • The 'Rijn- en Binnenvaartmuseum' (Rhine and inland shipping barges museum) - a museum of and in three traditional canal and river barges moored in the Bonaparte dock next to the MAS. The museum has been set up and is run by a group of volunteers.

 

Where to find additional information on places to see and visit in Antwerp ?