Things to see in Antwerp

Tourist offices

Toerisme Antwerpen

Grote Markt 13, Antwerp, 2018, Belgium
Tel: +32 3 232 0103.
Opening Hours:

Mon-Sat 0900-1745, Sun 0900-1645.


www.visitantwerpen.be

Passes

The Antwerp City Card (www.visitantwerpen.be/bze.net?id=BZE_CITYCARD) offers free admission to 16 museums and three churches, along with a host of other discounts, including free transport across the city. Passes are available for 24-, 48- or 72-hours.

Diamantpaviljoen aan het MAS (Diamond Pavilion at the MAS)

Antwerp has long been entwined in the romance of diamonds, with the city controlling much of the rough and polished diamond market. The excellent Diamond Museum is currently closed until its rehoused in a new building near the Grote Markt. Until it reopens, you can get a glimpse of the collection by visiting its temporary home at the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS).

Opening Times: Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct); Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1700 (Nov-Mar).
Admission Fees: No.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 476 861 333.
Grote Markt (Main Market Square)

At the heart of Antwerp’s Old Town is the magnificent Grote Markt, arguably the city’s biggest drawing card. In summer, this cobbled square throngs with tourists, who come to see the imposing Renaissance-style Town Hall, flanked on both sides by a row of 16th-century guild houses. An unfeasibly large water feature dominates the centre of the square. Dubbed the Statue of Brabo and the Giant’s Hand, it was erected in 1887 and depicts the legend of Antwerp. It’s all overlooked by the tallest gothic church in Europe, the Cathedral of Our Lady.

Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom)

Since opening in 2011, the MAS (Museum on the River) has transformed this once neglected dockside into a thriving arts district. A feat of modern architecture in itself, it is home to some of the city’s most extraordinary exhibitions and a Michelin-starred restaurant.  Constructed of red stone and curved glass, this gargantuan building dominates the area and takes visitors on an entertaining and interactive journey through Antwerp’s colourful history.

Opening Times: Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct); Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1700 (Nov-Mar).
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 3 338 4434.
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady)

Described as 'lacework in stone', the largest gothic cathedral in the Low Countries (and still Europe's tallest gothic church) was completed in 1521 and is adorned by Rubens masterpieces of which the Raising of the Cross and the Descent from the Cross are the best known. It has become the symbol of Antwerp and is a stunning sight by night when floodlit.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat 1000-1500, Sun 1300-1600.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 3 213 9951.
Plantin-Moretus Museum

Probably Antwerp's most unexpected visitor attraction, this fascinating 16th-century patrician house is home to the world’s first industrial printing works. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this museum reaches far beyond the history of publishing to portray the birth of a whole new technology and the lifestyle of the city in its Golden Age.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: Yes
Telephone: +32 3 221 1450.
Middelheim Museum

This stunning open air art gallery is well worth the bus ride from the city centre. Visitors can wander around the leafy park spotting a quirky collection of 400 sculptures, which include a sausage massacre, a bendy boat and a series of eerie statues lurking in the woods. The museum fuses contemporary art with more traditional works from artists such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Rik Wouters.

Opening Times: Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (Oct-Mar); Tues-Sun1000-1900 (Apr and Sep); Tues-Sun 1000-2000 (May and Aug); Tues-Sun 1000-2100 (Jun-Jul).
Admission Fees: No.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: + 32 3 288 3360.
Mode Museum/MoMu (Fashion Museum)

Antwerp is a city at the cutting edge of fashion, so it seems apt that it should have a museum dedicated to this international obsession. In addition to MoMu’s permanent collection of clothing, lace, embroidery, fabrics and artisans' tools, the museum hosts two themed exhibitions every year to reflect the current trends.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 3 470 2770.
Rubenshuis (Rubens' House)

The former residence of Sir Peter Paul Rubens is now a museum dedicated to the legendary baroque painter, who lived and worked here from 1610 until his death in 1640. As well as a small exhibition of his works (which include Adam and Eve in Paradise, Henry IV in the Battle for Pairs and Self Portrait) the museum displays some of Rubens’ personal possessions and objects d’art. Visitors can also admire the impressive Flemish-Italian Renaissance garden, which he also designed.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 3 201 1555.
Ruien (Antwerp Canals)

Don your wellies and waterproofs because this museum takes you into the damp recesses of Antwerp’s underground canal system. Guides take visitors on tours around this eerie 1.6km (1 mile) network, educating them about the city’s heritage while providing an alternative vantage point from which to view Antwerp. Places must be booked three weeks in advance via the tourist office.

Opening Times: Guided walks Thu-Mon 1100 and 1400.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 3 232 0103.
Antwerp Zoo

Built in 1843, Antwerp's Zoo is one of the oldest and most famous wildlife parks in the world, housing over 6,000 animals from 750 different species. Not only is the zoo renowned for its diverse range of inhabitants, but it has also forged a reputation for scientific research and breeding programmes. Allow half a day to visit.

Opening Times: Daily from 1000 (closing time varies 1645-1900 depending on season).
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 3 202 4540.
MUHKA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Antwerp)

Housed in a converted grain store, the MUHKA boasts over 4,000sq m (43,055sq ft) of exhibition space, which is used to display a vast collection of art from 1970 to present day. The works come courtesy of Belgian artists, as well as a host of international painters and sculptors, and are enhanced by a range of fascinating temporary exhibitions.

Opening Times: Tue-Wed 1100-1800, Thu 1100-2100 Fri-Sun 1100-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 3 260 9999.
Royal Museum of Fine Arts collection at MAS

Antwerp's Royal Museum of Fine Arts is home to a collection fit to grace any world capital, spanning 600 years from the 14th century to the present day. Unfortunately, it’s currently closed for an epic renovation and won’t reopen until 2018. Until then some of the museum’s works are being temporarily displayed at the Cathedral of our Lady and the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS).

Opening Times: Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct); Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1700 (Nov-Mar).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Telephone: +32 476 861 333.
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