31 Facts About Antwerp


Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river's Westerschelde estuary.

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The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally.

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The Bourse of Antwerp, originally built in 1531 and re-built in 1872, was the world's first purpose-built commodity exchange.

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Inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific senor or French seigneur, "lord", referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century.

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Antwerp severed the hand of anyone who did not pay, and threw it in the river.

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Antwerp became a margraviate in 980, by the German emperor Otto II, a border province facing the County of Flanders.

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Antwerp was the headquarters of Edward III during his early negotiations with Jacob van Artevelde, and his son Lionel, the Duke of Clarence, was born there in 1338.

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Antwerp became the sugar capital of Europe, importing the raw commodity from Portuguese and Spanish plantations on both sides of the Atlantic, where it was grown by a mixture of free and forced labour, increasingly with enslaved Africans as the century progressed.

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London bankers were too small to operate on that scale, and Antwerp had a highly efficient bourse that itself attracted rich bankers from around Europe.

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Antwerp had a policy of toleration, which attracted a large crypto-Jewish community composed of migrants from Spain and Portugal.

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Antwerp experienced three booms during its golden age: the first based on the pepper market, a second launched by American silver coming from Seville, and a third boom, after the stabilising Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis in 1559, based on the textiles industry.

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Antwerp's banking was controlled for a generation by Genoa, and Amsterdam became the new trading centre.

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Antwerp was the first city to host the World Gymnastics Championships, in 1903.

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The Siege of Antwerp lasted for 11 days, but the city was taken after heavy fighting by the German Army, and the Belgians were forced to retreat westwards.

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Ten-Year Plan for the port of Antwerp expanded and modernized the port's infrastructure with national funding to build a set of canal docks.

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Antwerp has an extensive network of synagogues, shops, schools and organizations.

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Significant Hasidic movements in Antwerp include Pshevorsk, based in Antwerp, as well as branches of Satmar, Belz, Bobov, Ger, Skver, Klausenburg, Vizhnitz and several others.

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The majority live in Antwerp, mostly involved in the very lucrative diamond business.

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However, in recent years Antwerp has seen a downturn in the diamond business, with the industry shifting to cheaper labor markets such as Dubai or India.

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Antwerp is the focus of lines to the north to Essen and the Netherlands, east to Turnhout, south to Mechelen, Brussels and Charleroi, and southwest to Ghent and Ostend.

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Antwerp Central station is an architectural monument in itself, and is mentioned in W G Sebald's haunting novel Austerlitz.

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In September 2019 Air Antwerp began operations with their first route to London City Airport with old VLM Airlines Fokker 50's.

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Antwerp has an oceanic climate, with cool winters, warm summers and frequent, though light, precipitation throughout the year.

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Antwerp had an artistic reputation in the 17th century, based on its school of painting, which included Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, the Teniers and many others.

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Antwerp was designated as the World Book Capital for the year 2004 by UNESCO.

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Antwerp is a rising fashion city, and has produced designers such as the Antwerp Six.

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Antwerp is the home of the Antwerp Jazz Club, founded in 1938 and located on the square Grote Markt since 1994.

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Antwerp held the 1920 Summer Olympics, which were the first games after the First World War and the only ones to be held in Belgium.

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Year 2013, Antwerp was awarded the title of European Capital of Sport.

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Antwerp hosted the start of stage 3 of the 2015 Tour de France on 6 July 2015.

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The University of Antwerp was established in 2003, following the merger of the RUCA, UFSIA and UIA institutes.

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