On 21 February 1221 Henry I, Duke of Brabant granted the City of Antwerp city rights or town privileges. The charter was more a confirmation of an already existing situation, but is still worth a commemoration. Hence, this year’s Open Monuments Day celebrates 800 years of Antwerp city rights.
More than 35 locations that have played an important role in 800 years of Antwerp open their doors to you. In a number of buildings there are guided tours, archaeologists take you on a journey through time or you can explore on your own.
If you opt for a few more kilometers, there are guided walks through the city. Don’t want to wait until Sunday 12 September? You can already book your visit and discover the locations and numerous historical photos in the digital brochure.
- Poldermuseum (Polder Museum).
- De Ruien (The Sewers).
- FelixArchief (Felix Archive).
- Berg van Barmartigheid (Mountain of Mercy).
- Museum Vleeshuis (Museum Butchers’ Hall).
- Sint-Fredeganduskerk (St. Fredagandus Church).
- Handelsbeurs (Bourse of Antwerp).
- Pastorie Sint-Fredegandus (St. Fredegandus Rectory).
- Havenkranen (Harbour cranes).
- Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Academy of Fine Arts).
- Stadhuis (City Hall).
- Museum Plantin-Moretus.
- Pieter Potkapel (Peter Pot Chapel).
- Kasteel Veltwijck (Veltwijck Manor).
- Kipdorpsite (Kipdorp site).
- Oud Gerechtshof (Old Palace of Justice).
- Opera Ballet van Vlaanderen (Opera House).
- VolXmuseum (Folk Museum).
- Hof van Liere (Liere Court).
- Zaal Harmonie (Harmony Hall).
- Museum Snijders & Rockoxhuis (Museum Snijders and Rockox House)
- Waterpoort (Watergate).
- Protestantse kerk: Brabantse Olijfberg (Protestant Church: Brabant Mount of Olives).
- Maagdenhuis (Maiden’s Hospice).
- Begraafpark Sint-Fredegandus (St. Fredegandus Cemetery).
- Kasteel Sorghvliet (Sorghvliet Manor).
- Rubenshuis (Rubens’ House).
- Districtshuis Borgerhout (Borgerhout District Hall).
- Keizersbastion (Imperial Bastion).
- Fort 8.
- Droogdokkensite (Dry Docks Site).
- Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience (Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library).
- Begraafplaats Van Heybeeckstraat (Van Heybeeck Street Cemetery).
- Zuiderpershuis (Southern Press House).
- Districtshuis Deurne (Deurne District Hall).
- Bourlaschouwburg (Bourla Theatre).
- Begijnhof en Sint-Catharinakerk (Beguinage and St. Catherine’s Church).
There are three guided tours which you can do and you must book in advance.
- ‘Zuid in beweging met Expeditie de Stad‘. “It was only when the 16th-century South Castle was demolished in 1874 that the South was able to emerge as a chic neighborhood for the bourgeoisie with bourgeois and mansions, a museum, a hippodrome, squares and boulevards. At the beginning of the 20th century, the South became a lively residential, harbor and entertainment district, with a harbor dock for inland shipping, warehouses and companies. After the Second World War, the harbor activity disappeared and the Antwerp-South Railway Station, the open-air swimming pool and the Hippodrome were demolished. In 1973 the Southern Docks became the largest square in the city, where the Pentecost Fair (Sinksenfoor) took place, among other things. Businesses and residents moved, the neighborhood lost its appeal. Until a lot of young people discovered the neighbourhood, bought a house for a small price and helped to revitalize the area. With the arrival of museums, galleries, the renovation of mansions and warehouses and a lot of new construction, living in the South is very exclusive today. ‘Expedition de Stad’ tells the story about working on the docks, the role of the press house, the water gate, the old and the new living and the future perspective with the construction of a completely new residential area New South.”
- ‘800 jaar ‘t Stad met Antwerpen à la Carte‘. “Long live the city. This beautiful spot on the Scheldt had been inhabited for some time: prehistoric hunters regularly shot their arrows, Celts and Romans sometimes bumped into each other and Gallo-Romans thought it was already a good life, but … in February 1221 it really happened: Antwerp received its city rights from the hands of the Duke of Brabant. Do you want to know where the cradle of this big baby was, how big she was at birth, who came up with the name and how she grew into Flanders‘ largest? Walk through the city with the guide for two hours and discover it. You start at the Steen, pass De Ruien, the Grand Marketsquare, the Hendrik Consciece Square, the Stadswaag and end at the old harbor and the MAS.”
- ‘800 jaar ’t Stad met Antwerpse stadsgidsen‘. “Where does the idea that Antwerp residents are ‘bold boasters’ come from? Why does the Antwerp resident still speak of ‘the one from across the water’? What the hell are they digging up at the Stone Castle? What will the renovated town hall look like and will the citizen be given a different place there? Privileges: what are they and are we so privileged? To what do we owe such a magnificent building as the Handelsbeurs? You will learn this and much more during the ‘800 years city of Antwerp’ walk. Together with the guide you start at the Steen, you stroll through the historic center, you walk (if possible) through the beautiful, recently renovated Handelsbeurs and you end at the town hall. It will be an exciting journey through the past and we end with a look at the future.”