ANTWERP | Groenplaats to become green again 

The Hilton.

The GroenplaatsGreen Square – in Antwerp in to become green again. The City of Antwerp has presented its plans for the future for this major space in the historic centre.

Currently, the Green Square is more a ‘Beige Square’ or ‘Grey Square’. A change was in the air for a while.

History

At least since the 13th century, the south side of the Cathedral of Our Lady served as an Antwerp cemetery, for the poorer residents who could not afford to be buried in the church itself. The cemetery was a part of the allodial land owned by the Cathedral chapter without any feudal obligations. In 1784, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II of Austria forbade the burial of deceased within the city walls

In 1795, the grounds of the cathedral, were claimed by the French. A few years later, in 1799, the walls around it were demolished. Construction of the Place de l’Égalité (Equality Square) began in 1803. The houses located in the area were demolished and three rows of lime trees were planted. 

In 1805 it was solemnly inaugurated as Place Bonaparte (Bonaparte Square) in honor of Emperor Napoleon I of France, and retained that name until 1815.

Between 1819 and 1877 the Court of First Instance resided in the south of the Cathedral grounds, a site currently situated by the Post Office.

In 1885, in the building in which the current Hilton hotel is located, Frenchman Adolphe Kileman started a department store, named the Grand Bazar du Bon Marché

Future

The Groenplaats will be given a new, contemporary, climate-robust and future-oriented design, the City of Antwerp says. “In this way, the square again lives up to its name and it becomes a real meeting place for Antwerp residents. The plans for the new Groenplaats, both for the square and the subsurface with the premetro, are ambitious. In the past, more than 1800 Antwerp residents indicated during a participation round that they consider catering or terraces, accommodation and major events important for the Groenplaats.” 

They will therefore be able to fully recover after the reconstruction. Green space above ground the plans for the square, the Eiermarkt (Egg Market) and the Beddenstraat (Beds Street) determine the location of the trees, catering terraces, benches, loading and unloading zones and passages for the fire brigade. They respond to the new climate challenges for greenery and water and shape the connection with the surrounding streets and buildings. 

Eeiermarkt and Beddenstraat 

The Eiermarkt and the Beddenstraat will be redeveloped from facade to facade with large trees and seats for passers-by and visitors. 

New trees for the square 

The Groenplaats itself will receive ew trees: a double row of trees in a rectangle gives the square a new green volume. 

The square will once again live up to its name. Rubens retains its place centrally and everyone can have a pleasant stay or still enjoy events. Along the rows of trees, towards the facades, there is space for the terraces of the many catering establishments, passage, and routes for emergency services and deliveries. 

The double row of trees also provides shade and cooling. The corners of the square will have future trees, so that the greenery on the square will also be visible from the surrounding streets. 

Future trees are free-standing trees that are given plenty of room to grow and thus give a place allure and character. 

Heritage in the spotlight and space for catering and events 

The Cathedral of Our Lady, the protected historic facades and the statue of Peter Paul Rubens continue to define the image of Groenplaats. 

There is also sufficient space for terraces and events. 

Statue of Peter Paul Rubens.

Smart City Groenplaats 

A lot will be invested in climate measures at Groenplaats, although these are often hidden underground. With the help of the latest technologies, the smart solutions for those interventions are nevertheless made visible. 

Other changes

  • The taxi ranks will be distributed in the area. 
  • The food stands and the tourist tram will be given a new location on the south side of the square. 
  • The turning loop of the tram disappears. 
  • The access pavilions to the car park, the entrance to the Eiermarkt car park, the kiosk and the existing trees will also disappear. 

Underground

The sewage system under the square will be renewed and laid out in a separate system. In addition, the rainwater from the square and the surrounding roofs is collected. A large underground water buffer provides extra storage capacity during heavy rainfall to avoid flooding. 

To give the roots of the new trees room and to provide them with sufficient water and nutrients, a well thought-out system of underground growth pockets has been developed. In order to provide them with water, they will be connected to the new rainwater buffer.

This allows them to grow into large, healthy trees. 

Connection square – surface 

In the middle of the square there will be a central entrance to the renovated premetro station. Via stairs, escalator or elevator you first enter the underground entrance hall. It is designed as a clear, light space with short walking lines, long sightlines, transparency and flowing accompanying walls. 

A place that connects the square, premetro, parking, bicycle shed and shopping center. In this way, the underground becomes a real extension of the square. 

New bicycle shed under the square 

The first floor of the underground car park is partly converted into a spacious bicycle shed with room for some 500bicycles , accessible via a new staircase with a slight slope and a bicycle gutter on the side of the Schoenmarkt. 

The parking garage and bicycle shed will have separate entrances to safely separate cars and cyclists. The current access to the car parking on the Nationalestraat will remain and the access to the Eiermarkt will disappear. This will create more space for pedestrians and cyclists between Eiermarkt and Groenplaats.

On the look of Antwerp

4 Comments Add yours

  1. elvira797mx says:

    Interesting and beautiful place! Thank you for share, Timothy.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Elvira

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timothy says:

      Thank you Elvira. Have a great day as well.

      Timothy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. elvira797mx says:

        You are welcome, Timothy.
        Thank’s! You too!
        Elvira

        Liked by 1 person

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