From 22 to 25 July, the City of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp-Bruges will host The Tall Ships Races for the seventh time. A chance to step aboard the world’s largest sailing ships at Antwerp’s quays and docks, meet the crews, and immerse yourself in maritime-themed festivities.
On Friday 22 July 2022, the ships will stop in Antwerp, and you will know when they have, for the whole city will be infused with the maritime atmosphere. The programme will include dozens of historic ships that you can freely visit, a colourful parade of the ships’ crews, musical performances, a maritime market, fireworks, and much more.
The ships will be open for visitors at the quays or in the docks around the MAS and the Port House.
There will be a great many gems among them: Shabab Oman II and its crew always leave an impression, but also the Tarangini from India or the Dar Mlodziezy from Poland will leave visitors gasping in amazement. A fleet that will give the city extra allure.
Mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) says: “The Tall Ships Races brings the cathedrals from the sea to Antwerp and provides a unique encounter between history and present in the heart of our city. Together with many, I am looking forward to this wonderful event, where we can finally make Antwerp shine even more with a great fireworks display.”
About a hundred Belgian trainees take part in The Tall Ships Races, all between 15 and 25 years old, united in the Antwerp Crew. In addition, five ships race under the Belgian flag: the Rupel, Saeftinghe, Zenobe Gramme, Op Stok 3 and Patricia.
Alderman for the Harbour Annick De Ridder (N-VA): “We are all looking forward to the arrival of the most beautiful sailing ships in the world, which can be admired here in Antwerp from 22 to 25 July. These floating cathedrals bring city and port together in one big party. For too long we have lived with our backs to the Scheldt. From the Scheldt quays, the Kattendijkdok and the docks around the MAS, every Antwerp resident can enjoy this true feast for the eyes.”
A full programme
The decks of many class A and B ships are accessible free of charge on Friday from 12 noon to 6 PM and the rest of the weekend from 10 AM to 6 PM.
On Monday, the ships prepare for their departure and no visits on board are possible. The event squares at the Havenhuis and Het Steen will also be open to the public on Friday at 12 noon. On Saturday and Sunday they open every time from 10 AM. On Monday, you can still visit Steenplein from 10 AM to 3 PM.
The arrival of The Tall Ships Races goes hand in hand with some worth seeing traditions. For example, on Saturday there is the Crew Parade through the city.
Many crew members, dressed in their official uniforms, then depart from the Zuiderterras and parade via the Quays, past the MAS to the Port House. There the parade ends with an award ceremony.
On Saturday evening, fireworks will be set off in three different places, which will give a beautiful spectacle.
At the Hanzestedenplaats, at the MAS, visitors can visit Ecopolis all weekend. Here some of the partners involved in The Tall Ships Races, Lantis, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Orange, PSA and MSC, will present their innovative and sustainable realizations. On the Napoleonkaai there is a real Maritime Market, where you can find all kinds of stands with delicacies, trinkets, etc.
Ahoy, Antwerp crew!
On board the ships are thousands of young people from all over the world sailing from Esbjerg in Denmark to Harlingen in the Netherlands and from Antwerp to Aalborg in Denmark. One hundred young Belgians are participating as ‘The Antwerp Crew‘: they are learning to work together as well as how to sail. It is a setting where background, culture or religion play no role, but forging international friendships is central.
The Belgian youth team also includes ten participants with physical or mental disabilities and they receive assistance on board from supervisors and a coach is also available ashore. This way, everyone gets a fair chance to participate.
A sustainable edition
The organisation team is putting special emphasis on sustainability during the seventh edition of this event. The electricity used is completely green, purchased materials are produced locally and sustainably, and trees are being planted in Flanders to offset the event’s CO₂ emissions.
Cups and food trays are reusable, and the money will be returned or donated to River Cleanup, a non-profit organisation that removes rubbish from rivers.
This edition will again work with reloadable cards instead of tokens or vouchers. These cards are available free of charge and can be topped up at the cash registers, with cash or with a payment card. You can also top up your card yourself with Payconiq via your smartphone. Any remaining balance can be easily reclaimed after the event, until 9 August, via https://tallships.antwerpen.be/refund.
The Bollekesfeest is a beer fest named after the bolleke, a beer by Antwerp brewery De Koninck. Bolleke is actually the shape of the glass.
Except drinking beer, lots of beer, there are concerts on the Grote Markt.
At the Port House on Zaha Hadidplein, the party will start on Friday evening with a real I love the 90’s party where 2 Fabiola, 2 Unlimited and Sylver with DJ Wout set things upside down.
On Saturday there is something for everyone at Zaha Hadidplein, with the Break Free Queen Tribute Show, Cookies And Cream and Because Het Kan Soundsystem ft. Average Rob.
Sunday is family day with a performance by Captain Winokio for the little ones, as well as performances by Lady Linn, The Starlings, Les Truttes and finally Robert Falcon.
The ambiance is also assured on Steenplein, with an afterwork party by The Love Below on Friday and performances by DJ Papa Mojito, Eagl, Les Inconnus, Cream Colored Ponies and many others on Saturday and Sunday.
On Sunday, Radio Minerva provides a real tea dance, for everyone who likes to throw their legs loose.