Last weekend, The Tall Ships Races once again came to Antwerp. Combined with the Bollekesfeest beer festival, it attracted huge crowds. The sailing event will return to Antwerp in 2026 and 2030.
Organiser Sail Training International (STI) named Antwerp the very first ‘Anchor Port‘ because of the mutual historical bond. This means that the city and STI are committed to coming to the River Scheldt again with the event, whereby the agreements for the next two editions have already been made. This agreement provides assurance to both parties that they can develop the event in a way that is beneficial to all stakeholders.
The international sailing competition is currently calling at Antwerp for the seventh time. After passages in 1993, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2016, 2022 will once again be a year in which hundreds of thousands of visitors come to marvel at the cathedrals of the sea.
Antwerp has the ambition to host The Tall Ships Races every four years in the future. Due to the long and intense historical link between The Tall Ships Races and Antwerp, STI, the City of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp-Bruges worked together developed the concept of an ‘Anchor Port’, which results in a win-win situation for all parties. In the case of Antwerp, this already applies for the next two editions, in 2026 and 2030. The idea of the Anchor Ports will be rolled out even further by STI to other successful host cities from the past.
Mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA): “Antwerp carries the cathedrals of the sea in its soul. Thanks to The Tall Ships Races, our rich maritime history flows effortlessly into the story of the second largest port in Europe of which our city can be really proud. I am particularly honored that Antwerp will become an Anchor Port for this wonderful event, which will also delight hundreds of thousands of spectators in the coming editions in 2026 and 2030.”
Harbour Alderman Annick De Ridder (N-VA): “This is very good news for all fans of The Tall Ships Races, but also for Antwerp. Because with this we can further restore the link between the Scheldt and Antwerp, but also put our maritime history and position as a world port in the spotlight. I am therefore delighted that the cathedrals of the sea and their crews will visit Antwerp again in 2026 and 2030.”
Alan James, CEO of Tall Ships Races International Ltd: “We are delighted to be launching our ‘Anchor Port’ program together with Antwerp. We have a long and fruitful partnership with the city and Port of Antwerp-Bruges in terms of events and look forward to continuing this in 2026 and 2030. Our shared principles of international friendship and mutual understanding, and youth development through sailing training, will help us improve the lives of young people, now and in the future. With its rich maritime heritage and connection to the oceans, Antwerp is perfectly positioned to continue developing The Tall Ships Races with us as a globally renowned event.”
Rich maritime history
“The arrival of The Tall Ships Races continues to highlight the rich maritime history and the intense bond between city and port. It also offers the city of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp-Bruges an excellent platform to show important innovations and sustainable initiatives”, a press release states.
“Most importantly, the Races have a crucial positive social impact: they promote mutual understanding between young people from different cultures and countries, and through sailing training, offer them personal development and experiences that they will carry with them for life. For example, after an inclusive selection, about a hundred Belgian young people also participate as members of the Antwerp Crew.”
By means of an ongoing sail training program in collaboration with maritime partners, the city of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp-Bruges commit themselves to make and keep the event visible, even in the years when the Races do not call in Antwerp as a stopping point.
The aim is to increase public support for Antwerp as a port city and the port of Antwerp.
2023 and 2024
In 2023, The Tall Ships Races sail to the Netherlands, Norway and England. In 2024 to Latvia, Finland, Estonia and Poland.
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