ANTWERP | Brabo Fountain being restored

Today, Antwerp‘s real estate and patrimony agency AG Vespa starts restoration works at the rocks at the bottom of the bronze Brabo fountain on the Grote Markt, which will take approximately three months. 

That rocky outcrop needs some maintenance and by carrying out these works, the city wants to let Antwerp’s most famous statue continue to shine in all its glory.

The famous Brabo fountain on Antwerp’s Grote Markt consists of the imposing bronze statue of Brabo who, on top of several mermaids and the corpse of giant Antigoon, throws the giant’s hand towards the Scheldt river. The impressive rock formation at the bottom of the fountain is now undergoing a thorough restoration by AG Vespa.

During a preliminary investigation in 2020 and 2021, the structure and materials of the rocks at the bottom of the bronze statue of Brabo were analyzed. Based on those results, the restorers determined the working method and now they are effectively starting the necessary maintenance work. They repair damage to the rocks where possible, replace the joints and remove the dirt and debris in the various cavities.

Restoring the basement under the statue and waterproofing the paving stones is also on the schedule. After the restoration, the joints must harden for about four weeks. Only then can the fountain be restarted.

Alderman for Patrimony and chairman AG Vespa Annick De Ridder (N-VA): “The Scheldt is the lifeblood of our city. In order to be able to use the Scheldt freely as a port city, fierce battles have been fought several times in our rich history. But nobody did it as heroically as our eternal hero Brabo. The Roman legionnaire Silvius Brabo defeated giant Antigoon, but of course his statue does not stand the test of time. The rock formation of the sculpture by Jef Lambeaux that was inaugurated in 1887 must therefore be ‘handled’. By the end of June, Brabo will shine again and the fountain will splash again. Meanwhile, the wharf zone is decorated with wonderful visuals about the story of stories, our Antwerp origin myth. Long live Brabo!”

Brabo fountain.

Roman hero

In 1887, the bronze Brabo fountain by the Antwerp sculptor Jef Lambeaux was placed on the Grote Markt, exactly on the spot where a tree of liberty stood until 1882, the first of which was planted during the French occupation in 1794. The fountain has a typical 19th century pièce montée shape, reminiscent of a stepped wedding tail.

The Roman hero and tyrant slayer Brabo stands high above several mermaids and the corpse of the giant Antigoon. Brabo throws the hand of the dead giant into the Scheldt, and according to legend that is where the name of the city comes from: ‘hand throwing’ or in Dutch ‘hand werpen‘ which leads to Antwerpen.

According to others, the name Brabo lives on in Brabant, the area that the hero would have received as a reward for his deed. What certainly played a major role in the origin of the legend is the long-standing importance that Antwerp attaches to the Scheldt as a source of prosperity and trade.

Actual etymology

The name ‘Antwerp’ is believed to have originated from a combination of two Old Dutch words: “an” meaning “on” or “near”, and “werp” meaning “wharf” or “harbor”. This refers to the fact that the city is located on the banks of the river Scheldt, which was an important waterway for trade and commerce in the region.

The earliest known mention of the city’s name dates back to the 4th century, when it was referred to as ‘Andoverpis‘ by the Romans. Over time, the name evolved to Antverpia in Latin and Antwerpen in Dutch.

The city of Antwerp has a rich history as a major center for trade and commerce, particularly during the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. Its strategic location on the river Scheldt made it an important port for the shipping of goods to and from northern Europe. 

Today, Antwerp is still a major commercial and cultural center in Belgium, known for its diamond industry, fashion industry, and vibrant art scene.

On the look of Antwerp

16 Comments Add yours

  1. orededrum says:

    This is amazing !

    Liked by 1 person

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