Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Antwerp, Antwerpen, Anvers
One of the highlights of our trip to Belgium was two days in Antwerp. I could spend a lot of time describing the city and its sights, but I won't. However, I do want to include some photos of its main square, and the statue that refers to the unusual legend that supposedly gave the town its name, as well as some of the buildings that surround it.Antwerp is known for its focus on the arts and design. One of my favourite buildings was the train station. I had never seen it, but read about it in one of my book club selections...Austerlitz. The station, built by King Leopold II is considered one of the 10 most impressive train stations in the world. I would like to see the others if they are anything like this one.Along the riverfront, many areas are being redeveloped with some striking new buildings. This was just one of the many architecturally adventurous buildings being built in the area.We spent a lot of time visiting some of the many art museums. They are impressive, both for the works, but also the quality of the galleries themselves. As I wandered around the velvet covered rooms of one museum, I could not help but compare it with the VAG.Antwerp is a major port city, and a centre of commerce. It is also famous as the centre of the world's diamond trade. One of the remarkable things about this industry is its predominance of Chassidic Jews. One interesting aspect of their involvement in the business is the importance of trust, rather than written legal agreements. I was surprised to learn that approximately 10% of Antwerp's population is Jewish. But do you think i could find a decent delicatessen?