The birthplace of today's harbour

Where our harbour was born

There are many ways to compare the size of harbours, whichever way you choose, Antwerp plays a major role in the economy of Western Europe. During this walk we’ll take you to where this all started.

The oldest docks go back to the start of the 19th century. It is Napoleon who, out of sight of the English, had them dug out to build a fleet which was to conquer England.  These plans stranded n Waterloo. King William I immediately transformed the docks to function in a commercial way and ever since the harbour has been expanding.

Today our harbour has more than 60 km of quays. Far too much to cover in a single walk, so we’ll stick to the environment of the oldest docks.

Highlights of the walk

  • the MAS (Museum along the Stream)
  • the Red Star Line Museum (from here more than 2 million people left Europe to find a new destination in the US and Canada)
  • the Felixwarehouse (the largest storehouse in the district, completely restored, and now the seat of the city archives)
  • the developments in the Cadix district
  • the new Harbour House, designed by world famous architect Zaha Hadid

Sauces available for this walk

If you wish, you can, without extra charges, have the walk brought to taste with a sauce, through which a particular theme is put in the spotlight.

You will find a description of the sauces available underneath. Of course, it is up to you to opt for a walk without an extra spotlight.

A story in stone

In the course of the 20th century the old docks either got too small, or the ships became too large, who knows. Anyway: the area was deserted and started to deteriorate. With the advent of the MAS and Red Star Line museums, the neighbourhood started flourishing and at present huge projects to create apartements for thousands of people are in full development.

Present and past

ordering the docks one can still see many first class examples of warehouses. Today they have received a new function and the old buildings are alive again. Inside of them you will find restaurants, the town’s archives, fashion workshops, …

And on the water you won’t find naval ships or cargo ships anymore, but a great many yachts, some a bit more exclusive than others.

Local people

Once this area belonged to the dockworkers. Some of the buildings still remind us of this period. The Eilandje (small island) is also the neighbourhood where Eugeen Van Mieghem grew up. As a painter, he portrayed harbour life as no other did. Some sculptures were made after his paintings, and they now adorn the quays.

Fancy More?

The basic walk takes about 2 hours, without a pause. If you want to spend more time in this fascinating environment, we have a number of desserts or extra options available.

  • A visit to the MAS boulevard with a magnificent view over city, stream and harbour
  • A walk to the new Harbour House or to the beautiful Parkbridge
  • A visit to the brewery of the Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie, the creators of the local Seefbier

A La Carte

Would you like more information? Do you want to eat something with the group before or after the tour?

We’d gladly work out a suggestion for you.