The Antwerp 'Nations'

Learn about the exciting history of these typical harbour companies

What are these nations?

When in the 15th century harbour activities in Antwerp started to grow, a system was developed for the workers that tightly fit the existing system of guilds and trades. To distinguish the old organizations from the new ones, they called the new ones ‘nations’.

When the harbour got new impulses in the 19th century, the nation was re-introduced, but with a different content. Different nations arose, having names that pointed at the goods being handled (Houtnatie – wood), the harbour the goods came from (Riganatie) or the site in town where the nation had its seat (Waagnatie).

In the mean time lots has changed in the harbour and the nations changed accordingly.

We would like to tell you this story as we pass places that remind us of the past of these nations.

A new book on the harbour

Danny Deckers has been living in and for the harbour for over 40 years. Nobody is better suited than he to write a book on what goes on inside this miraculous world of its own. Danny has a truly encyclopaedic knowlodge on how the harbour started, how it developed, where it is going and most of all: how the different jobs performed in the harbour link with one another to make the machine perform optimally.

The book in which Danny wants to share his knowledge and passion with us has over 400 pages filled with valuable information, and of course it is larded with a great number of anecdotes. In short, a book that must be present in every (Antwerp) bookcase, en we can help you get the book.

Anyone booking the Nations Walk, or a walk in the Old Harbour, can buy the book with a considerable reduction. In the bookshop the publication costs  € 49,50. We offer you a reduction of more than € 10. We only charge your € 39. It suffices to mention the number of copies you want to buy when you book the tour. Our guides will make sure you receive the books at the end of the walk.

We wish you a lot of fun, both while walking and while reading.

A basic 2 hour walk costs € 14 per person, with a minimum of € 140. The price for an extended walk (3 hours) is € 19 with a minimum of € 190. Groups of more than 20 participants will be divided over different guides.

Fancy More?

A nice continuation for this walk might be a visit to a typical Antwerp pub. A number of them still breathe the atmosphere of days gone by.


Our Nations Walk takes 2 hours without a pause. On the way there’s ample opportunity to have a short (drinking) pause if necessary.

The walk starts at Steenplein and ends at the MAS museum (Eilandje). If you want to, we can extend the walk to go to the new Havenhuis (no visit). The walk will then take 3 hours, including a short visit to the Antwerp Brewing Company.

Pay attention: the Brewery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The price per person is 14 € for groups of up to 20 persons. For your comfort and safety larger groups are divided over two or more guides. The minimum price for a booking is 140 € (10 persons). If you opt for the extended walk, the price is 20 € per person. One consumption is included in the Antwerp Brewing Company.

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.