- New furniture
Welcome back, this is chapter two. In the first, we explored our team’s suggestions within the charming and
historic inner city. This time, to make the most of your visit to Belgium’s dynamic capital of cool, we venture into our
favourite neighbourhoods that make up this compact city. Here, the sense of Antwerp is fully experienced as you
immerse into the unique culture that makes us feel so lucky to call this place home.
Wander through Antwerp’s
“Petit Paris” Het Zuid
If there’s one place both locals and visitors alike appreciate (almost) more than anything, it’s Het Zuid (The South). This trendy district, located south of the historic city centre and directly neighbouring the River Scheldt, is considered one of the most fashionable and chic districts in Antwerp. Entering Het Zuid from the city centre, you’ll be welcomed by wide, cobblestone, boulevards inspired by the Parisian Haussmann style.
KMSKA © Dave Van Laere
Leopold de Waelplaats © Mike Van Cleven
This is truly a place for art lovers to come together. The many museums and art galleries will leave you inspired, and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts is no exception. Currently, it is closed due to renovations, but meanwhile, make a stop to admire the outside of the distinctive building. Head to some of the alternative locations to get a glimpse of the impressive art collection, for instance in the Cathedral of Our Lady or the Rockox House.
Het Zuid has so much to offer, and when you’ve satisfied your hunger for art, check out one of the many chic restaurants located at Leopold de Waelplaats or Marnixplaats.
Cathedral of Our Lady
Explore The Little Island in the northern part of the city
Upon absorbing the wonderful sights of Antwerp’s “Petit Paris”, head to Scheldekaai and follow the water north towards Antwerp’s oldest port area. In recent years, this neighbourhood, surrounded by water, has made a comeback with luxurious new-builds and trendy hotspots awaiting your visit.
On the way, you’ll pass several more hallmark sites; St Anna’s Tunnel, an underground pedestrian tunnel running through the River Scheldt connecting the left and right bank, Zuiderterras, and Het Steen—the oldest building in Antwerp.
As you approach The Little Island, or Het Eilandje as the locals refer to it, you will capture the view of a deep red tower emerging in the distance. That’s the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), one of the city’s most recent showstoppers. Despite its young history, MAS has already become an inherent part of the city skyline, strengthening the connection between the city and the water. Inside the museum, discover various exhibitions, and from the rooftop, take a moment to enjoy the fantastic panoramic views.
Most of today’s port activity takes place further north of the city, and that’s also where Ethnicraft’s story began when founders Philippe Delaisse and Benoit Loos started to import one container every few months with furniture and interior accessories from Indonesia. Clients would wait at the Antwerp docks with a numbered ticket in their hand to buy that one special item they coveted.
While container ships and other vessels fill the port scene, one monumental construction steals the attention: Havenhuis, or the Port House. This recent architectural sensation was completed in 2016 and one of the last designs of the world-famous architect Zaha Hadid. On top of the existing 19th-century fire station floats a beautiful glass construction, reminiscent of a departing ship and a sparkling diamond, both characteristics of the city—and like the MAS, a symbol of the marriage between the city and the water.
Zurenborg © Onroerend Erfgoed BE
Cogels-Osylei © Onroerend Erfgoed BE
Immerse yourself in the grandeur and beauty of Zurenborg
In all corners, Antwerp boasts modern architecture. However, the city’s heritage always remains, and Cogels-Osylei is a testament to the merging of spectacular history and modern ways of life. Even when you think you’ve seen every bit of Antwerp’s impressive design portfolio, this beautiful street is the jewel in the crown, and you’ll see why.
Located in the lesser-known, but probably one of the most attractive parts of Antwerp, Cogels-Osylei in Zurenborg is an architectural phenomenon housing some of the 20thcentury Art Nouveau, neoclassical, Neo-Gothic and Tudor mansions.
Explore the streets and imagine how the Antwerp bourgeoisie once sauntered alongside these magnificent residences. Take your time to immerse yourself in the grandeur and beauty before ending your tour at Dôme, a French-inspired Michelin star restaurant nestled in a striking neo-Flemish Renaissance, Baroque-tinged, style building perfectly fitting with the surrounding neighbourhood.
With that said, we hope to have inspired you to discover this wonderful city, and provided the backdrop to Ethnicraft’s origin. Explore by foot or rent one of the characteristic red city ‘Velo’bikes, to easily get around. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming you soon!