Antwerp is a city of many strengths. Located on the Scheldt, it’s been a strategically important port for since medieval times, it’s the centre of the world’s diamond trade and has been the home of major historical artists like Rubens and Van Dyck. This is not to say that Antwerp has not continued to be relevant in the past centuries and decades. Big names in the art world are still proud to hail from this Flemish city – Luc Tuymans, Jan Fabre – and in terms of fashion, The Antwerp Six were arguably the most influential designers of the Eighties, with Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela still having an undeniably strong impact on fashion today.
As one of Western Europe’s top cities with a very high standard of life, Antwerp is an ideal mixture of creativity, culture and commerce. The trendsetting area Zuid has not lost its relevance over the years, and the busy shopping street Meir continues to draw crowds. Aficionados can find architectural art nouveau gems in the more residential Zurenborg area, gawk at the art deco KBC Tower in the centre, the Cathedral of Our Lady, the Museum of Fine Arts, and discover many more design highlights throughout the city. Where the docklands used to be, an area called Het Eilandje is fast becoming an urban hot spot with great eateries, galleries and bars gathered together, overlooking the boats in the marina. Antwerp is small but captivating, bustling yet with a sense of considered joie de vivre. Our advice: go everywhere.
The fabulous boutique Hotel Julien, with its mansion-house pedigree in the heartlands of old-town Antwerp, is a self-confessed curator of the arts, designer pieces, antiques and mid-century furnishings, which adorn the handsome salons and rooms in comfy elegance.read more