Living in AntwerpIyna Bort Caruso
Antwerp, Belgium, is a city with an illustrious Golden Age history and great cultural significance thanks to Flemish masters like Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. Today, it has a trendy, avant-garde side that led one travel guide to name it one of the coolest cities in the world.
Antwerp has a notable fashion scene, a bike-friendly culture and an international character. Its 500,000 inhabitants represent 170 different nationalities. Dutch is the official language but French and English are often heard.
The city is located in the Flemish region of Belgium on the River Scheldt, which flows into the North Sea. Antwerp is well connected to the continent by sea, road, air and rail. High speed trains reach Brussels and its international airport in 30 minutes. Amsterdam is just over an hour away while Paris is reachable in just two hours.
The harbor complex is second only to Rotterdam in The Netherlands as the largest in Europe. The port has and continues to be a major commerce center. Today, it’s home to the largest petro-chemical cluster on the continent. Digital technology is a growth sector, supported by hundreds of incubator and accelerator initiatives. Twenty universities are within a two-hour drive producing an educated workforce. The diamond industry, however, is nearly synonymous with Antwerp’s international profile. Antwerp has stood at the center of the diamond trade for more than 500 years and remains the world capital of diamond processing, polishing and trading.
The city has its share of protected buildings including merchant homes that date back to the 1500s. The historic center features a trio of celebrated buildings, City Hall, Grote Markt (Great Market) and the hard-to-miss Cathedral of Our Lady.
The historic center is among the districts accented with green spaces, pretty squares and pedestrian-friendly zones.
Residential property buyers can find the classics and the post-modern, from magnificent Art Nouveau mansions to sustainably built residential towers with water views. Further afield are stately homes, country manors and golf club estates.