The next stop on our Belgium adventure was Antwerp.
After a couple of days in Brussels (if you haven’t read my Brussels blog post yet, take a look here) we hopped on the train and headed to Antwerp. The first thing to say about Antwerp is that the train station is stunning. As we came off the train there was a huge traffic jam of people as we all stopped to take a photo.
While studying fashion design at university we were told about the magical Antwerp Six. These were six super influential fashion designers that graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the 80s who had a huge impact on the avant-garde fashion world. Since hearing about them, I’ve wanted to go to Antwerp to soak up all the fashion-y goodness.
Unfortunately when we went the fashion museum was having a complete remodel and there were no fashion exhibitions on anywhere. However it was still fun to walk around all the fancy designer shops and peek through the windows.
Although we found no fashion exhibitions, we did visit the brilliant Plantin-Moretus museum. It’s a museum all about printing and it was totally fascinating! The museum is based in the building where the Plantin Press made all their works and it talks through the history of printing.
As well as being able to walk through the old printing studios, there were thousands of examples of their printed works. They made everything from maps, to bibles, to scientific textbooks. They also had a section about the history of different fonts which was super interesting to me having studied typography as part of my degree.
We spent so much longer there than we expected so if you ever visit Antwerp I would 100% recommend visiting the Plantin-Moretus museum (even if you’re not a printing nerd like me).
Another museum we visited was the MAS museum. I’m not going to lie to you, we went here more for the building than for the exhibitions.
The building itself is this crazy mix of styles. Plus if you can face a whole heap of escalators, the view from the top is one of the best in Antwerp.
Even better, it’s free to get to the viewing platform at the top! It’s super windy up there so hold on to your hat.
You also get a great view of these fab fellas climbing a building opposite the museum.
The old town
Speaking of architecture, the buildings in the old town are stunning. The whole main square is edged with beautiful buildings like this. Each one has different little features that represent what used to be made in them when they were first built.
The main square is also home to the famous Brabo fountain statue. The figure is throwing a giant’s hand which is the basis story of how Antwerp got its name. Don’t you just love folklore.
Mixed in with all this super old historic architecture there are little splashes of fun modern sculptures. My personal favourite was this guy. No explanation as to why it’s there but I love it.
After walking almost every single street over the three days we were there, we moved on to our next stop. Stay tuned for the next instalment of our Belgium adventure coming soon!