Antwerp (Dutch: Antwerpen, French: Anvers) is a city and a municipality in the province of Antwerp (and its capital), in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. On January 1st, 2004 Antwerp had a total population of 455,148 (222,395 males and 232,753 females). The total area is 204.51 population density of 2,225.51 inhabitants per kmē. The metropolitan area has a population of circa 800,000.
Antwerp is notable as a centre of the diamond industry, both for trading and for cutting and polishing. Antwerp is also famous for its seaport with a lot of cargo shipping. Since the 1990s it has been recognized as a fashion design city, namely because of some graduates of the Royal Academy of Fine arts - Fashion, became internationally successful.
The river Scheldt passes through Antwerp. Antwerp is one of the largest ports in the world, linked to the North Sea by the Scheldt and the Westerschelde.
Antwerp Stadhuis (Town Hall) in Grote Markt
Antwerp is also notable for its zoo, which is one of the oldest and most famous zoos in the world. The Antwerp Zoo is located in the middle of the city and hosts more than 4000 animals. The Royal Society for Zoology has been watching over the welfare of numerous animals and helping to protect threatened animals for more than 100 years.
Antwerp is nicknamed "The Jerusalem of the West" because of its large orthodox Jewish (hasidic) community.
In the Eighty Years' War on November 4, 1576, Spain captured the city and nearly destroyed it after three days.
The Cathedral of our Lady in the Handschoenmarkt, in the old part of Antwerp is the largest cathedral in the Low Countries and is home to a number of triptychs
by the Belgian painter, Rubens
. It remains the tallest building in the city.
During World War II the city was occupied by Germany and was liberated on September 4, 1944 when the British 11th Armored Division entered the city. After this, the Germans attempted to destroy the port of Antwerp, which was used by the Allies to bring new material ashore. The city was hit by more V-2 rockets than any other target during the entire war, but the attack did not succeed in destroying the port. However the city itself was severely damaged.
The city got its name from a legend involving a giant called Antigoon that lived near the river Scheldt. This giant exacted a toll from passers-by who wished to navigate the river. On refusal, the giant often severed one of their hands. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant's hand and threw it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen (in Flemish: hand werpen means hand throw). There's a statue of Brabo and the slain Antigoon on the Grote Markt in front of the town hall as can be seen on the picture of the Antwerp Stadhuis above.
Antwerp also hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics.
Antwerp is the city with the single-most Vlaams Blok (which recently changed its name to Vlaams Belang) voters in Belgium.
1575: around 100,000 inhabitants
1590: less than 40,000 inhabitants
1800: 45,500 inhabitants
The municipality comprises the city of Antwerp proper and several towns. So it can be divided into 9 entities:
- Antwerp (town)
- Hoboken Antwerpen
- Official website (http://en.antwerpen.be)
- Map (http://stadsplan.antwerpen.be/)
- Hotels (http://hotels.iib.co.uk/hotel/city/Belgium/Antwerp.html)
- Antwerp Zoo's official web site (http://www.zooantwerpen.be/), only available in Dutch and French
- http://www.use-it.be/antwerpen/eng/ Antwerp for youngsters
- http://sg.travel.yahoo.com/guide/europe/belgium/antwerp/ Yahoo Travel page