D.A.T.E. 2017: Antwerp City Walk
After enjoying a healthy breakfast at HotelO Sud, Erik took the group to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, sat them down and sped through the history of the city in a couple of minutes to give them some background information. Erik went on and took them to a ship builder's house that also used to be an art gallery. While Erik was explaining the story of the old gallery, the group couldn’t help but to get their cameras out to take some pictures, as the building is built in the form of a ship.
Next stop was the Kloosterstraat, which its vintage clothing and furniture shops. Seven times a year, there’s a special market here where young designers can showcase their products: Tomorrow's Market ("De Markt van Morgen"). At the end of the Kloosterstraat we walked straight on to De Zwarte Panter ("The Black Panther") art gallery. This is actually the oldest art gallery in Flanders and still run by the original owner, Adriaan Van Raemdonck.
Inside the gallery, the group was taken by surprise. The gallery looks to be quite small when looking at it from the street, but inside it’s actually really large, with its courtyard and multiple buildings that even include an old chapel.
After leaving the Zwarte Panter, the group was still enjoying what they just saw, but the next hidden gem was already waiting for them around the corner. We entered the still medieval looking Vlaeykensgang and the group continued to be excited about what Antwerp had to offer. When we exited the Vlaeykensgang and walked towards the Hendrik Conscienceplein, Anna said that she and Søren (12hrs guide) “wrote a cityguide about Antwerp some years ago, and were excited to see how the city had changed in the meantime”.
At the Hendrik Conscienceplein, all sorts of movements gathered to protest during the seventies. The Carolus Borromeus Church, as well as the city library, are located on this square. Erik told the group about all sorts of protests that took place at the square and when we pressed on to our next location, Creative Boom's Tom May said that he “thought Antwerp was very special, because in most cities one or two of the buildings we’ve passed by would be touristic hotspots, but here there’s one around almost every corner”.
Next Erik took the group to see the Antwerp Academy and University, where he explained why Antwerp is such an arty, creative city. From Rubens and Breughel in the 16th and 17th century to the Antwerp 6 today.
Our last stop was at Wally’s Groove World. For a touch of really rad Antwerp history: the birth of New Beat. The thirteen guests couldn't resist diving into the record collection and we got a taste of the better New Beat. What better way to start a D.A.T.E. with Antwerp than with some good old hard beats, right?
Text by Yannick Jongejan
Pics by Niko Caignie