Making a book in four days: we create, we invent, we never rest

Tagsart, community, design, future
  • this is antwerp
  • this is antwerp

Wanna go on a date in Antwerp? We’ve got some good news for you. ‘This is Antwerp’ presents its first book, born after the successful 5th anniversary edition of D.A.T.E.. Are you ready to Discover Antwerp Through Experience?

More than 20.000 people in Antwerp are active in the creative sector. And this creative abundance just had to be celebrated. For the fifth year in a row, This is Antwerp invited twelve creatives from around the world for a week-long creative bootcamp in Antwerp. Together with locals, they explored the best of what creative Antwerp has to offer. The result? An exclusive book filled with unique points of view on the city, far away from the beaten tracks. From architecture to art, infrastructure to design. In short: explore Antwerp at its best.

More than the Meir

“Many people visit Antwerp each weekend, but they come for the wrong reasons”, says Robin Cox, international participant of the D.A.T.E. project and founder of A City Made By People. “They come to shop at the Meir, to have dinner at the South. They don’t get to know the real Antwerp. In the D.A.T.E. book we tried to show what we felt Antwerp did look like.” An Eisendrath, This is Antwerp’s graphic designer, specifies: “We included that vision in the design as well. The big eye on the cover highlights the idea of looking at the city. It represents the vision of the locals and the internationals.” That’s what D.A.T.E. is all about: expanding a community of creatives, all hooked on Antwerp.

Just in time

“It was exiting to work on this project”, An adds. “We were asked to make this book in four nights. The fifth night, it had to be ready for publication.” The invited locals and internationals came together on Sunday, May 19th at creative hub Onder Stroom. Starting there, they explored Antwerp in groups throughout the week. Each group covered one of the four disciplines of the book: arts, design, future and subcultures. “All internationals were constantly writing, drawing and brainstorming, so I was confident I’d receive pages for the book each day. By Tuesday evening, I still didn’t receive anything. On Wednesday I thought: now it’s going to happen. Instead, we all went to sing karaoke that night. It was only by Thursday night that I got the whole lot: a bundle of 160 pages. We worked the whole night long to make a book out of them. Finally, on Friday morning, we published the first copy. We arrived totally exhausted on our bikes, five minutes before the D.A.T.E. book was officially launched. Just in time!”

Paradise city

“Take the train from Brussels and you arrive in paradise within 30 minutes”, Hungarian Réka Pasztor Turak kindly says about Antwerp. She’s working for Local’s Lore, an initiative to bring tourists in touch with locals. “After the D.A.T.E. project, Antwerp was in my top 3 cities I wanted to live in. The locals living in Antwerp really contributed to that. Unlike other cities that want to be creative, Antwerp is modest. You can actually meet artists and designers here and talk to them as if you were friends with them.” Robin adds that’s because Antwerp wants to be a testing ground: “The city invites many people to create something really beautiful to unlock their creativity. Or as we put it: we create, we invent, we never rest. And above all, Antwerp holds the promise that everyone will find his way.”


Text and pics by Roxanne Wellens


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