Welcome to the Animal Forest
When walking through the urban jungle that is Antwerp, we have a chance to discover a lot of mystical hidden gems. Behind every tree there is a friendly creature that we have yet to meet, behind every branch there is a bird that will tweet a new song. And just like the forest where the different animals roam free but also need an open space to discuss the customs of their mutual habitat, us Antwerpians need a space where we can feel welcome with all our differences. We need a spot where we can let go of our city life and grab the feels of the village people that we are within.
Luckily for us, there is a new gem in town. A place where every creature of the day and every creature of the night can feel at ease. A spot that warms our souls with food from the south, with vegetarian options for the herbivores and meaty dishes for the carnivores. For the little birdies there are appetizers and for the hungry lions there are Cuban sandwiches.I know you are eager to know where this place is and what it’s called! My new favorite soul-peace-provider in town is called het Beestenbos, which translates into "the Animal forest" and it’s located in the most comfy village-like heart of the city, Sint–Andries square.
It’s the new lion cub of three young Antwerp entrepreneurs Wolfram Ghesquière, Jago Brood and Dries Pasteels. They have experience in the field and in the forest since Wolfram and Jago have spent the last year roaming free on the hills of the south of France between goats and ducks. They have tried to bring this easy going – à l’aise monsieur – feeling with them and implemented this into the Animal forest that they can call their own.
They each have their own specific character traits that unites them into the perfect team to make sure the Animal Forest will be a place where everyone feels at home and not your regular Antwerp m’a tu vu- spot.
It was actually the only thing missing on the square that feels like a little village, because every village has a typical bar where everyone discusses last weeks’ novelties.
However, The Beestenbos will be more than just your average village café, it will be the place where you can subscribe for the jeu de boules tournament, it will be the place where you can meet the local farmers at the harvest festival and it will be the place where your stressed-out city soul will find peace.
This little birdie will fly there every weekend, hopefully I will be able to see your paw prints leading there soon as well!
Text by Cleo Klapholz
Pics by Noortje Palmers & Het Beestenbos