Discovering the city of Antwerp in style!

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Visiting Antwerp in an oldtimer!

 

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There are many ways to discover a city, but one of the most original is to visit the city in an oldtimer van! Voyage Local introduces visitors to the city of Antwerp in a stylish 1963 Renault Estafette. You will visit local neighbourhoods and districts, not only experiencing a rich and diverse history, but also the places where the people of Antwerp live, work and play. Voyage Local believes that visitors have the right to experience the whole city, not just the bit in the centre.

Discover the true Antwerp

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Each of Antwerp’s suburbs is like a village. After the medieval city walls were dismantled, hamlets and parishes were merged with the city. They continued to evolve, and all have their own unique identities, which grew out of their history. None of them are just “there” – they all exist for a reason.

Each of the tours tells a different story. They shed light on the formation and evolution of the local neighbourhoods and districts of the City of Biscuits. Without these boroughs and districts, Antwerp could never have grown into the city it is today.

They are the secret to the success of the Antwerp biscuit and chocolate factories, breweries and ports. Come and explore with us – our tours are an unmissable part of any visit to the city of Antwerp. There’s so much to discover …

Here are the 4 types of tours you can choose from:

1. Street life of Antwerp

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Before the dismantling of the Spanish ramparts (city walls), this was a marshy area with large streams. It was also a wooded area, where people came to gather firewood. The cattle that grazed here were vitally important to the city-dwellers. The landscape was dotted with windmills. These were green areas, with vegetable gardens and fruit orchards which were essential for the city.

Once the Spanish ramparts were dismantled and the Scheldt River was opened for good, Antwerp was able to breathe freely again. After two centuries of stagnation, the city longed to return to the glory days of the Golden Age. Run-down districts were cleaned up and historic parts of the city were demolished. The poor wretches who lived in these neighbourhoods had to move on; there was no longer any place for them. The Stuivenberg and Seefhoek districts opened their arms to these exiles. There was where the workers lived, whose labour had made the city rich. These neighbourhoods literally fought for the right to preserve the Flemish language and culture.

The upper middle class clearly did not feel at home there. Chocolate factories, butcheries and taverns sprang up like mushrooms. Popular entertainment, Flemish fairs, dazzling dance palaces with impressive organs and travelling musicians typified these neighbourhoods. They were working-class districts where everyone knew everyone else. Come and see where Vincent van Gogh lived, where the city housed its lepers, and where the first toll houses stood. Find out the real cause of the tension between Antwerp and Borgerhout.

Today, this is a multicultural area where people live “facing outward”. It’s a real rabbit warren of lanes, alleys and small squares; diverse neighbourhoods and districts, each with their own colourful character and history. Football fields, green playgrounds, community centres and community social workers give the suburb a tight-knit feel.

Street life of Antwerp takes you to:
Stuivenberg – Seefhoek – Borgerhout – Dambrugge – Old port

Book this tour: http://voyagelocal.be/tour/street-life-antwerp/

2. Glorious Antwerp

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Before the dismantling of the Spanish ramparts (city walls), this was a sparsely-populated rural area. A gallows field, a French cemetery, beautiful parks for walking, gardeners’ houses & pleasure gardens and a plant nursery founded by Napoleon are only the tip of the iceberg.

In Antwerp’s Golden Age, country houses with private gardens were built here for wealthy city-dwellers. One shrewd Antwerp real estate agent emerged as early as the 16th century – before there was even a name for such work.

The area was clean and well-ordered, so Antwerpers liked to visit. They liked to relax in well-kept inns and escape for a while from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Once the Spanish ramparts (city walls) came down, builders, architects, mosaic makers, private gardeners and iron-smiths were inundated with work. The upper middle classes of Antwerp wanted to build themselves new homes in exclusive residential areas outside the city walls – areas with a dreamlike allure. As if by magic, Art Nouveau, eclecticism, classicism and Flemish renaissance transformed the streets into works of art. It was Belle Époque grandeur at its best, and the French language was never far away.

Well-to-do Antwerpers now dwelt in magnificent town houses on wide, gracious boulevards with grand 19th-century façades. Wealthy Antwerp bourgeoisie and businessmen poured their fortunes into bricks. Discover the architectural gems and sophisticated neighbourhoods of Antwerp.

Glorious Antwerp takes you to:
Zurenborg – Stadspark – Cleyn Antwerpen – Sint Laurentius – South Antwerp

Book this tour: http://voyagelocal.be/tour/glorious-antwerp/

3. Mix of Antwerp

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This tour combines two diametrically opposed worlds. In the Seefhoek & Borgerhout area you are assured of a multicultural vibe among the many small streets and squares. The street life is vibrant wherever you look and the neighbourhoods are very socially active. Housing is dense and the streets are laid out in an extremely quirky manner. A sociable buzz and colourful street life characterise these areas.

Zurenborg is a neighbourhood where the Belle Époque reigned supreme. By 1882 the upper middle class, the wealthy merchants and notorious bankers were looking for a tranquil area to call home, away from the busy city and its filthy rivers. It was in Zurenborg that they found the space, security and order that was lacking in the city. A wide range of homes was constructed there, from neoclassical to Art Nouveau to town houses – the only requirement was that they looked grandiose. The streets of Zurenborg were also laid out with much forethought, and absolutely nothing in Zurenborg is accidental, with everything having a reason. These are architectural gems at their very best.

Mix of Antwerp takes you to:
Seefhoek, Borgerhout vs. Zurenborg & Oude Noorderdokken

Book this tour: http://voyagelocal.be/tour/mix-of-antwerp/

4. Create your own private tour

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Book Voyage Local and treat your staff or clients to a journey of discovery through Antwerp. Will you choose to explore fashionable Antwerp or does your interest lie in the working-class neighbourhoods of the city?

Of course, you could always select a mixture of the various routes. We’ll happily discuss the options with you to make sure your business group is well entertained.

Private tours are also available to non-business groups of five or more.
These private tours can be combined with a drink or food stop.

Create your own tour: http://voyagelocal.be/tour/private-tour/

 

Voyage Local is truly a great way to see the city of Antwerp! If you want to find out more, make sure to visit their website, their Instagram account or their Facebook! Enjoy your trip!

 

Source: voyagelocal.be

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Dolf Van Sprengel

chief executive wanderer

Dolf Van Sprengel is born and raised in Antwerp, and loves to travel to discover new cultures. Dolf loves nature and religion, amongst many other things. Since 2017 Dolf is the administrator of WANDERLUSTVLOG.

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