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Antwerp, Belgium

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Awaiting Your Return From Shore

 Located on the River Scheldt, more than 50 miles from the open sea, Antwerp is the fifth-largest port in the world, serving thousands of ocean-going vessels each year. As many as 45,000 barges and 17,000 ships tie up to the 60 miles of docks every year. Antwerp is equally famous for its art treasures, diamond industry, and as a center of culture, relaxation and entertainment.
  During the Renaissance, Antwerp flourished as a center of Flemish culture. Rubens, Jordaens, Van Dyck and other famous painters lived here, with their works displayed in such fine museums as the Royal Art Gallery and the Mayer van den Bergh Museum.
  The center of Antwerp is Grote Markt, at the heart of which stands the Brabo Fountain. It is topped by a bronze statue of Silvius Brabo showing the Roman centurion flinging the hand of the giant Antigonus into the Scheldt. According to legend, Antigonus extracted tolls from all passing ships, cutting off the arms of those who refused to pay. He was eventually beaten by Brabo, who tore off the giant's hand and threw it into the river; this gave rise to the name of the city, which literally means "hand-throw." Antwerp’s main attractions are around Grote Markt: the stunning City Hall, completed in 1566 and one of the most important buildings of the Northern Renaissance; Our Lady’s Cathedral, one of the finest gothic churches in Belgium; and on the north side of the square, the daintily restored 16th-century guild houses.
  The city is perhaps best known as the world center for the diamond trade, much of it concerned with cutting and industrial applications. Its heartbeat is Pelikanstraat and Appelmansstraat. The entire process from mining exhibits to cutting and selling the highly finished product can be observed at Diamond Land or the Provincial Diamond Museum.
  Antwerpians have always had the reputation of loving good food and drink. The city boasts hundreds of restaurants and eating-houses where first-class gastronomy, exotic dishes and simple everyday cuisine are served. The compact city center offers traffic-free streets lined by all kinds of shops, boutiques and cafés with their famous terraces. As an age-old trading center, a port and the crossroads of European highways, Antwerp is ready to welcome visitors to that very special atmosphere that makes it a place where everyone feels at home.

Awaiting Your Return From Shore

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