Antwerpen is the Dutch name for Antwerp and literally means ‘hand throwing’. Legend has it that a race of giants cut off the hands of travellers who refused to pay a toll to cross the River Schelde on which Antwerp is situated. A heroic figure by the name of Brabo managed to kill the leader of the giants,cut his hands off and threw them into the river thus ending their monopoly and giving the the name to a city. This heroic feat is immortalised in the Brabo statue situated in the Grote Markt of Antwerp. That is one of the best stories for a place name that I have ever heard!
Antwerp has a long history dating from around the 6th century and today is one of the great trading ports of the world. Beautiful place to wander around and it doesn’t feel like a big city at all! Like a lot of European cities, history and culture are reflected in the grand buildings that surround you of which Cathedrals are some of the most impressive.
The Stadhuis (Town Hall) in the image above is covered in the flags of many nations EXCEPT Australia! I did notice that there was a missing flagpole so I reckon that an Aussie tourist has souvenir-ed it for a drunken bet, as you do!
City skylines are always changing and Antwerp is no exception, not too far away a redevelopment of one of the old dock areas is underway and the centrepiece is the M.A.S. Museum which is strikingly different from anything around it.
One of the pleasant surprises about Europe was the fact that I could set up my camera & tripod just about anywhere and nobody thought twice about it! There was no official tapping me on the shoulder to ask me for a permit or telling me it was not permitted. I photographed trainstations,cathedrals in the middle of a service,and other places expecting someone to say something and it never happened.
I wouldn’t bother shooting places like that in Australia because some petty official would start quoting some reason why you couldn’t do it.
The following image is in the middle of Antwerp Central Station which is a beautiful old station. I was hoping for a lot more people moving around but on this rather cold day not many people were out & about apart from this young girl who stopped in front of the camera for the 5 sec exposure. Her mother thought it was a great picture!