Antwerp

Introduction

Antwerp, Du. Antwerpen, Fr. Anvers, city (1991 pop. 467,518), capital of Antwerp prov., N Belgium, on the Scheldt River. It is one of the busiest ports in Europe; a commercial, industrial, and financial center; and a rail junction. The city is linked with industrial E Belgium (especially Liège) by the Albert Canal and has a large transit trade to and from Germany (especially the Ruhr district). Manufactures of Antwerp and its surrounding region include refined petroleum, petrochemicals, dyes, photographic supplies, leather goods, and processed food. In addition, the city is a major international center of the diamond trade, has large shipyards, and is the seat of the world's first stock exchange (founded 1460).

The artistic fame of Antwerp dates from the rule (15th cent.) of Philip the Good of Burgundy, who founded an academy of painting. The painters Quentin Massys and Peter Paul Rubens resided in the city, and Anthony Van Dyck was born there. Many of their works are in the museums and churches of Antwerp. Christophe Plantin made (16th cent.) the city a center of printing; his house is a museum.

Among Antwerp's many splendid structures are the large Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame (14th–16th cent.), with a spire c.400 ft (122 m) high; the churches of St. James (containing the tomb of Rubens) and St. Paul (both 16th cent.); the Renaissance-style city hall (mid-16th cent.); Rubens's house (now a museum); and old guildhalls lining the Groote Markt [marketplace]. Antwerp also has a zoological garden, a noted school of music, and a museum (2012) that spotlights the city's rich history.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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