A Hume

A Hume
Antwerp – City Spotlight

Antwerp – City Spotlight

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A taste of the good old days when we need it most


Strolling around Antwerp it’s hard to believe that much of the world is in the grip of a fierce recession. In the UK our high streets are in a state of perpetual sale and our finest retail minds seem to be focused on ever more creative ways of articulating the need to slash the price of consumer goods. But in Antwerp designer boutiques and niche retailers are in robust health. The whole city oozes wealth and wellbeing.



Stadsfeestzaal, Antwerp

Sipping fizz at the Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar in the Stadsfeestzal Mall it’s as if the recession never happened – not here anyway.


Antwerp flourishes in its bubble of commerce thanks to the vast Port area, which for aesthetic reasons is thankfully consigned to a 30km strip of river tailing into the North Sea, and also the city’s dominance in the world diamond trade. To spend a weekend in Antwerp is to shrug off the depressing shroud of recession and remember the good old days.


What better place to sneak off to in January when the sky is so low you could touch it and the cold unremittingly bleak.


Clustered around the inconspicuous, understated streets surrounding Nationalestraat are some of the most famous names in fashion; Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Alexander McQueen and of course, Antwerp’s infamous homegrown talent are in evidence.


Despite it’s luxury credentials Antwerp harbours a boho feel. Being a hub of design it attracts a large number of creatives; artists and designers who flock to the city in order to feed the appetite for beautiful clothes, designer goods, and art and antiques, and as a consequence there are a number of stores who cater to quirkier tastes.


Here’s our guide to a weekend of eating, drinking and shopping in Antwerp:



Dries van Noten Modepaleis Antwerp

Dries van Noten’s flagship store Modepaleis, Antwerp.


Homegrown Talent


The Antwerp Six bust onto the fashion scene in the late eighties, gate crashing London fashion week and gaining huge acclaim. The most recognised names are;


Dries Van Noten, Modepaleis, Nationalestraat 16.

Anne Demeulemeester, Leopold de Waelplaats.

Essential Women, Schutterofstraat 26, Essential Men, Schutterofstraat 42.

Not one of the Antwerp Six but still home grown talent, without the gasp-worthy price tag….well not quite so gasp-worthy. Fantastic colours for 2012-13, gorgeous men’s knitwear.


ModeMuseum, Nationalestraat 28.

Although not strictly a shop, in fact not a shop at all. The MoMu is a must for fashion lovers.



Quirky & Cool

Moose in the City, Ijzerenwaag 10-12.

A store devoted entirely to Scandinavian design.


Copyright Bookstore, Nationalestraat 28a.

Glorify your cultural appreciation with a collection of gloriously glossy tomes on art, architecture and design.


Demian Books, Hendrik Conscienceplein 16-18.

Antwerp’s best antiquarian bookstore with fantastic atmosphere.

Otarks Breakfast Club, Antwerp

An invitation to Otark’s Breakfast Club at Cafe de Roscam.


Cafés, Bars and Restaurant

The Breakfast Club at de Roscam, de Vrijdagmarkt

Every Sunday two exuberant design/foodie types with an excessive amount of talent take over the Roscam café to host their breakfast club from 8am-2pm. The menu varies from week to week dependent on the vagaries of the season but expect all food to be beautifully cooked and exquisitely presented. Shabby chic Antwerp for insiders.


Theaterplein Market, OK, so a market is not really a café, bar or a restaurant but it is the best place in Antwerp to go for food. Masses of stalls selling delicious, bread, cheese, fruit, fish and charcuterie. Stalls where you can buy fresh oysters and mussels to enjoy in the sun with a glass of prosecco.

Normo Coffee, Minderbroedersrui 30

Antwerp takes its coffee seriously, not in a humourless, uptight way just with the sort of evangelical passion that breeds cafés who roast their own coffee and take massive pride in what they produce. So they should it’s very good. Take some home – Starbucks will never taste the same again.
Café- Restaurant Bourla, Graanmarkt 7

Eat in doors or outdoors at this grand and gracious old dame. Chandeliers glisten and glow, mirrors reflect even more light amongst the dark wood and traditional café style and everything tastes delicious. An art nouveau gem.


A la Ville, Zirkstraat 37,

French Mediterranean with a North African influence served with style and a light touch in contemporary surrounds on a little cobbled street.