5 exciting new neighbourhoods in Antwerp
1) Nieuw Zuid
An innovative new urban district is slowly emerging on the south side of Antwerp. Located next to the river on the site of abandoned railway tracks, Nieuw Zuid is being designed as a sustainable green neighbourhood. The project, which won’t be finished until 2030, includes buildings by acclaimed international architects such as Max Dudler, Johannes Norlander and Stefano Boeri.
2) Groen Kwartier
A restored 19th-century military hospital forms the hub of a new neighbourhood in the Berchem district. The hospital buildings have been turned into apartments while the former chapel is occupied by Sergio Herman’s stunning restaurant The Jane. A new hotel opened in the neighbourhood in early 2019 based in a former Augustinian convent. Restored by architect Vincent Van Duysen, the August has a cool minimalist look that preserves the original monastic calm.
The city’s latest landscaped park is too new to be marked on Google maps, but it’s not too hard to find. Just follow the river north until you come to the waterside site. Part of an ambitious 15-year plan to revitalise the Scheldt waterfront, the Droogdokkenpark (Dry Docks Park) is dotted with benches where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the spires of the old town, Het Eilandje and the Sint Anna beach on the opposite bank. Nearby, an abandoned industrial building has been turned into kids’ workshop Stormkop. The neighbourhood around here looks ripe for development, so enjoy the gritty industrial streetscape before it has vanished.
The renovation of the Eilandje quarter is pushing deeper into the old maritime zone. The newest developments are happening along the east side of the abandoned dock Kattendijkdok. Nikolaj Kovdal of Fiskebar has transformed an old customs building on the water’s edge into the hip Nordic fish restaurant Fiskeskur. And Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie – the brewers who launched local beer Seef – moved production in 2017 to the abandoned Noorderpershuis site near the waterfront. Here they have created a spacious tasting room, food counter and outdoor beer garden. Check online for piano recitals and DJ concerts held here.
It’s not easy to track down the hip new quarter called PAKT. It occupies an area of abandoned warehouses next to the Groen Kwartier in Berchem. You reach it through a dingy entrance at Lamorinièrestraat 161-A or by walking through the grounds of a restored 19th-century military hospital. Eventually you reach a hidden site that looks like somewhere in Berlin, with crumbling brick buildings, an overhead walkway, rooftop greenhouses, old rusted machinery and urban gardens. Several start-up companies are based here, along with restaurants, coffee shops and cafes. Most places close at the weekend.
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The 500 Hidden Secrets of Antwerp reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Antwerp's best-kept secrets.
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