Antwerp heritage


Aldermen’s house

The aldermen’s house or Antwerp’s former town hall used to be in the square next to the current town hall until 1565. In 2012, an archaeological survey was organised to find remnants of its foundation.

Bastion of Keizerspoort

The Bastion of Keizerspoort is part of the Spanish ramparts. After its excavation in 2003, it was preserved in the car park under the National Bank, where the public can visit it for free.

Bastion of Toledo

The Spanish citadel was a pentagonal defence. There was a bastion, a polygonal bulwark, on every corner. This is where the Toledo Bastion used to be.

Bishop's Palace

The palace served as the bishop’s residence until the French transformed it into a hotel for government officials. Napoleon spent the night there on several occasions.

Blue Tower

The Blue Tower was built in the fourteenth century as part of the third city wall. The floor plan of this tower was incorporated in the newly-built Blauwtorenplein.

Bonaparte Dock

Bonaparte Dock or the Small Dock (Klein Dok) was built in the sixteenth-century Nieuwstad district. This was a 25-hectare site with canals and a residential neighbourhood, called “Boerenkwartier” or the farmers’ neighbourhood.

Bonaparte Lock

Bonaparte Lock, which dates from 1811, was Antwerp’s first tidal lock. It was built at the same time as Bonaparte Dock and Willem Dock, which were commissioned by Napoleon.

Brewers’ House

The Brewers’ House was built by 1553 by Gilbert Van Schoonbeke. It supplied the breweries in Nieuwstad with water from the ditches around the fortifications and Herentalse Vaart.

Burchtgracht Street

The street named “Burchtgracht” owes its name to the moat which encircled Antwerp’s old fortress and which no longer exists.

Central Park

Antwerp’s Central Park is built on the remnants of the Fortress of Herentals: one of Napoleon’s plans for strengthening the city walls.

Command bunker

This command bunker was built at the end of the 1930s. The Passive Air Raid Defence Department coordinated its activities from here in case of a bombing.

Commemorative plaque V bombs

The first V bomb over Antwerp was dropped here in this location during World War II. The plaque commemorates the bombings that ravaged the city in 1944 and 1945 respectively.

Fortress Wall

The Fortress of Antwerp was fortified in the Middle Ages with a wall built of Tournaisian limestone. The wall was cut through when Vleeshuisstraat was built.

Fortress wall in Zakstraat

Antwerp’s fortress was fortified in the Middle Ages with a wall made of Tournaisian limestone, which you can still see today in a new-build project in Zakstraat.

Giant’s House

The house’s name refers to the giant Druon Antigon, who is said to have lived in the fortress during the Roman period and demanded tolls from skippers passing through. He would chop off the hands of those who refused to pay up.

Hanseatic House

Until 1893, Antwerp’s Hanseatic House stood where the MAS Museum is located today. It was commissioned by the German Hanseatic League.

Keizerspoort Gate

Keizerspoort Gate was one of the five gateways into the city during the period of the Spanish ramparts. In 2002, the foundation of the gate was excavated.

Kipdorppoort Gate

Kipdorp Gate was one of the two gateways to the sixteenth-century city. The entire site has been preserved underground.

Kronenburg Tower

Before the Spanish ramparts and citadel were built, the city relied on medieval ramparts and towers for its protection. Kronenburg Tower was one of these defences.


There are remnants of the sixteenth-century city wall in Londenstraat and Amsterdamstraat. The line of the wall can be partly seen aboveground in the new design of the street.

Moats and ravelins

The Spanish citadel was encircled by a moat. Here archaeologists found traces of steps to the citadel moat.

Museum of Fine Arts

There are still remnants of the former Spanish citadel, or Zuidkasteel (South Castle) under the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA).

Obelisk Memorial

In 1903, Antwerp celebrated the centenary of the Napoleonic Decree. The town council built a memorial for this. After a provisional stucco monument, the definitive memorial was inaugurated in 1906.

Palace in Meir

Napoleon acquired the palace in 1811, intending to use it as an imperial residence. He would never stay there however. King Albert I resided in the palace during World War I.

Re-alignment of the quays (en)

After 1875, the Scheldt quays were re-aligned. The largest part of the fortress city of Antwerp disappeared as a result. This included “Werf” (the wharf) and St. Walpurga’s Church.

Red Gate

The Red Gate was a city gate in the sixteenth-century Spanish ramparts. Nothing was preserved above ground level.

Red Gate site

In the sixteenth century, the Red Gate site consisted of a gate, a bridge, two bastions and the “Houwer”, a drinking water reservoir. Nothing was preserved above ground level.

Rijnkaai South

The new tram line in the Rijnkaai south area runs through archaeological remnants of the sixteenth-century ramparts and of the historical residences and harbour inlets.

Ruien / Canals

Antwerp has an eight-kilometre underground canal system. The Ruihuis, which is located in Suikerrui, organises guided visits of the canals.

Saint Michael’s Abbey

Antwerp’s first parish church, which over time transformed into the large and powerful Saint Michael’s Abbey, originally stood here.

Saint Michael’s Bastion

Archaeologists found traces in this location of early settlement and military defences from various periods.

Schelde Vrij/Scheldt Free

The ‘Scheldt Free’ statue group commemorates the buying off of the Scheldt toll. The monument was created on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the re-opening of the Scheldt.

Schijn Bastion

The Schijn corner bastion is situated in the north of the Spanish fortifications, along a section of the Schijn river.

Schijn River Lock

The “Sas van het Schijn” or lock on the Schijn River is a hydraulic engineering work, which was built in 1818 and was excavated in 2015.

Ship arsenal

Under Napoleon, the French government built an arsenal for its war fleet, in the area between the Scheldt and Kloosterstraat, installing a shipyard and several workshops.

Site Kipdorp

A new square will be built in front of the Opera. During the works, the sixteenth-century Kipdorpbrug bridge, bastion and the city ramparts will be excavated.

Slijkpoort Gate

Slijkpoort Gate is the northern-most gate of the Spanish ramparts. The outline of the Bastion of Slijkpoort can be traced in the streets above ground level.


Napoleon ordered a series of slipways to be built near the present-day Cockerillkaai. They were part of the shipyard where a war fleet was to be built.

Steen Castle

Antwerp’s Steen Castle was part of the walled fortress city of Antwerp. It served as a residence for the margrave and at one time was also a museum. Nowadays it is an educational space for children.

Tabaksvest school site

An archaeological survey revealed two pits containing 37 skeletons under the playground of the former Mère-Jeanne school.

The Citadel

The city district known as “Het Zuid” is built on Antwerp’s former citadel. This pentagonal structure was built in the sixteenth century under Spanish rule.

The Koraalberg

The “oldest Antwerper” was found in 1997 during construction in Koraalberg. This skull of a young man dates from the ninth century.

Town Hall

The town hall was the city’s administrative centre. However, it also played a role in conflicts in the past, including during the Spanish Fury.

Vierschaer Court

The “Vierschaer” was the Antwerp law courts, named after the four “scarren” or benches used to demarcate it: a bench for the accused, the judge, the public prosecutor and the party claiming damages.

Waterpoort/Water Gate

Waterpoort is something also known as the wandering gate. Since its construction in 1624, the gate has stood in three different locations, including its current one.


The “Werf” or “Kranenhoofd” was the wharf where the port crane stood. It was located on a spit of land in the River Scheldt, near the fortress. It was a perfect mooring for ships.

Willem Dock

The “Groot Dok” or Large Dock was built in the sixteenth-century Nieuwstad: a 25-hectare site with canals and a residential neighbourhood called Boerenkwartier.