Situated around 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Brussels on the edge of the River Scheldt, Antwerp is the capital of Belgium's Antwerp Province in its Flemish Region. The most populous city proper in the country, and the second biggest metropolitan region behind Brussels, Antwerp is home to around 1.2 million Belgians, or Sinjorens, as they're sometimes called.
The earliest known written accounts mentioning the city can be dated as far back as the 4th century when the region was being settled by the Germanic Frank people. Skipping forward almost a dozen centuries, the city eventually became the capital of the Dutch Revolt from 1566 to 1648. Later, during World War II, the city became a key strategic target and fell victim to multiple bombings, due in no small part to its centralised location in Europe as well as its port, the Port of Antwerp.
Now, Antwerp is renowned around the globe for its vital role in the diamond trade and industry, so much so, that it's known as the diamond capital of the world. An economic powerhouse and essential cultural centrepiece in the region, Antwerp is also a rising star in the fashion world and a longstanding champion of arts and artists.
As one of Europe's premier tourist destinations, Antwerp's unrivalled charm truly has to be experienced to be believed. Continue reading below to learn everything you need to know before dropping into the city, and find out where you can store your luggage during your trip to Antwerp, Belgium.
Luggage Storage near Train Stations in Antwerp
In addition to offering its residents tram and bus services, the city of Antwerp has an extensive railway system transporting passengers domestically and internationally.
Antwerpen-Berchem Railway Station
Located in Antwerpen's south side, the Antwerpen-Berchem Railway Station began operations in May of 1865. When it first opened, the station was known simply as Berchem, before the areas of Berchem and Antwerpen merged and the station was given its current name.
Today, the station consists of ten platforms and ten tracks, in addition to serving as a stop for regional, intercity, and international rail lines. Furthermore, the Antwerpen-Berchem Railway Station is a popular transit connection stop, as multiple tram lines and buses make stops at the station.
Are you planning on making a stop at Antwerpen-Berchem Railway Station during your stay in Antwerp? If so, click here to find out where you can store your backpack or luggage for the day while in the city.
Antwerp Central Railway Station
Not to be confused with the Belgian film Antwerp Central, Antwerp Central Railway Station (Antwerpen-Centraal in Flemish) is the busiest station in Antwerp. Perhaps the most beautiful railway station in all of Belgium, and one of the most iconic in all of Europe, the building is a fantastically eclectic blend of styles and influences, as evidenced by its colloquial name, spoorwegkathedraal (or, in English, Railroad Cathedral).
With 24 total platforms distributed across four levels, the Antwerp Central Railway Station is a key transit hub for travellers exploring Belgium, as well as those just passing through on their way to and from other European countries, especially France and the Netherlands.
An architectural gem and historical landmark, the station was originally built between 1895 and 1905 before undergoing restoration efforts after World War II. In the 1980s and 1990s, further, more extensive reconstruction and expansion projects were completed, and the station was again modernised between 2000 and 2009.
Mechelen Railway Station
Initially opened in 1835, Mechelen Railway Station is located in Mechelen, Antwerp, only a short walk away from the city centre. Mechelen Railway Station is one of Antwerp's most-loved train stations, with more than 18,000 passengers safely passing through its halls every day.
Currently, the station has twelve platforms servicing ten railway tracks. Mechelen Railway Station provides more than 15 train services for intercity, regional, and international services. And, as recently as 2013, the station underwent construction to rebuild and modernise the station, including the addition of a 3-level underground car park.
Luggage Storage at Antwerp's Airports
Antwerp is only served by a single airport, Antwerp International. However, Brussels Airport, Belgium's major international airport, is only around 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Antwerp's city centre.
Antwerp International Airport
Only 5.4 kilometres (3.3 miles) south of Antwerp's city centre, the Antwerp International Airport is the primary airport in the region. Although it may be a relatively small international airport, Antwerp International serves more than 275,000 passengers annually.
In recent years, excluding travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the airport has seen a steady increase in passengers. As a matter of fact, despite Antwerp International Airport only containing a single passenger terminal and a runway too small to operate anything bigger than the Boeing 757, it transported more than 300,000 passengers during 2019.
The Antwerp International Airport has a rather illustrious history. From humble beginnings as an airfield with passenger services being operated from an old railway carriage, the Airport eventually became the home of the now-defunct Stampe et Vertongen aircraft company. During World War II, the airport was controlled by Nazi Germany and was used by the Luftwaffe before being taken over by Allied air forces after the Germans retreated in 1944.
These days, the Antwerp International Airport is considered unique among its peers as it is one of few airports in the area without jet bridges. Because of this, passengers are required to walk-board the aircraft at the airport.
Technically, Brussels Airport isn't situated in Antwerp. Around 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the city, the airport is actually located in the country's capital city of Brussels and serves as Belgium's primary airport. The 24th busiest airport in all of Europe, the airport provides safe passage to more than 26 million passengers a year.
Additionally, Brussels Airport serves as a home base for around 260 companies, cumulatively employing around 20,000 people. The airport is also known as Brussels National and, in the country's native Flemish, Luchthaven Brussel-Nationaal.
The airport uses a single-terminal concept separated into two piers and four levels; and, it provides access to the underground Brussels Airport-Zaventem Railway Station. All of the airport's facilities are centrally located under one roof, including its many shops, restaurants, bars, and meeting areas.
What to do in Antwerp
- Hang out with Siberian tigers, spectacled bears, lions, and more at Antwerp Zoo, one of the world's oldest zoos.
- Visit one of the sweetest museums in the entire world and the largest Belgian Chocolate museum worldwide, Chocolate Nation.
- Browse all manner of rough and polished precious gemstones and diamonds in the shops and workshops in the Diamond District.
- Pose for a selfie in front of the Steen Castle gateway, the oldest building in the city.
- Stop in for a spell at one of Antwerp's most easily recognized landmarks, the Cathedral of Our Lady.
- Spend a day browsing local artists' wares and works at Grote Market. And, while you're in the area, don't forget to check out the Brabo Fountain with its stunning Baroque bronze sculpture of Brabo, a legendary figure in the city's folklore.
- Check out the world's only remaining printing workshop and publishing house, Plantin - Moretus Museum, to find out about the art of bookmaking.
- Try a taste of an authentic Belgian waffle, loaded with heaps of fruit and whipped cream, at virtually any restaurant or from a street vendor.
Antwerp is classified as having a sub-oceanic climate, with warm, humid summer months, cool winter months, and regular light rain throughout the year. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Antwerp's weather is heavily influenced by the tides and experiences frequent winds that range from moderate to intense, especially from November to March. Throughout the year, temperatures in Antwerp rarely dip below 3.5 Celcius (38 Farenhieght) or rise above 18.5 Celcius (65.5 Farenheight). The city experiences four distinct seasons, easily identifiable by the changes in temperature, as well as a dry and wet season.
Fun Facts About Antwerp
- Almost 400 years ago, the world's first-ever printed newspaper was published in Antwerp, Belgium.
- The first evidence of people living in the area can be dated back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, where excavations show humans residing along the banks of the River Scheldt.
- The city is known as Anvers to the French and Antwerpen in Dutch.
- Although Flemish / Dutch is the official language of the province, and one of the official languages in the country, don't be surprised if you hear French and German spoken as well, as they too are considered official languages of Belgium.
- It's estimated that 80% of the world's diamonds, rough and polished, pass through Antwerp's streets on their way to their final destinations.
- The city is home to one of the oldest art schools on the continent, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts.