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Hotel Antwerp

The perfect bed & breakfast in the artistic jungle called Antwerp

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

Michelin

Hello and welcome! So you really came driving through the jungle to arrive here? Well …. you made it!” He showed us his sprawling smile: proud of his unparalleled city and happy to host us (next to being glad we found our way through a not so touristic (read: popular) part of the city called “the jungle”).

Our Bed & Breakfast host already summarised in his first sentence how we felt after a weekend in Antwerp: this city is a multicultural jungle. Not only because Antwerp beats New York in the number of different nationalities, but also because of the huge number of artists, (hidden) art galleries and impressive shop windows. I think we can call Antwerp an artistic jungle.

Shop window Antwerp

Just one of many interesting shop windows in Antwerp

Historic snowfall

Our trip to Antwerp wasn’t the most fortunate one. On Saturday morning it started to snow….on Sunday morning our host told us that we were experiencing a record late season snowfall: since 1955 Antwerp didn’t get that much snow this time of year (end of March). He almost felt he had to apologise as the cold and snow might have ruined our Antwerp experience.

What he didn’t know was how impressed we were with the artistic culture in the city. For regular visitors most of it unfortunately stays hidden behind doors. Lots of artists have small galleries in their garage or basement that only open a couple of times a year or for special occasions. If you are into art, make sure to contact some locals (preferably artists) who know what is going on and where.

Statue Antwerp

Our private art gallery

We were lucky, as our Bed & Breakfast Droom & Daad had its own gallery! Beautiful work inspired by the Asian culture was on display. Images painted not only on canvas but also on chairs, cupboards, car doors, plates and more.

Droom en Daad Antwerp

art in Antwerp

Walking through galleries always makes me aware of the creativity of people: the unlimited design freedom of the artist’s mind. I am always a bit jealous of how artists can come up with these fabulous creative ideas.

But why should art be hidden, tucked away in basements and converted garages? Why do we have to search for art and are we forced to look at ugly things. What I mean with that? Well, our Bed & Breakfast was located close to the most ugly street of Antwerp: the Turnhoutsebaan. Really, talking about ugly, this street is really scoring points (and no, I did not take any pictures).

Cogels Osylei

That ugly street is in total contrast with one of the most beautiful streets in Antwerp: Cogels Osylei. This street holds an impressive collection of architecture: Jugendstill, Ne0-Classical, Art Nouveau, Gothic, to name just a few.

Cogels Osylei Antwerp

Make sure to visit this street and gaze at the houses, wondering how the city of Antwerp could ever have considered demolishing the whole area in favour of building new houses as part of so-called economic progress. I think no one will deny that withdrawing that decision has been one of the best decisions the city has ever made. More than 170 buildings in the area are now protected monuments….

Cogels Osylei Antwerp Belgium

Bed & Breakfast Antwerp

Look no further if you are searching for a nice place to stay in Antwerp. We were pleasantly surprised by Droom & Daad Bed & Breakfast: the modern design, the overall friendly support and advice from our hosts Ton & Bie, and the in-house art gallery made our stay perfect.

Hotel Antwerp

Accommodation Antwerp

Droom & Daad is close to Antwerp Central Station and by hopping on the electrical tram you can reach every part of the city quick and easy. Ton & Bie will not just throw the regular sight-seeing spots at you. What they will do is ask about your interests and only then show you where to go. Just look at how much inspiration they gave us!

map of Antwerp

If you like to be surprised a bit more, don’t forget to visit the Cathedral Cafe Het Elfde Gebod in the city center. It’s like having a beer in a church!

Het Elfde gebod Antwerp

Accommodation Antwerp

So yes indeed, we spent some time in the jungle called Antwerp… and we loved it! We will be back….in Summer.



Booking.com

Main square Antwerp

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13 comments

@ChristineSalins August 21, 2013 - 12:31

Hi Emiel,
We met at TBU in Holland. Nice post. Friends of mine in Antwerp took me to the cathedral cafe in Antwerp a few years ago. It’s certainly different from any other bar I’ve been in!

Reply
Emiel van den Boomen August 22, 2013 - 22:34

Thank you Christine! Such a fun cafe indeed. We still have to return to Antwerp during a warm and sunny weekend…

Reply
Bama April 21, 2013 - 14:26

I’m really happy to learn that the authority decided to cancel the demolition of those beautiful historic buildings. I wish they had done the same to the old Dutch buildings here in Indonesia.

Reply
Emiel van den Boomen April 21, 2013 - 15:44

I wish they had Bama. Do you have any idea how many of these old Dutch buildings have been destroyed? I can understand somehow, but it’s still a pity indeed.

Reply
Bama April 21, 2013 - 16:06

I’m not sure about the numbers, but there are way too many old Dutch buildings that have been demolished or left crumbling down on its own. Sad indeed.

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simon falvo April 13, 2013 - 18:44

That place looks gorgeous! I definitely want to go back to Flanders and visit Antwerp, which I missed last year. And If I get the chance, would love to stay at Droom and Daad B&B.

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Emiel van den Boomen April 14, 2013 - 20:29

Thanks Simon! You have been to other great Belgium cities as well, like Ghent. But Antwerp is still different. And do try the Droom & Daad B&B!

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jenny_atasteoftravel April 13, 2013 - 14:00

I’m heading to Antwerp in a couple of weeks and you have whetted my appetite! Discovering this artistic jungle sounds very exciting! I do love an eclectic city!

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Emiel van den Boomen April 14, 2013 - 20:34

You will be in Antwerp, that’s great! Another interesting site is the old wooden escalator, built in 1930 in Art Deco style. It goes down to a pedestrian tunnel under the river de Schelde. Have fun!

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Anneke de Bundel April 12, 2013 - 17:13

Looks beautiful, the way you captured it maakes me want to go rightaway.

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Emiel van den Boomen April 14, 2013 - 20:34

Beautiful cities in Flanders, and so close by…

Reply
journeytom April 12, 2013 - 15:00

Antwerp actually looks pretty cool – somewhere I have never even considered visiting. Seems there is plenty of quirky stuff which I like too

Reply
Emiel van den Boomen April 14, 2013 - 20:35

Lots of quirky stuff Tom! Thanks for reading and sharing.

Reply

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