Day two in Antwerp was mainly dedicated to discovering the port area in the city. Since I stayed just 5 minute walk from it, I started with the MAS Museum – Museum aan de Stroom. You can read about its history and exhibitions here. Post modern Art Deco style joins Indian red sandstone and curved glass panel construction creating a very interesting facade of the building. The MAS houses 470,000 objects and the main themes are Metropolis, Power, Life and Death, and Antwerp’s long history as a major international port (each theme is a separate floor).
When you go through the themes you reach the 10th floor, which is the roof of the building. You can admire the panoramic view of the city. AMAZING!
The city of Antwerp is now trying to bring back life to this area of the city. That is why they invest a lot in constructions of new and very modern in style buildings bringing more prestige to the area. There are more and more skyscrapers in the skyline, more dwellings available for people. The area is so much different from the romantic city centre. I felt more like in the Netherlands, where everything is organized and carefully planned, the designs are cosmic and you actually feel like on a different planet. But different doesn’t mean worse. I preferred spending time here, maybe because there weren’t so many tourists wandering about. Or maybe it’s just my love for minimalism?
On the flip side, since the city is developing there are countless construction sites, which make it a really daunting adventure to sightsee and enjoy the beauty of Antwerp. So the views as the one below are more common than you may expect.
That was much of the city I could see in such limited time. I left just one gem to be seen as a sort of icing on the cake – Antwerp Port House. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects the Port House extension intended to resemble a large glass ship’s bow pointing toward the area that Antwerp was founded. Some may love it, some may hate it but most objectively speaking this building is a jewel. I observed it from the distance any time I walked to/from my place of stay and I couldn’t leave Antwerp without giving it a closer look. I knew it was worth it. And indeed, the Port House is a combination the old and new, tradition meets modernity – it’s like the symbol of the city, once thriving international port, now striving to regain its position by attracting foreign businesses.