- With over 80 million foreign tourists annually, France is the most visited country in the world.
- You can start gambling as soon as you land in Amsterdam, at the Holland Casino found in the Schipol airport.
- There are 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK including Stonehenge, the Tower of London, and Westminster Abbey.
- Germans are the world’s second biggest drinkers of beer (after the Irish), with an annual average of 119 liters per consumer.
- 44% of the world's olive oil is produced in Spain.
Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium.
During the 16th century it was the most significant center of trade and culture in the Lowlands, and arguably one of Europe’s most important cities. Every day tons of goods from the New World arrived to Europe via Antwerp’s harbor. Many foreigners found work in the city during this era and their influence is still clearly visible today in the city’s opulent and varied architecture.
Antwerp is a center for fashion and diamonds. The diamond district is next to the recently refurbished central train station. The city also has many impressive squares and beautiful, tree-lined boulevards with designer boutiques. In recent years, the quays along the river Scheldt have been restored to their former glory.
If you like to venture off the beaten tourist track, make sure to go to the city’s Southern quarters which offer a mix between trendy wine bars, furniture shops, galleries and offices for creative companies.
The most impressive remnant of Antwerp’s glorious past is perhaps the main square (Grote Markt) and the cathedral next to it. The area has many buildings which are prime examples of Flemish gothic architecture. On the main square you will also find a statue of Antwerp’s mythical hero, Brabo, who chopped off the hand of the evil giant Antigoon and threw it in the river. Legend has it that this is where the name “Antwerp” comes from (“handwerpen” means “to throw a hand” in Dutch).
If you like sampling the excellent Belgian beers, then you’re spoiled for choice in this city. In recent years many clubs have opened around the river. The red-light district is world famous, not only for its obviously red-lit windows, but also for the many small traditional pubs. More conventional watering holes can be found on the Groenplaats and around the main square area.
Make sure to visit the palatial former home of painter Peter Paul Rubens on the Wapper 9, and marvel at the massive collection of buxom beauties, painted by the master himself.
Many smaller casinos can be found around Keyserlei Boulevard. Larger casinos are just a short ride away, in coastal towns like Ostend and Middelkerke.
Antwerp lies right on the border of the Netherlands, which also gives you easy access to a very large branch of the Holland Casino, located 20 minutes away in a former monastery in the beautiful Dutch town of Breda.
Upcoming Events Across Europe
Wife-Carrying World Championships, Finland
Want to win your wife’s weight in beer? Head on over to Market Square in Sonkajärvi on the first Saturday in July to take part in the Wife-Carrying World Championships. Held since 1992, the event sees husbands making their way through 250+ meters of obstacles while carrying their wives. The winner gets the beer but runners up can still win awards for “most entertaining”, “best costume” and “strongest carrier”.
Running of the Bulls, Spain
The centuries-old Running of the Bulls takes place in Pamplona each year in honor of the town’s patron saint, San Fermin. From July 6–14, runners dressed in traditional garb will sprint in advance of the charging toros along an almost 1-km-long track. Whether you take part in the actual running or just watch from the sidelines or balconies, it’s an amazing spectacle to behold. Ole!
Bastille Day, France
Whether you’d like to celebrate French Independence in charming rural towns, lavish seaside resorts, or in the heart of the capital, Paris, fireworks displays, parades, and festivals galore all but guarantee you’ll have a grand time. The wine will flow and the ambience will be merry whatever your French destination on July 14th, Bastille Day.