- 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
Carnival of Rijeka, Croatia
Tens of thousands attend the weeks-long festivities in Rijeka, which once had Europe’s most intense carnival life. Concerts, car rallies, charity balls, performances, and parties take place in the days leading up to the main event, the Carnival itself. Stages are set up all along the carnival route where you can ogle and admire all the festive carnival groups and participants.
La Tamborrada, Spain
The Basque city of San Sebastian thunders with excitement on 20 January, when regiment after regiment of drummers parade through the streets. You’ll be thumping along with them in celebration of the city’s patron saint. The festivities begin in Plaza de la Constitucíon at the stroke of midnight and continue for 24 hours.
International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo, Monaco
There’s plenty of fun to be had throughout the tiny French-speaking principality starting from the third Thursday each January. For 11 days artist troupes and trained animals from all over the world perform and charm crowds young and old. The International Circus Festival has been going strong for almost 40 years – if you’re in Monaco this January, you shouldn’t miss it.