Before you is a beautifully illustrated picture book Wonderful Antwerp which carries the aptly named subtitle: ‘A Story of fine Dining, Spirit and Style’. The photos that are equally styled and intriguing are made by Henk van Cauwenbergh’s lens. His love for Antwerp is obvious. His father, city guide and professional Antwerpian George, taught the man to look fondly at his city and to love her with all his heart.
With this book, Henk follows in the footsteps of his esteemed late father who left us suddenly ten years ago and joins the high and mighty, not all of whom are still with us today, unfortunately. There is Filip Tas († 1997), for example, or Gerald Dauphin († 2007) and Marc Langrange († 2015). There are Cor Hageman and Raoul Van Den Boom who have immortalized Antwerp’s theatre and jazz scene. Photographers who, like Henk van Cauwenbergh, have placed Antwerp as a kaleidoscopic mosaic on the map.
Anyone browsing through this book will want to take the day off and tramp around the city on spec. If you mention Antwerp, people immediately think of our port, which is performing better every year, or of the world’s capital city of diamonds. And especially of a bustling city where fashion, culture, shopping and all the pleasures of the good life come together and are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike every day.
Expats, job seekers, academics and creative dreamers and doers from all over the world know why they choose Antwerp for the short or long haul. Many fall in love with Antwerp and are reluctant to move. Antwerp is a fast link to Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and London. Compared to these cities, living in Antwerp is inexpensive. And since Antwerp is a pocket-sized metropolis, there are courtyards and hidden architectural gems within easy walking or cycling distance, as you will find a few illustrated in this book.
This book will introduce you to a sample of places where life is lived to the full every day and every night. Where people enjoy simple, delicious or exquisite dining in pleasant company. In Antwerp, good dining comes in all shapes and sizes, ranging from star restaurants, right through to brasseries and taverns. Nouvelle cuisine, grandmother’s kitchen or a quick bite. In Antwerp, we eat Flemish food, but also French, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish. Once you have chosen Antwerp as your home, there is no need to go out for years. Fortunately, Antwerp still has more than a handful of brown pubs. Where dock workers, civil servants and lawyers come together to put the world to rights. Trendy coffee bars are popping up everywhere. And whoever thinks closing time is too early, there is always a stylish wine bar, an intimate nightclub or a stomping discotheque.
Antwerp gives you the glad eye, is on the prowl and will entice you. Always.
Bart De Wever