Presiding over the vast Grote Markt, the 1565 stadhuis has a palatial facade blending Flemish and Italian styles in an innovative departure from the standard Gothic architecture of its day.

Designed by Cornelius Floris De Vriendt, the commanding gable is topped by a gilded eagle and flanked by statues representing wisdom and justice. However, the frontage is likely to remain semi-hidden by scaffolding while undergoing a major restoration that eventually plans to make more of the building accessible to visitors and to add a new layer of transparency to the democratic processes that operate here.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Antwerp attractions

1. Brabo Fountain

0.02 MILES

Piled with symbols in a refreshing fountain spray, this baroque sculpture's uppermost figure depicts Brabo, hero of Antwerp’s giant-killing, hand-throwing…

2. Grote Markt

0.03 MILES

As is the case with every great Flemish city, Antwerp’s medieval heart is a classic Grote Markt (market square). Here the triangular, pedestrianised space…

3. Vlaeykensgang

0.07 MILES

This picturesque passage dates to 1591 and was originally a street of shoemakers.

4. Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal

0.11 MILES

Belgium’s finest Gothic cathedral was 169 years in the making (1352–1521). Wherever you wander in Antwerp, its gracious, 123m-high spire has a habit of…

5. Statue of Lange Wapper

0.12 MILES

Outside Het Steen castle is a humorous statue of Lange Wapper, a tall folkloric ‘peeping Tom’ figure showing off his codpiece to two diminutive onlookers.

6. Het Steen

0.13 MILES

On a riverside knoll, Het Steen is a dinky but photogenic castle dating from 1200 and occupying the site of Antwerp’s original Gallo-Roman settlement…

7. Scheldt Riverbank

0.16 MILES

A raised southern promenade links Het Steen to St-Jansvliet, a tree-shaded square where a lift descends to the Sint-Annatunnel.

8. Rubens Statue

0.18 MILES

Presiding over Groenplaats, with Antwerp's cathedral rising splendidly behind it, this 1840s bronze Rubens statue was sculpted by Borgerhout-born…