Antwerp is Belgium’s second-largest city and a lively center of Flemish culture. At the center of the city is the Grote Market, with access to many sights like the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Cathedral, widely recognized as one of the finest Gothic churches in all of Europe. Built in the 15th century, the church attracts visitors for its display of four early Rubens paintings. Nearby is the Plantin-Moretus Museum which occupies the old mansion of Rubens’ father-in-law, and provides interesting insight into how the printing business was run. The National Scheepvaartmuseum is a maritime museum occupying what was once a medieval fortress. Next to it is the Gothic church of St. Pauluskerk, which is known for its paintings depicting the Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, as well as the painting “The Scourging of the Pillar” by Rubens. Rubenshuis is the former home and studio of the popular painter, and is a very popular museum today.
The ModeNatie is a huge complex that showcases some of the avante-garde fashion that Antwerp is famous for. Part of the building contains the Mode Museum which has some excellent contemporary fashion displays. Nearby you can find the Koninklijk Museum which has one of the country’s best fine art collections, including several rooms devoted to, who else, Rubens.