Dutch-speaking Antwerp is a port and provincial capital in Flanders, one of Belgium’s three regions. By 1560 it had become the second-largest European city north of the Alps. Antwerp is famous for having been the home of Peter Paul Rubens, and the 14th-century Cathedral of Our Lady contains four major works by the painter. Rubens died in May 1640 and is buried in St. James’ Church. Today, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts has a magnificent collection of old masters, including paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and Titian.
In August every year, the Bollekesfeest is a showcase for regional products such as beer from the De Koninck brewery; Elixir d’Anvers, a locally made liqueur; roasted coffee from Koffie Verheyen; and Poolster pickled herring. We still fondly remember our sensational dinner at ‘t Zilte, a Michelin two-star restaurant with memorable water views just north of Antwerp’s old center.