8 Het Eilandje Belgium, Antwerp

Hip Culture Outpost
Creative Capital
Traveller Value
Hip Hangout Score 23

Best spots for a caffeine hit

New in 2017, the Black & Yellow coffee shop isn’t your stereotypical cafe. Rather than chill music on the stereo, you’ll find hip hop and it’s not afraid to laugh off its silly coffee shop antics. It’s a fun and friendly hangout—the type of place you can meet strangers and where there’s no judgement over spilt milk.

Most instagrammable places to visit

Het Eilandje is as famous for its sights as for its architecture. The docks provide countless photo moments, whether it’s the block-like structure at the MAS (Musem aan de Stroom) or the shining diamond-like Port House. But don’t forget to walk along the river Scheldt, as well, for the large barges and colourful boats parked within some of the docks.

Mouth-watering must-eats/drinks

Alongside the docks, Felix Pakhuis is a restaurant and event space inside one of the large renovated warehouses that make up the Eilandje district. Most famous for its sunset views (with a cocktail), the Felix Pakhuis menu covers the full gamut of Belgian classics and also offers weekend brunches (book early!).

Key facts

  1. Currency: Euro
  2. Avg flight time: 1hr
  3. Avg cost of hotel room per night: £126.50
  4. Avg flight cost: £75
  5. Famous for: Its unique blending of old and new; maritime history meets modern architecture and a recent cultural rejuvenation to create this unique Antwerpen neighbourhood

Het Eilandje (“The Little Island”) is Antwerp’s oldest port area with cobblestoned streets where diamond dealers and other imports/exports made their way into Europe (Antwerp is Europe’s second largest port). Historic buildings still stand, but the area is most notable for its iconic architecture such as the Museum aan de Stroom (opened in 2011) and the Antwerp Port House (built in 2016). The Port House’s iconic imagery in the shape of a diamond makes the Eilandje region sparkle today—and the towering structure offers panoramic views over Antwerp and the port at large—a modern landmark for Antwerp’s most historic district. The MAS offers a historical and political take on Antwerp and the world through unique exhibitions atypical for a museum but also shows contemporary art inside and out (including new public sculptures adorning the building’s exterior).

Once a working dock, the Het Eilandje area today is a popular hangout for freelancers and other creatives looking for that aquatic inspiration. Coffee shops like SANBA and Black & Yellow cater to tourists and locals alike with funky interiors, cosy workspaces and a calm resting place between visiting the nearby tourist attractions.

Just on the edge of Eilandje between the port and the Antwerp city centre, the Park Spoor Noord is a renovated park made out of the old railyards. Skate parks, public fountains and even an indoor playpark make it a chill hangout for everyone no matter their age—and outdoor concerts take place here in the summer making the area lively day and night.

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