19th C house in the centre of Antwerp

19th C house in the centre of Antwerp


Dec 2015

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4 Bedrooms
Sleeps 7
2 Bathrooms

About our home

Looking for swap/point rent for Spring 2017 in Chicago and NY.
OPEN TO OFFERS: If you do not mind living with our youngest son - a kind and helpful university student (history and philosophy) - you can make an offer for any time of the year, preferably for more than two weeks. We are writers, so always ready to pick up our laptop and go sit down in a different place...
Old house full of books, built in 1886, with ornate plasterwork, wooden flooring, chimneys, stained glass windows...
Located 400 meters from Antwerp Central Station and the nearest subway entrance, 200 meters from the tram and buses, and 150 meters from the closest bike docking station. Direct train and bus connection to Brussels'
Airport. Ten minutes’ walk to bus station with express bus Airport.
20 minutes walking distance from the Antwerp Cathedral, 10 minutes by direct tram. We are in a very quiet street in the middle of the city.
At ground floor level there is an impressive entrance hall leading into interconnecting living room with many period features and original fireplace and equipped kitchen. The kitchen opens onto the green city garden.
In the kitchen, large glass doors open to a sheltered garden which is fully equipped for outdoor dining (no barbecue). The house has many plants inside and outside (or all outside in the summertime). The house is a 225 square meter (2420 square foot) with a 72 square meter (775 square foot) city garden and a basement. It has an attic of 40 square meter (430 square foot).
The first floor (second floor for Americans) has a master bedroom with king size bed. The window opens to two terraces that overlook the garden. In the front there is a home office/study/library on this level.
The floors above has one room with double bed and 1 singles, a second room with. Two of those bedrooms have their own sink with hot water. From the top floor, you have a nice view over the quarter.
The house has a large bathroom with bath and shower (both with thermostatic water supply) and 2 toilets. There is a laundry room with washer (no dryer, we have lines for drying, for ecological reasons), a television, bikes, wifi, dish washer. The offices have ergonomic chairs and all necessaries to do desk work...
We try to run the house in an ecological way. We have avoided the use of synthetic paints and varnishes. There are sun panels on the roof. Each room as a thermostatic radiator (there is no heating in the hallway, so we keep the doors closed in the winter). All windows are double glass, even the stained glass windows, for comfort and for silence. We use mosquito nets rather than chemical repellents. We try to use soaps that are biodegradable. We appreciate all efforts to keep our house free of chemicals. There is a fire ladder in the back of the house. There are fire alarms. Wifi code indicated in each room. We have a lot of plants in the house. We love to swap with people who will water them, and we will be good at taking care of your plants while we are at your house.

Our Neighborhood
Old 19th century neighborhood, great atmosphere, friendly neighbors, very multi-cultural. One of the trendier areas of Antwerp: where artists and students live. Lots of culture, restaurants and bars within walking distance.

Getting Around
Antwerpen-Centraal train station is in our garden (sort of;-).
With direct trains to Brussels and Ghent (45 min.), Rotterdam (1 h.), Lille (1 h. 20 min.), Amsterdam and Paris (2 h.).
If you plan to travel within Belgium by train, make sure to buy a ‘Rail Pass’. It gives you the right to do ten rides. If you are under 26 years old, it is 51 euros for ten rides, five euro per ride, to ANY train station in Belgium. That is extremely cheap. If you are older than 26, it is 76 euro, 7,6 euro per ride, still not bad. Brugge is an direct train ride from here of 2 hours, Brussels is a direct of 45 minutes from here, Ghent also about the same. You can put several persons on the same Rail Pass. All info in English here: http://www.belgianrail.be/en/travel-tickets/passes-cards/rail-pass.aspx
Travel tip from an insider: if you travel between Belgium and the Netherlands, being very organized can cost you money. If you book your tickets ahead, you will easily be put on a high speed train that only saves you twenty minutes to a half hour. If you have time, do know that there is also hop on/hop off trains between Belgium and the Netherlands. They go every hour, are direct, and you just buy a ticket before you get on. Often, they are much cheaper than the high speed trains.
There are also extremely cheap busses called flixbus.

What to do in Antwerp?
Antwerp is rather compact. It is fun to walk to the mediaeval city. Bikes are here, but most of the time, when people get here, they decide not to use them, because the walk into the older parts of town is nice. We are in the immediate neighborhood of supermarkets, the subway, night shops, dozens of little restaurants, coffee & lunch places, cinema (UGC), Zoo, park, Meir (the main shopping street that connects to the smaller boutique area's and the fashion district). We are within walking distance from MAS, Rubens house, Plantin-Moretusmuseum, Cogels-Osylei, the city park, the Opera,.
Visit the Grote Markt (16th c.), Cathedral (gothic), Groenplaats, 't Zuid, FoMu, M HKA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Plantin-Moretus Museum, Rubens House, Rockox Museum, Museum Mayer van den Bergh (Breughel!), Fashion Museum, the MAS, Red Star Line Museum (of emigration), Open Air Sculpture Garden (one of the oldest in Europe), Grand Open Air Market (Saturday/Sunday), Botanic garden, the Zoo (19th c.), the city park, Park Spoor Noord, the art deco pedestrian tunnel (under the river), Henry Conscienceplein (with the baroque Carolus Borromeus Church), the Ruien (late medieval underground sewage system), Bourla Theatre, Schouwburg, Cogels Osy neighborhood (art nouveau streets), and so on. Shopping streets are Meir, Keyserlei, Kammenstraat, Nationale Straat, Huidevetterstraat, Schuttershofstraat, Hopland, Hoogstraat, Kloosterstraat (Antique Street), ...
In our house you will find a basket full of books and city guides on Antwerp, also historic information and maps.

Here is some some of my favorite spots in Antwerp, in case you can fit them into your schedule.
If you look for something to eat, make sure to go to Dageraadplein in Antwerp. Just next to Cogels-Osylei, 10 minutes walk from our house, the most beautiful place in Antwerp, to my mind. You will not believe the houses there:

MAS (museum at the stream) = a must;-)

My favorite museum is Plantin Moretus:

Antwerp also has a beguinage, most people are not aware of that. https://www.google.nl/search?q=Begijnhof,+Rodestraat+39&safe=off&espv=2&biw=1277&bih=659&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCnvH07o7PAhUaM8AKHauxDKcQ_AUIBygC#safe=off&tbm=isch&q=Begijnhof+Antwerpen

Museum of Fine Arts - with lots of beautiful, strong paintings - is closed until 2019, due to renovation of the building.
Most of the masterpieces are, however, redistributed over other places.
E.g. in the cathedral: must see.
Rockox house: https://www.rockoxhuis.be/nl/

For Museum Mayer van den Bergh you can find the masterpieces here:

For Flemish Primitives, you may also want to head to Ghent (Van Eyck's Lamb of God in the cathedral) or Brugge (Groeningemuseum):

The Antwerp Zoo is around the corner. It is somewhat expensive, but you are allowed to have a look inside, in the front yard: very nice.

Saturday and Sunday mornings: open air market at the Theaterplein.
And for a rainy day:

Most interesting, to discover the old town from beneath, but probably not when it is cold.
Something else 'beneath': the pedestrian tunnel under the river.
Also: Middelheim museum, a beautiful open air sculpture garden. And it's free.
When it's nice weather and weekend, head for Park Spoor Noord; good atmosphere.
You can walk through the multicultural quarter of Antwerp North towards the park.
If you want to see a real Bruegel: This is the one with Bruegel:

In Antwerp we have a separated trash disposal. Plastic bottles, metal packaging and drinking cartons need to be recycled. If you're not sure, just ask.

Our medical doctor lives across the street. If you need him, we will contact him for you.

Parking is possible in the neighborhood, 3.75 euro per day, free on Sundays.

Please note that as the house is four stories over basement level. It may therefore not be suitable for persons with mobility issues - sorry about that...


Anne's reviews

As a host (6)

More about us

  1. My husband and I are writers. We write essays and fiction. Cornelius finished his Master in European Studies (U of Leuven), Martha finished her Master's in Philosophy and is now going to the U of Chicago, Basil is starting his Bachelor's History (U of Antwerp)

  2. Our house is very well equipped for anyone who wants to sit down and work. It is also in the eye of the storm: very quiet neighborhood very close to the action.

  3. We have lots of house exchange experience, all of them extremely positive.

Swap availability

Open to offers
Not Available

Where is it?


Buzzy restaurants
Old 19th century neighborhood, great atmosphere, friendly neighbors, very multi-cultural. One of the more trendy areas of Antwerp: where artists and students live. Lots of culture, restaurants and bars within walking distance. The historic centre is close by as well.
Cool bars
Borgerhout, or, 'Boho' as we like to call it ;-) is a young vibrant and multicultural neighbourhood. There are plenty of new, alternative and artistic venues. There are nice and cosy bars and restaurants and bakeries just a few steps away. Borgerhout is also an up and coming neigbourhood for young artists with many art galleries popping up. Apart from this, we will give you a map of Antwerp when you arrive and explain you where the exciting places are, depending on what interests you. We love the Grote Markt, Cathedral, Antique Street, Groenplaats, 't Zuid, FoMu, MoMu, Museum van de Hedendaagse Kunsten, Plantijn Moretius Museum, Modenatie, Kammenstraat, Vrijdagmarkt, Vreemdelingenmarkt, kruidentuintje (botanic garden), MAS, voetgangerstunnel, Linkeroever, Henry Conscienceplein, Toneelhuis, Schouwburg, Cinema Zuid, Cartoons. Shopping streets are Meir, Keyserlei, Kammenstraat, Nationale Straat, Huidevetterstraat, Schuttershofstraat, Hopland, Kloosterstraat,...
Bit of culture
Western Europe's Best-kept Secret Nish Gera in Huffington Post 24 feb 2016 A city in the north of Belgium with a population of just over half a million is a place that you may likely not have heard of, since it does not appear that prominently on the more mainstream tourist itineraries. Cities by the sea usually have a lot of character that comes from a flux of trade and people. Antwerp, with its portside location and unique history, is one such city. For starters, eighty percent of the world's traded diamonds pass through here. The centuries old diamond trade is one of the many reasons why this city always seems to be in its golden age. Also, over the course of about six decades before the Second World War, over two and a half million people passed through here on their way to a new life in America, carrying with them countless dreams. Antwerp was the main port of call for the Red Star Line, the shipping company that carried them across the Atlantic. They were seeking their fortunes in the promised lands of North America, landing in Ellis Island in New York, in Boston and Philadelphia and in various ports in Canada. They came from all over Europe, escaping poverty, discrimination, famine and many hundreds of thousands of them making a fortuitous escape before the war began. Many of them were Jews escaping imminent persecution and death. Albert Einstein and Irving Berlin were the two most famous names that followed this same route through Antwerp. The city of Antwerp is where they all gathered, often carrying all their worldly possessions and hopes with them, fearful whether they will pass the required medical examinations to be considered fit enough for the New World. Being diagnosed with Trachoma, an infectious eye disease, for example, meant a definite denial to board the ship. All of this after journeys that often lasted weeks or even months for many who came from far flung places in Eastern Europe. These journeys are now chronicled in the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp. Today, Antwerp is a dynamic and prosperous city with a thriving fashion, design, food, and nightlife scene. It is one of the major hubs of the European fashion scene and is home to the 'Antwerp Six', a group of six avant-garde fashion designers that includes world famous names such as Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester. Since great fashion goes hand in glove with unique design, Antwerp is also home to one of the largest concentrations of design-oriented concept stores, displaying everything from footwear to artisanal home wares. With over seven higher education institutes, it is a city with a lot of young people. Add to that the concerted efforts of the city authorities to promote and incent entrepreneurial ventures, and you get a city pulsating with vigor and energy. As if all of this weren't enough, Antwerp has earned some top accolades for its food scene as well. A restaurant here was recently voted the world's most beautiful restaurant. The Jane, a Michelin-starred gem, is housed in an ex-military hospital chapel transformed into a modern gothic space. You don't have to necessarily splurge to find great food here. And even that café around the corner will serve your coffee and cake in a way that is reminiscent of a time when afternoons were more luxurious. Most bars here serve a range of great beers - you are in Belgium after all! Antwerp was also home to the baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens and his apprentice Anthony Van Dyck. For art history buffs, a visit to the house where Rubens spent twenty-five years painting - The Rubenshuis - is an absolute must. Like a lot of cities in Europe, Antwerp is really well connected by train to major cities like Brussels and Amsterdam. In fact, the central station, with its art deco hall and towering dome, is regularly voted one of the world's most beautiful railway stations. When we tell these Antwerp stories to our friends in the States and elsewhere who have never visited it, we often get bemused looks. And from those that have visited, there is a shared recognition of having discovered a city rich in its past and present. It's refreshing to know that even in this age of rapid global information sharing, there are still some well-kept secrets, which only adds that much wanted spark of serendipity and joy to travel.

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