Our tips for a day on the 'Eilandje'
We're halfway through summer and temperatures are still tropical for the time being. The perfect time for a trip to Antwerp. AntwerpPhoto takes place in the historical Loodswezengebouw (Piloting Building), on the bank of the Scheldt River. The Loodswezengebouw is in the lively neighbourhood ‘het Eilandje’, where there is plenty to see, do and taste, all within walking distance from Antwerp’s city center.
Antwerp is easily reached by train: Central Station has been at the top of the list of the world’s most beautiful train stations for years. Did you know that you can buy your train ticket and entry ticket to AntwerpPhoto at a discount rate with a B-daytrip ticket?
From Antwerp Central Station you can reach the Eilandje on foot in about half an hour, by walking straight through Antwerp’s historical centre. By ‘Velo’ citybike the Eilandje is less than fifteen minutes away, and if the weather isn't great, tramline 7 takes you straight to the doorstep of the Loodswezengebouw.
First stop: AntwerpPhoto
Even when temperatures are skyrocketing, the Loodswezengebouw remains pretty cool. Especially the Corbijn exhibition spaces, which are located on the ground floor of the building, remain nice and chill. On a hot day we still however advise to plan your visit in the AM, the exhibitions are open from 10 AM on. Or enjoy the view on the Scheldt at sunset during our next nocturne on August 15.
Take your time to explore the Loodswezengebouw and the four exhibitions. A visit at an average pace takes about 1,5 hours. Afterwards you can browse our bookshop, which offers a beautiful selection of photobooks by the participating photographers, and have a complimentary cup of coffee in one of our lounge areas.
Lunch and culture in the neighbourhood
Just a stone’s throw from the Loodswezengebouw, you will find plenty of nice lunch spots with good terraces. At Story (Godefriduskaai 2), vegetarians are sure to find something to their liking and just across the Willemdok, there’s the cosy foodbar Cordoba (Napoleonkaai 1).
After a revitalizing lunch you can continue your exploration of the Eilandje. Some of the best museums in Antwerp are located in this area: the Museum aan de Stroom (Museum by the Stream) or MAS has a great permanent collection, and this summer also displays work by young photographer Athos Burez and paintings by Michaelina, the leading lady of baroque. Take the escalator to the roof and enjoy a breathtaking view on Antwerp from the observatory.
End the day with a cocktail
The Eilandje is also the place to be for summer pop-up bars. Within walking distance of the MAS, there are plenty of places where you can relax with a delicious cocktail: at Bocadero (Rijnkaai 150) you can sip your drink with your toes in the sand, just like at Jardim (Scheldekaai 28), a little further up the river. A bit more of a walk, but definitely worth your while, are the laidback Bar Paniek and the hip Lazy Jack, which also serves food. Both are on the Kattendijkdok-Oostkaai, and highly recommendable for watching the sun set.