Diamonds are eternal and so is Antwerp, design, fashion, and gastronomic capital, is the jewel in the crown of Flanders.
When you step into the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel, you’ll think you can hear the whistling bird of the iconic Alessi kettle. The interior architecture is, in fact, by the American designer Michael Graves (1934-2015). From the window of your room, and from those in the Park Inn By Radisson Hotel located next door, you’ll see Astrid Square and one of the most sumptuous monuments in Belgium: Antwerp Central Train Station (1905).
A block away, you won’t miss having a look at the De Winkelhaak Design Center store. The Belgian Essentials Gallery, known as “BEG”, offers 100% Belgian essential goods made by some great designers such as Pieter Stockmans, Nedda El-Asmar, Margot Thyssen, etc.
Antwerp, the world’s diamond capital, also features… the Diamond Museum, a short walk from the hotel, in an interactive and fun 1,200 m2, setting, displaying various collections, a laboratory, as well as a workshop of Antwerp diamond cutters.
A 15-minute walk will lead you to the Rubenhuis at the Place Wapper, the magnificent Renaissance home of the painter Rubens, where still lifes were painted and an art studio and large workshop were housed. From June 1st, don’t miss the exhibition on the work of Michaelina Wautier (1614-1689), a contemporary of the artist behind The Conversion of Saint Paul. Or perhaps you’d prefer the exhibition The Sky is the Limit at the Rockoxhuis Museum (from March 25 to July 2).
Last of all, while nibbling local pastries (koffiekoeken) including the famous Antwerpse handjes or “Antwerp hands”, you can stroll around this fashion capital and have dinner at The Jane. Here, under stained-glass windows with tattoo themes, the multi-award winning gastronomy of the Dutch chef Sergio Herman, is served. From 11pm you can go there just to have a glass of wine and to appreciate its techno soundtrack as well as the decor.