I am leaving Antwerp soon and after ten weeks of living here, I have discovered some absolute gems worth sharing. I am going to miss this small and wonderful city that I first wanted to visit after cutting out an article about the city's fashion wonder when I was a teenager. I think I still have it somewhere. Pay close attention to the tips below if you are interested in fashion, art and good tea.
1. Stock Sales
So the fashion stock sales are not exactly cheap but if you are into Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester or any Belgian fashion designer, you need to check it out. The selections are huge so it's a great way to see past collections at once. Some of them sell also fabrics for a good deal. And on the last day there are usually reductions...
Kringwinkels are the local recycling centres with just about everything from furniture to Christmas decorations. I found Olivier Theyskens pants from the sale rack (3,75 euros), so keep your eyes open.
3. MoMu + Copyright Bookshop
The fashion museum MoMu with Copyright Bookshop is the perfect activity for a chill afternoon. If you're under 26 bring your ID to get a reduced price ticket.
4. FoMu + Maagdenhuismuseum
Antwerp's photography museum FoMu has top exhibitions, the curation is spot on. Also check out Maagdenhuis, an historic girls orphanage turned into Antwerp's smallest museum that has an interesting social photography exhibition going on at the moment with works from Boris Mikhailov, Diane Arbus and more.
5. Cafe Tinsel
Try the brownie. It's amazing. Located close to FoMu.
Antwerp has different kind of festivals that take place in cool locations. In Grafixx, a graphic design festival, I ended up drinking Duvel and watching animation shorts in a dimly lit cinema room with inviting sofas.
Concert venue with great variety of bands and reasonable ticket prices. There are also free gigs by up-and-coming Belgian bands at the cozy bar. In Belgium beer is cheap, so opt for that.
8. Qualitea Time
A tea shop with friendly staff who know how to make a great cup of tea. Great selection of teas to taste and buy to drink at home. Try Japanese Genmaicha tea with rice that leaves a sweet taste in your mouth.
Colruyt is a supermarket with a confusing concept. It looks and feels like Ikea but there is always complimentary wine, coffee and different snacks free to take as much as you want. It's genius.
The best second hand in town. Favorite finds include a Dries Van Noten skirt, Armani pants and a Brunello Cucinelli knit for 1-2 euros each. It's located in Turnhoutsebaan 10 and has limited opening hours: Mondays and Tuesdays from 10-12 and Thursdays from 9.30 to 13.
So that's my list. I hope to see you again one day Antwerp! Until then I will drink cherry beer and wear Raf Simons stock sale finds.