Antwerp (city)


October 17, 2021

Antwerp (French: Anvers) is a city in the Belgian region of Flanders. It is the capital of the province of Antwerp and of the district of the same name. Antwerp has approximately 529,000 inhabitants (2020), making it the largest municipality in Belgium in terms of population. In terms of surface area, it is the third largest municipality with 20,429 hectares, after Tournai and Couvin. The city is largely located on the right bank of the Scheldt and has an extensive port area with international freight transport. It is the second largest port in Europe after Rotterdam. The petrochemical activity near Antwerp is of great economic importance. The city is also a world center for diamond trade. Antwerp is also the capital of the electoral district of Antwerp. The municipality itself has twelve judicial cantons. The city is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antwerp and the Anglican Archdeaconate of Northwestern Europe. The inhabitants of Antwerp are sometimes called Sinjoren, after the Spanish word señor. The city itself is abbreviated to 't Stad' by some of its inhabitants and is sometimes referred to as the 'Cookie City', the latter first because of the gingerbread in the sixteenth century and later because of the many cake factories in Antwerp. De Beukelaer and Parein were the best known of these.


The toponym "Antwerp" is explained toponymically and archaeologically from the name given to the site of the first settlement anda verpa. This is probably an Old Frankish designation for 'near the thrown grounds', for example in a bend of the river. From the twelfth century onwards, the word 'werplant' is known in Flanders, meaning 'silted land outside the dikes, salt marsh, salt marsh'. This word *werp should not be confused with werf, the Frisian word terp and the Groningen wierde. In the Vita Eligii from the early seventh century, the words Andoouerpenses and Andouerpis are used to indicate Antwerp. In addition, a Merovingian coin mentions the name Anderpus, possibly a corruption of Antwerp. According to classicist Alfred Michiels (2007) it was originally supposed to be a Celtic name, which can be explained as a Latin translation of the supposed *Ambidouesrepi, ie 'those who dwell on both banks'. For comparison, the English city of Andover, presumed to be Celtic in origin. Andover would mean "onn dwfr" in Welsh and then "poplar water". The Celtic origin is regularly taken up in the media. Germanists, however, are negative about this new theory.

Folk legend

In the middle of Antwerp's Grote Markt is the Brabo Fountain with a bronze statue of Silvius Brabo, who throws a large hand away. A legend from the fifteenth century tells that around the beginning of our era a giant, Druon Antigoon, reigned in the land of the Scheldt, who demanded a heavy toll from every skipper to be allowed to sail on the Scheldt. When a skipper refused to pay, his hand was cut off. A Roman warrior, Silvius Brabo, fought, conquered and killed the giant, then cut off his hand and threw him into the Scheldt. The liberated people called the city Antwerp, from 'hand casting'. The legend about the giant may have arisen after the discovery of inexplicably large bones, which later turned out to be whale bones.


The city coat of arms of Antwerp depicts a fortified castle. Above it are two loose hands. These should not be taken as a reference to the legend of 'hand throwing'. Rather, these hands seem to be old symbols for the rights of the monarch on the Scheldt and of the privileges of the city, namely the right of storage and storage on the one hand and toll freedom and escort on the Western Scheldt on the other.


Around 1400 Antwerp was still a relatively small city, with less than 10,000 inhabitants. In 1500 the city had about 50,000 inhabitants, around 1560 the number reached 100,000. Under Emperor Charles V, Antwerp was the most important trading city in Eu

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