Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp, a beautiful city in Belgium, is one of the world’s major seaports, situated on the Scheldt River, about 55 miles from the North Sea. Belgium has three official languages (Dutch, French and German). However, the official language of the Antwerp province is Dutch, as is the case in all Flemish provinces.

An interesting statue, to be found outside the Antwerp Town Hall (picture below) explains the name of the city, which derives from a legendary story. A mythical giant named Antigoon lived by Scheldt river and demanded a toll from all those who crossed the river. If anyone refused to pay, Antigoon would sever one of their hands and throw it into the river. One day, Brabo, a brave young soldier, cut off the giant’s hand and tossed it in the river. Hence the name Antwerpen which in Dutch means ‘to throw a hand.’ According to another theory, the name of the city derives from anda and werpun, meaning ‘at the wharf.’

Antwerp hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics, the first Games after World War One, being the only Olympic Games to be hosted in Belgium. An interesting fact for this city is that 80-90 percent of the world rough diamonds, and 50 percent of its cut diamonds are traded in Antwerp each year, making this city The World’s Capital of Diamonds. 

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