I recently got back from a short winter trip to Belgium. During my stay I visited two of Belgium’s major cities – Antwerp and Ghent. I initially intended only to visit Antwerp, but on my return trip I managed to create some time exploring the dark and gothic city Ghent. Whenever the opportunity arises I love to dabble in photography. Belgium aesthetically was amazing. The city offered up plenty of great subjects to capture both culturally and architecturally. I’d have no problem in admitting, that the majority of my time in Belgium was spent looking up and avoiding things.
Antwerp is located on the river Scheldt and is best known for its Diamond trade and Fashion Industry; many Belgian designers choosing to study here. My lasting impression of Antwerp was how assessable everything was. I found being in Antwerp very easy which was an unexpected experience in an unknown major city. This allowed me the time to capture all of Antwerp’s main features and explore the city at my own pace.
Cathedral of Our Lady | Brabo Fountain
Architecturally Antwerp was stunning, with its seamless mix of both old and new architecture. At no time was there a point where I thought the old architecture didn’t compliment the new and vice versa. Antwerp’s central station is a brilliant example of this as it was nothing quite like anything I’d seen before. As you enter the station everything is as you expect – beautiful and traditional, with high ornate ceilings and a station clock. However, as you walk into the main area you are greeted with something totally different and unique, train platforms designed to operate over 3 levels. The central support beams of each level are illuminated and provide dramatic views across the station.
Antwerp’s central station was one of my architectural highlights and I’d love to revisit Antwerp in the summer, as I imagine it would have plenty more to offer.
Ghent is located in East Flanders and is the capital city of the province. Situated on the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys, it is primarily known for its port and university. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the richest and largest European cities and a centre for trade in the region. Like Antwerp, Ghent was brimming with culture and history but possessed a much darker and gothic vibe.
Ghent has a variety of stunning modern architecture which comfortably sits alongside its historic buildings. A good example of this is the famous Ghent Market Hall, which had been converted into a brilliant winter ice-rink. A great city, I can’t wait to go back as its left much to think about and more to explore.
Photos: Ellen Shelley