Joy Anna Thielemans@joythielemans
22, Actress & Columnist, Antwerp - Belgium
Who better to introduce you to this lesser-known pearl on the river Schelde than the Belgian actress, Joy Anna Thielemans? You might remember her for her role as Jana in the hit Flemish soap opera, “Thuis”. Born and bred in Antwerp, her insider tips will soon make you feel just at home as she does in this multifaceted port town with an unmistakably international flavor! Just (en)Joy!
A compact, mobile, yet luxurious hotel that pops-up at unique locations around the city? Now that is my idea of “Sleeping Around”! The like-named pop-up hotel happened to occupy the city’s Left Bank (Linkeroever) for my stay, which couldn’t have been better scripted! A stone’s throw from the city just across the River Schelde and yet somehow worlds apart. The perfect spot to relax and recharge!
- Winter closed
If I could, I would not hesitate to move in to this hip and healthy eatery on Antwerp’s south side (‘t Zuid). Tinsel offers fresh and wholesome food, friendly staff and a cute interior: i.e. everything I need to be happy. The place’s owner and operator, Tine, puts her heart and soul into this place every day, baking fresh bread, cakes and other delights. Stop by for breakfast or lunch and be sure to try the Flower Fizz! Added bonus: free wifi!
- Monday 8.30am–4.00pm
- Wednesday–Thursday 8.30am–6.00pm
- Friday 8.30am–7.00pm
- Saturday–Sunday 9.00am–7.00pm
I just can’t resist this heavenly and luxurious boudoir-like store, filled with all manner of elegance by brands such as See by Chloé, Ba&sh, Paul & Joe Sister, Laurence Doligé and others. Besides clothing, you’ll also discover handcrafted jewelry, bags and accessories. Oh, and shoes! what would heaven be without shoes?
- Monday–Saturday 10.30am–6.00pm
Nationalestraat is the unofficial address of high fashion in Antwerp. And right alongside the Fashion Museum, there is an oasis of peace and tranquility to be found in bookstore, Copyright. There are thousands of mainly art books, I easily get lost here for hours. Being so close to the top of Belgian fashion, Copyright also carries the Eastpak fashion collabs like Kris Van Assche and Jean Paul Lespagnard.
- Tuesday–Saturday 11.00am–6.30pm
- Sunday 2.00pm–6.00pm
Welcome to the temple of Scandinavian design! The Danish brand, HAY, really pulled out all the stops for this concept store near Antwerp’s Kammenstraat. You’ll find everything the brand has to offer in this converted loft: from furniture to textiles to accessories. I’ll take one of each, please!
- Monday–Saturday 11.00am–6.00pm
Planning an adventure anytime soon? AS Adventure has a nice selection of Eastpak bags on the Meir, Antwerp’s high street. This is definitely the place to be for all would-be globetrotters, nature lovers and active leisure hedonists.
- Monday–Thursday 10.00am–6.00pm
- Friday–Saturday 10.00am–6.30pm
I need my daily dose of coffee and nothing is better than the "soort koffie” brewed with passion by the lovely crew at Caffenation. In summer, they have a fabulous terrace, but inside is just as cozy as well. Grab a coffee, open a book, get comfortable and greet the day with a smile.
- Monday–Friday 8.30am–7.00pm
- Saturday 9.00am–7.00pm
- Sunday 11.00am–6.00pm
Antwerp is a city of artists. The Museum of Modern Art has a varied offer of international exhibitions. One of the best reasons to visit the museum is for its café and, more precisely, its terrace. MUHKAFE boasts some of the best views in the city. And when you’re done admiring Antwerp’s city skyline, you marvel at the work of Keith Haring, who left his mark here in 1987 in the form of an impressive mural.
- Tuesday–Sunday 11.00am–6.00pm
- Thursday 11.00am–9.00pm
In the bustling streets of De Wilde Zee and Lombardenvest, you will find the restaurant Hungry Henrietta. This strategically located eatery is the ideal spot for lunch for those looking to take a load off after a busy morning shopping. Enjoy impeccable service and quality food with a French twist in the stylish interior or on the sunny terrace.
- Monday–Friday 12.00pm–2.00pm
- Monday–Friday 6.00pm–9.00pm
Picture this: a boat on the river Schelde with a swimming pool on it. No it’s not a dream, it is actually real. This 120-meter ship docked at 't Eilandje has been transformed into an open air swimming pool with all the facilities. Access is limited, so you need to make a reservation if you want to swim. But the experience is totally worth it. You feel like you are swimming in the dock itself, while ships pass you by against the beautiful backdrop of Antwerp’s city skyline.
- Winter closed
Located in what used to be an industrial railway yard, Park Spoor Noord is now a green haven in the north of Antwerp and a perfect example of successful urban development. You can find people lounging here for hours at the water fountains. The Cargo summer bar offers food and drinks, grab your flip-flops and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
- Monday–Sunday 10.00am–12.00am
- Winter closed
I admit it, I’m not much into clubbing. Rather give me a hip and happening café like Korsakov, for instance. Whether it’s for a quick or lingering coffee break during the day, a glass of organic wine in the evening or Belgian beers at night, this bar in the city centre has something for everyone. There are free live concerts on most Wednesdays and Sundays. The second floor is worth checking out with its vintage furniture and writing on the walls. It kinda feels like Berlin, such an inspiring place!
- Monday–Wednesday 11.00am–3.00am
- Thursday–Saturday 11.00am–4.00am
- Sunday 12.00am–2.00am
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Photography by Jens Mollenvanger