Look north in fashion-conscious Antwerp

More edited highlights from the summer workload as part of an ongoing series.

This week: urban regeneration and pure cocoa in Antwerp.

Tom Le Clef

Heading north

Antwerp may be the world’s fourth largest port but the buzz is all about café culture not containers.

A whole new district of the city, Het Eilandje (Small Island), the docklands to the north of the Old Town, is taking shape around the soon-to-open museum, Museum aan de Stroom (MAS).

To be fair, the urban renaissance is still a bit work in progress, but the slow-progress evolution is even tempting the traditionally reserved Antwerp residents to explore the shabby-chic north.

Tom Le Clef, manager of the Felixpakhuis lounge and restaurant, says: “People said we were crazy to open up here but now the area is really taking shape.”

Cocoa hit

Across town, another major new opening is The Chocolate Line, the new shop from chocolatier to the stars Dominique Persoone.

Next to the lavish displays of chi-chi chocs, the open kitchen lets visitors pick up some of the secrets of a chocolate-crafting master at work. If you’re adventurous, enquire about a pure cocoa hit from the chocolate shooter. Well, it was good enough for Keith Richards …

Dominique Persoone


Travel with Railbookers; information from Tourism Flanders-Brussels.

Read more in the Independent on Sunday on September 12.

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