Antwerp, a city known for its rich history and vibrant culture, is home to many hidden gems waiting to be discovered. One such treasure is the picturesque neighborhood of Zurenborg.
With its beautiful Belle Époque architecture, tree-lined streets, and cozy cafes, Zurenborg is a must-visit destination for those looking to explore the quieter, more charming side of Antwerp.
Getting to Zurenborg
Zurenborg can be easily accessed from Antwerp city center within 30 minutes. As it sits between Antwerp and the district of Berchem, public transportation is a convenient choice. Whether you’re taking a bus, tram, or simply walking, signs leading to Zurenborg are aplenty.
If you arrive with a bus or tram, get off at Antwerpen Zurenborg station and take 5-minute walk to a small square called Dageraadplaats, where our walking tour begins.
Notable Houses to See in Zurenborg
The Sunflower (Zonnebloem)
A testament to Jules Hofman’s genius, The Sunflower house resonates with the organic themes typical of Art Nouveau. With delicate floral motifs, travelers will appreciate the intricate details and the house’s ability to make a connection with nature in an urban environment.
Location: Cogels Osylei 50
The Battle of Waterloo
Crafted by Frans Smet-Verhas, this house is not just an architectural wonder but a historical canvas. With detailed scenes from the pivotal Battle of Waterloo, travelers can immerse themselves in a significant European event. The house showcases how architecture and history can converge to tell a compelling story.
Location: Waterloostraat 11
Ensemble De Morgend, Den Dag, Den Tijd, De Nacht en Den Avond
More than just buildings, this ensemble narrates the timeless journey from dawn to dusk. As travelers move from one house to another, they’ll be taken through the progression of a day, with each house exuding the mood and ambiance of its respective time. It’s a unique experience where architecture mirrors the rhythm of life.
Location: Waterloostraat 55-63
The 4 seasons
Joseph Bascourt’s creation is a tribute to nature’s cyclic beauty. Travelers visiting this house will be visually transported through spring’s bloom, summer’s warmth, autumn’s golden hues, and winter’s frosty embrace. It’s a reminder of the eternal dance of seasons and nature’s perennial beauty.
Location: Generaal van Merlenstraat 27-30
Another masterpiece by Joseph Bascourt, the “Boreas” house, named after the Greek god of the North Wind, combines Grecian motifs with Art Nouveau fluidity. For travelers, it offers a unique blend of ancient mythology and modern architectural flair, demonstrating the endless possibilities of artistic expression.
Location: Transvaalstraat 56
Designed by Joseph Bascourt, this building stands out for its eclectic architecture. Merging various architectural trends found in Zurenborg, it’s a visual representation of the diverse styles that make the neighborhood unique. For travelers, De Zevensterre offers an insight into the artistic liberties architects took during the fin-de-siècle era.
Location: Cogels-Osylei 17
Start: Dageraadplaats (Dawn Square)
Once you arrive at Dageraadplaats, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the distinctive architecture that defines Zurenborg. The best way to experience this neighborhood’s charm is by taking a leisurely stroll from here. Many cozy cafes and restaurants can also be found in and around the square.
Head to Cogels-Osylei
Head towards this iconic street known for its beautifully preserved Belle Époque and Art Nouveau houses. Marvel at the ornate facades and intricate detailing on each building.
Named after the famous Battle of Waterloo, houses here recall the historic event. Notable houses include the one at Waterloostraat 30, adorned with a silhouette of Napoleon.
A continuation of the architectural marvels. As you stroll, observe the detailed facades and the stories they tell.
Generaal van Merlenstraat
Make a slight detour here to witness the houses representing the four seasons. From Lente (Spring) to Winter, these houses are an epitome of artistic craftsmanship.
Make your way to Dageraadplaats again
This will allow you to walk down the streets you might have missed initially. Perhaps grab a bite or a coffee at one of the local establishments.
End: Antwerp-Berchem Railway Station
If you have time and energy, consider walking to Berchem Railway Station. It’s another architectural gem and a perfect spot to end your Zurenborg adventure. From here, Antwerp Central Station is just one stop away and it takes 5 minutes.
As you explore Zurenborg, take your time to admire these remarkable houses, each telling a unique story of the architectural heritage of the neighborhood. These architectural treasures not only showcase the creativity of their designers but also offer a glimpse into the history and artistic spirit of the Belle Époque and Art Nouveau periods in Belgium.
The time required to walk through Zurenborg largely depends on the depth of your exploration. If you’re simply strolling through the main streets like Cogels Osylei, Transvaalstraat, and Waterloostraat, admiring the architecture, you could spend approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. This time allows for a leisurely pace and some photo stops.
However, if you plan to delve deeper into the history, perhaps take guided tours inside some of the buildings, visit cafes or restaurants in the area, or cover more streets and squares like Dageraadplaats, then you could easily spend 3 to 4 hours or even more.
- Quick walk and exterior admiration: 1 to 1.5 hours
- Comprehensive exploration: 3 to 4 hours or more.
The Antwerp city organized guided tours in Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian. Visit “Experience Antwerp” for more information and availability.
Spring and summer offer pleasant weather, allowing you to fully enjoy the outdoor experience. The longer daylight hours ensure you get the best views of the intricate architectural details.
Yes, Zurenborg is primarily residential. While exploring, it’s crucial to respect the privacy of the inhabitants. Avoid being too loud, and if you’re taking photographs, focus on the buildings rather than capturing the residents.
Zurenborg occasionally hosts local festivals, art exhibitions, and street markets. It’s a good idea to check local event calendars or consult with your hotel concierge for any ongoing events during your visit.