The best thing about Antwerp are the people and the culture. There's a very eclectic mix of people in Antwerp. They're from different backgrounds and different cultures. And, of course, the fact that it's considered a fashion capital. In the area near the MoMu, or Fashion Museum, you'll find lots of people with an incredible sense of style.
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If you're looking to buy craft supplies, you have Pipoos, a Dutch chain of craft stores. They have all the general craft supplies: paper crafts, fimo, felting, knitting, painting, jewelry crafts, etc. I always go to the one in the Jezusstraat in Antwerp, but there's also one in the shopping center of Wijnegem, which is only a 20 minute drive or busride away from the city center. Pipoos is great, but it's not exactly cheap. If I need things like paint or googley eyes "in bulk", I go to De Banier. Chiro, a youth movement here in Belgium, get their supplies here too. Veritas is a store located on Antwerp's shopping street: De Meir. They carry things like sewing supplies, beads and wool. This is one of my favorite shops. And lastly, for all your beading needs, you can go to Zahia in the Everdijstraat in Antwerp.
Antwerp also has some very inspiring places. As I mentioned before, you have the MoMu, the Fashion Museum, in the Nationalestraat. The entrance fee is really cheap and they also offer student discounts. In my opinion, their exhibits are always very interesting and varied. At the end of the school year, you can also check out the final projects from the graduating fashion students. You can visit the Stadspark if you like sitting in parks. Just don't go there at night, as it's quite unsafe.
If you like architecture, our central station is the place to be. I believe it was named the second most beautiful train station in the world. Either way, it's worth a visit. And right next to the central station, is the Zoo! Opposite the station, there's our tiny China town. It's not actually a town, it's a single street, but they have a few fun shops.
Eat & Drink
The Groenplaats is a very cozy square. You can have a bite to eat and something to drink in one of the many taverns that surround the square, but they are incredibly overpriced. So, I recommend you get a sandwich to go at one of the (cheaper) places in the side streets and go sit under the statue of Rubens (watch out for the pigeons), while admiring our beautiful cathedral.
Also near the cathedral, there's a bar called 't Paetersvaetje, where you can order all different kinds of alcohol. (They also serve non-alcoholic drinks, for the people who don't drink). If you would like to try a genuine Antwerp beer, you should order Seefbier. You have to be 16 or older, though. For the over 18's there's Elixir d'Anvers, which is a hard liquor.
There's a store in Merksem, a 10 minute busride from the city center, called De Effenaar, which offers a large collection of paint supplies. Definitely worth a visit. The shop owners are very friendly and helpful. Every year they organize a craft fair in Antwerp Expo, where you can find crafting supplies you don't find as easily somewhere else. I believe you can reserve a stand to sell your crafts or supplies. I'm not sure about this, as I've never tried it
See Something Special
Then, of course, you have the Grote Markt, with the incredible architecture and the statue of Brabo, depicting how Antwerp got its name. Don't sit under that statue, though, you might get wet.
Take Home A Souvenir
They sell all kinds of souvenirs in Antwerp, but if you want to take something home that's typical for Antwerp, get some "Antwerpse handjes" or Antwerp hands. They are delicious cookies, that you can get at any bakery. What I wrote here, is only a fraction of what Antwerp has to offer. I wrote about my favorite places and things to do, but there's so much more. Come discover it for yourself!
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