With spring on its way, check at what time the sun sets on a semi-cloudy day and go to the Kaaien half an hour before the sun goes into the water. Sit on the quay or go to the little bridge at ‘Zuiderterras’.
Do you see the ugly wall that is splitting the parking lot from the sidewalk? Those are call the ‘kaaimuren’. When the Schelde is rising, those walls are closed to protect the city from the flood. I’ve lived in Antwerp for 8 years and I noticed it once.
But look closer, the Kaaimuren are covered with Dutch sentences (mine is between them too!). In 2010 every Antwerp inhabitant could submit a sentence about the city. Afterwards they were painted on those walls. Crazy idea, but it gives merit to the city’s motto ”t Stad is van iedereen!’ = ‘The city belongs to all of us!’
If you head more to the left, you will see that they are constructing some part of the Kaaien, managed by Sigma Plan in order to better protect Flanders against flooding by the Scheldt and its tributaries. At the same time, the magnificent nature of the Scheldt region is also being restored. And, the Sigma Plan includes a focus on the economic role the Scheldt plays as one of Europe’s busiest navigable rivers.
Start at the ‘Grote Markt’, head to the water, walk left and just continue as close as you can get to the water and find your place away from the tourists.