No matter how hard you’ll try, you won’t be able to leave Antwerp without seeing our beautiful city hall. I am sure your tour guide has an elaborate article dedicated to this beautiful Renaissance building, which happens to be UNESCO Heritage.
Locals call this edifice “‘t schoon verdiep.” In doing so, they refer to the beautiful first floor where the mayor of Antwerp kicks back and relaxes during these harsh economic times. All thanks to Salvus Brabo, a hero with Roman roots.
This combatant slew the giant, Antigoon, who taxed all the ships seeking to enter the harbour, 50 percent of their stock (even worse than our current government). After a rigorous battle, he cut off the hand from the giant and threw it into the river. Given the fact that the behemoth had done the same with the hands of revolting sailors, this repercussion was well-suited. The statue that honours this brave Roman warrior is situated in front of the prime location that houses all of the city’s official receptions and occasional weddings.
This legend explains how Antwerp got its name. The two Dutch words “hand” and “werpen”, which mean hand and throwing, were concatenated into “Antwerpen.” Either way, with no giants around, except for the local basketball team, our mayor is at ease.
Enjoy wandering around the square in front of this stupendous structure, where my favourite statue is located, and enjoy the view. Try to spot some chopped off hands as well while you are at it.