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Antwerp Central Station : a historical, Art Nouveau monument

Antwerp Central Station is a source of national pride in Belgium and one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. In fact, it even doubles as an Art Nouveau museum.

Throughout the world, the beauty of train stations is evaluated based on their architectural style and the complexity of their decorations. Antwerp Central Station, a Flemish hallmark, is a graceful construction of stone, glass, and metal that was first built in 1905. Ten years ago, renovations restored the building’s Art Nouveau charm and made it into a tourist attraction in its own right.

Art Nouveau at Antwerp Central Station

The historical building of this cathedral of railways, which welcomes the Thalys trains that run between Paris and Amsterdam, features recessed-panelled cupolas and towers decorated with roof lights. Its majestic hall is topped by a 75-metre-high dome and includes over twenty different types of marble as well as Doric, Tuscan, Ionic, and Corinthian columns.

Antwerp Central Station dome
The dome, which recalls that of the Pantheon in Rome, is worthy of any Baroque palace. © DR
Antwerp Central Station clock
The principal clock in the main hall is decorated with the city’s coat of arms. © DR

A trip back through Belgian history

Located on Reine Astrid Square, the building, which bears testament to the ambitious tastes of the time, has become an integral part of Antwerp’s urban landscape. Looking at the station’s canopy, monumental clock perched above the railways, and main hall, which can host up to 200 000 visitors per day, offers a glimpse into the history of the Belgian kingdom.

Antwerp Central Station rooftop
The buildings along the tracks follow the shape of the glass canopy. © DR

Turn travelling into a delight by taking the time to look around you