Grand Place

Antwerp's Grand Place is situated in the center of the old city, lying within walking distance of the Scheldt River. This pedestrian square is surrounded by the 16th-century architecture of magnificent buildings, many restaurants, and cafés. In the winter it also hosts a Christmas market and an Ice Rink. The famous buildings of the square are the Houses of the Guilds, and of course the impressive building of the Antwerp City Hall, the centerpiece of the square.

In front of the City Hall, you will find the monumental Brabo Fountain, with the statue of the famous folklore hero Brabo after his defeat of the giant Antigoon. The legend dates back to 1887 and tells that there was a giant in the city named Druon Antigoon who lived on the Scheldt, the river of Antwerp. The mythical giant extracted a high toll from all those crossing the river. If anyone refused to pay, Antigoon would chop off their hand and throw it in the river. One day Silvius Brabo, a Roman soldier, killed the giant by slaying him and chopping off his giant hand and throwing it into the Scheldt River.

This legend is the origin of the name Antwerpen: derived from the words "hand werpen" which means "hand throwing" in Dutch. The symbol of the hand can be seen throughout the city, there are even biscuits and chocolates sold with the hand shape.