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Antwerp (Dutch: Antwerpen, French: Anvers) is a city and municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Antwerp province in Flanders, one of Belgium's three regions. (Click on the map left then several times on + for a high resolution satellite photo.)

According to folklore, and as celebrated by the statue (on the right edge of the picture) in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend involving a mythical giant called Antigoon who lived near the river Scheldt. He exacted a toll from those crossing the river, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river Scheldt. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen—akin to Old English hand and wearpan (= to throw), that has changed to today's warp. Among a lot of versions the most prevailing theory is that the name originated in the Gallo-Roman period and comes from the Latin antverpia. Antverpia would come from Ante (against) Verpia (deposition, sedimentation), indicating land that forms by deposition in the inside curve of a river.

In the 16th century, Antwerp was one of the most important financial centres of the world, where traders from all over Europe and Asia sold and bought their goods. After the siege of Antwerp in 1585 by the Spanish, this role as a financial centre was taken over by Amsterdam. Nevertheless, since the 19th century and especially the 20th century, Antwerp has made a serious economic comeback. It is the second largest city in Belgium, after Brussels, and it has a major European port. The overwhelming friendliness of the people of Antwerp and their innate penchant for good food and good living, combined with their low stress lifestyle, makes it a desirable and relaxing place to visit. Renowned for being the "world's leading diamond city", more than 70% of all diamonds are traded in Antwerp. The Diamond Market is the hub of the economic section in Belgium. More than 85% of the world’s rough diamonds, 50% of cut diamonds, and 40% of industrial diamonds are traded in the city.

Photo taken in the historical centre (Grote Markt) with the famous guild houses from the golden age (16th century) of Antwerp.

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Additional Photos by Laszlo Koenig (Jakab) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 449 W: 213 N: 1282] (3867)
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