On Friday 13 January, students from 6ECMT visited the neighbourhood het Eilandje.
Following the opening of the Connecting Dock in 1869, this area was called ‘het Eilandje’. The brooks, canals and ditches had had to make way for modern docks, locks, channels and the Scheldt. Because of its location, mostly dockers, boatmen and workmen lived here. The neighbourhood did not have too good a reputation. After World War II, the port expanded more and more to the north. This area was polished and became one of the city’s hippest neighbourhoods with lots of light and space. The MAS with its stunning views over the city and the Red Star Line Museum add to the neighbourhood’s cachet.
We go on a tour with a guide from the Eugeen Van Mieghem Foundation, who tells us about the growth of the old port between 1803 and 1930. We will learn how Napoleon realised the importance of Antwerp for his expansion drive, how the Red Star Line would eventually establish its headquarters here, which major firms are still based here today,…
An interesting starting point of these walks are the five life-size bronze sculptures on and around the Eilandje that were created on the initiative of the Eugeen Van Mieghem Foundation based on the work of Antwerp artist Eugeen Van Mieghem. Thus, we see successively “Het Havenmeisje”, “De Landverhuizer”, “Het Havenboefje”, “Augustine Pautre” and “Wiske”. We get to know their stories and thus the stories of life in the port of Antwerp at that time.
After a two-and-a-half-hour walk, this neighbourhood no longer holds any secrets for us and we are armed to turn this into an engaging Actionbound. We won’t give away more now, but that you will discover a lot during your walk is already beyond doubt.