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Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium

Posted by on October 1, 2018

Antwerp is an underrated city in my opinion, but if you have only one city to go see then make it Brussels. In actuality, there is a lot to see in both cities but I spent more time in Brussels so I’m more familiar with it than Antwerp. The problem with Antwerp is that the city got bombed out during World War II so many historical places of interest were destroyed. The Germans during their retreat fired a ton of missiles and bombs trying to destroy the port of Antwerp to prevent the Allies from using it as a strategic seaport to bring in war material, supplies, and troops. Nevertheless, the city and the port survived despite some of its history being lost.

cathedral belgian brussels belgium port kirsche dom religion architecture

This is the impressive Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp.

french flag lights city hall antwerp luz luces rojo blanco azul colores de la bandera de Francia night life time

The Stadhuis (or better known as City Hall) of Antwerp is lit up at night. Interestingly, it’s lit up in the pattern of the French flag….

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, on the other hand was spared the bombings and damage. It was practically liberated with ease compared to other major cities where the fighting and bombings were more fierce. Regardless, the city decided to renovate anyways in order to expand the city out and put in more modern infrastructure in order to keep up with the times.

In addition to the old buildings that dot the city, Brussels also has a lot of modernization to make it a more cosmopolitan city.

EU HQ building gebaude edificio de gobierno government euro

As I was walking, I could see this huge glass building with security walking around only to figure out that this is one of the European Union buildings. The HQ is located in Brussels and so there are a lot of EU bureaucratic buildings around the city.

brussels cathedral belgium french dutch

Another tall cathedral in Europe… this one being in Brussels.

There are also museums abound in this Belgian capital with two that caught my eye that I wanted to go to: the Belgian Military Museum and Autoworld, which is a collection of antique cars with some of them really rare and very expensive to buy on the open market.

Parc du Cinquantenaire

To get to either the Belgian Military Museum or Autoworld, I had to walk to the Triumphal Arch, a gate that oversees Jubelpark which was supposed to be as a military exercise ground. Nowadays, it’s a large wide-open public park.

Triumphal Arch other side

Here’s the other side of the Triumphal Arch with both Belgian Military Museum and Autoworld occupying the north and south sides of this massive “C” shaped building that surrounds the park.

bmw bug frame outside wire shell

Ever seen a BMW bug with just its wiry frame? You can see this in Autoworld.

cadillac in autoworld car museum black car auto schwarz

It looks like a Cadillac to me. Just needs some Dinosaurs then you can remake that arcade videogame “Cadillacs and Dinosaurs”…. or maybe not.

lots of cars museum famous belgium tour attraction

Autoworld was kind of like a collection of all these cars. Not specialized like the other car museums that I went to but still a lot of cars in there. And no, they are not micro-machines (the toys) despite what the photo might make it look like they’re small.

tanks panzers belgian war

Right across from Autoworld was the Belgian Military Museum. The biggest highlight there was the tanks!

tanks long barrels sun museum

These ones have bigger barrels than the ones on the left. They’re probably also more modernized.

Brussels also has two other attractions which some people may or may not like. I went anyways just to take a look but I really wanted to go. You need a car to go up there as these places are not exactly in central Brussels but more northern Brussels: the Atomium and Mini-Europe.

atom building gebaude in Belgien silver grey symbol status atom

Like all major cities which has a famous landmark, Brussels gets this Atomium. You can actually go inside if you are willing to wait all those hours with all those tourists.

miniature europe mini small buildings landmarks famous tourist attractions small world

It’s Mini-Europe… even though I was in Europe which makes it even funnier since I was in Europe to see smaller replicas of famous European landmarks even though I could go see them.

mini smaller brandenburg gate berlin wall

Here’s a mini-version of the Brandenburg Gate even though I’ve actually was there. This one was different considering it had the Berlin Wall replica but during the Cold War era. I guess it’s more of a place for little kids…. would have been better if it was more like Legoland.

example of mini-europe l'exemple

Here’s another good example of Mini-Europe…. I’m not sure where this location is at. But it does look almost real doesn’t it?

And if you’ve read and seen about Brussels then you know that most people talk about Grand Place, which is a grand square, probably the most important and well-known tourist attractions for all of Brussels and maybe even Belgium. There are tons of stores and restaurants there which serve good food including waffles which is a big thing in that country. There’s also another smaller attraction there – the Mannekin Pis. I’m not sure why people are so into a little boy pissing statue but I didn’t know it was there until I walked by it by accident. And no, I didn’t care to take a picture of it unlike the many tourists surrounding it. I understand the humor aspect of it, but….. it’s just humor. Don’t take it serious. Instead, go to the Grand Place and eat some waffles!

grand place brussels symbol city capital of brussels

It’s Grand Place or Plaza in Brussels. A lot of restaurants and lots of people. Beware of the beggars out there who might swipe your wallet if you’re not careful. It’s a lot different from the Mini-Europe version and smells even better in person because of the food!