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Discover the city of Antwerp
14
January 14, 2020
Veroniek Maat
Veroniek Maat
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Discover the city of Antwerp

Antwerp is Belgium’s second largest city and biggest port. The city is a perfect mix of history and modern trendy places. It’s the city of fashion, diamonds and specialty beer. Getting to Antwerp by train is a breeze. The city is very popular with tourists who, for example, love history, the Belgian flair and beautiful architecture. That is why this city on the Scheldt has something to offer for every tourist.

VISITFLANDERS is the official guide to Flanders and Brussels and is committed to making visits to these placese as accessible as possible. That is why they often perform screenings to find out if destinations are accessible or not.

We’ve put together this list of activities in Antwerp which are accessible, entertaining, fun and showcase the vibrant history of the city.

Rubens House

The Rubens House is the former home and workshop of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp. He purchased the house in 1610 and had a Flemish townhouse renovated and extended on the basis of designs he made himself. The entire lot is now a museum, which is mainly dedicated to the works of Rubens and his contemporaries.

Price:
€ 8,00 per person (VAT incl.). €6,00 for visitors aged between 12-25 and 65+ years old + groups of 12 or more. Free entrance every last Wednesday of the month, for caretakers of disabled visitors and children <12 years old.

Accessibility

The site was screened by Visit Flanders but turned out to be insufficiently accessible to receive an A or A+ label. This activity might still be viable for people with a less severe mobile disability. One of the floors can only be reached by stairs. There is no accessible parking available. The museum makes use of ramps for wheelchair-users to get by, but these are often too steep.

Mobility
Wheelchair-users can only get to the ground floor of the museum, since the first floor can only be reached by stairs. There is no elevator inside the building. The museum shop is accessible by a ramp, which might be too steep for some.

The modified bathroom does not meet the requirements for optimal accessibility. There are no rails placed next to the toilet, nor is there sufficient turning space inside the bathroom.

Facilities for the visually impaired
There is no information in braille. Rubens House makes use of bigger fonts in pamphlets for better readability.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
No facilities/services are available for hearing impaired people.

The Red Star Line Museum

After 1800, millions of Europeans packed their suitcases and sailed to America. The United States and Canada were the promised lands for fortune seekers and people looking for a better life. From Antwerp, about two million people embarked on their journey across the ocean between 1873 and 1934. The Red Star Line ocean steamers were a pivotal part of their journey. The Red Star Line Museum focuses on the stories of these people, those of the Red Star Line and those of Antwerp, the city and port from which these journeys originated.

Price:
€ 8,00 per person (VAT incl.). €6,00 for visitors aged between 12-25 and 65+ years old + groups of 12 or more. Free entrance every last Wednesday of the month and for children <12 years old.

Accessibility

Mobility
The respective companions of people with a disability can enter the museum for free. The museum itself is easily accessible. Wheelchair-users can maneuver under the front desk. The exhibition starts on the ground floor and a spacious elevator will take you to the first floor. The tower and toilets can be reached by a second elevator, albeit it can be a little tight for some wheelchairs at (90 x 133 cm). The space next to toilet is the tighter than preferred, but most wheelchair-users can use it adequately.

Facilities for the visually impaired
The exhibition texts are available in digital format for people with a visual disability.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
No facilities/services are available for hearing impaired people.

Cathedral of our Lady

The Cathedral of our Lady is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Antwerp. After 169 years of construction, the cathedral finally dominated Antwerp’s skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 meters. Build in gothic style, it is considered the pride of Antwerp. Four masterpieces by Rubens can be admired inside the cathedral, The Elevation of the Cross (1609-1610), The Descent from the Cross (1612), The Resurrection of Christ (1612) and The Assumption of Mary (1626).

Today, the cathedral showcases elements from both the baroque and 19th century neo-gothic eras.

Accessibility

The site was screened by Visit Flanders but turned out to be insufficiently accessible to receive an A or A+ label. This activity might still be viable for people with a less severe mobile disability.

Mobility
About 150 meters from the entrance to the cathedral are a couple of parking spaces reserved for people with a disability. The paving around the cathedral is made out of Setts (a type of quarried stone), which makes moving around the premises challenging. Only the crypt, the organ and the small tower are not wheelchair accessible, they can only be reached via narrow staircases. The shop inside the cathedral is adequately spaced, but the entrance from the exhibition space is too tight.

Facilities for the visually impaired
Auditory support in the form of an audio guide is available for people who are visually impaired.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
No facilities/services are available for hearing impaired people.

Mas Museum

The Mas Museum offers a glimpse into the city of Antwerp and her stories. The museum is considered an architectural masterpiece and has a breathtaking view of the city. MAS is a feast for the eyes with its multi-layered, zigzag floors in red sandstone reaching 60 meters high. It houses almost half a million objects of which 180,000 are displayed.

Price:
€10,00 per person or €5,00 if there is no temporary exhibition (VAT incl.). €8,00 for visitors aged between 12-25 and 65+ years old + groups of 12 or more, or €4,00 if there is no temporary exhibition. Free entrance every last Wednesday of the month.

Accessibility

Mobility
Visitors with a wheelchair should let the museum know about their visit in advance. The respective companions of people with a disability can enter the museum for free. There are four wheelchairs available that can be used for free at the ticket counter on the ground floor. You can reserve one in advance via balie.mas@antwerpen.be or phone +32 3 338 44 00. There are two parking spaces for disabled people nearby. They are kind of small and the paving around them is made out of Setts, which makes moving around the premises difficult. The path towards the entry of the museum is made out of flat stones, but there are no guide lines present. There is sufficient turning space inside the museum.

Facilities for the visually impaired
Auditory support in the form of an audio guide is available. Raised and braille characters present on elevator buttons. There is a specially curated tour available for visually impaired and blind people, which is accompanied by a guide.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
Audio induction loop available at the desk and inside the atelier. The halls inside the museum offer informative texts and an iPod can be borrowed, on which a lot of information can be viewed in the rooms in the desired language and text size. The same information can also be viewed via your own smartphone (using QR codes in the rooms).

Diva Diamond Museum

DIVA, Antwerp Home of Diamonds, is a new international diamond museum which showcases its love for silversmithing and takes you on an interactive, emotional journey of discovery through the various aspects of goldsmithing, jewelry and, above all, diamonds. You will discover DIVA's hidden treasures and so much more in her beautiful home.

You will not only become acquainted with the rich history of goldsmith's art in Antwerp, but you will also discover everything about the trade, craftsmanship and consumption of luxury products in our world center for diamonds.

Price:
Tickets are available for €10,- via this link.

Accessibility

Mobility
DIVA is accessible for people with limited mobility. The whole museum can be accessed by rollators and manual as well as electric wheelchairs. There is an elevator to all the exhibition rooms. You will find accessible toilets on level -1. DIVA has a wheelchair and 20 folding seats available for visitors. Please ask for them at the desk. The carer of a visitor in a wheelchair is eligible for free entry to the museum, though the assisted person does need to obtain a (free) entrance ticket.

Facilities for the visually impaired
The carer of a visually-impaired visitor is eligible for free entry to the museum, though the assisted person does need to obtain a (free) entrance ticket. Guide dogs are allowed in the galleries.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
Informative texts are displayed on screens in all the museum galleries. The museum will happily provide a written version of the audio scripts. Simply email your request to info@divaantwerp.be at least 24 hours in advance and they will email it to you.


De Koninck Brewery Tour

A trip to Antwerp can’t be complete without visiting a local brewery. De Koninck Brewery Tour is an interactive tour which will immerse you in the fascinating world of the Antwerp City Brewery. An informative, stimulating and above all fun way to learn about the history of brewing in Antwerp, discover all about Belgian beers in general and uncover the mysteries of the brewing process itself. A range of interactive displays and audiovisual effects ensure a full-blown brewery experience, along with their 4m-high walkway that offers breathtaking views of all the action and dynamis on the brewery floor itself.

Price:
Tickets are available for €14,- via this link.

Accessibility

Mobility
The brewery received an A+ rating after being screened by Visit Flanders. All locations that are part of the brewery tour are wheelchair accessible: from the exhibition rooms to the tasting room (there are a couple high tables where you cannot sit with a wheelchair), and from the walkway in the brewing room to the shop, toilets and the locker room. The accessible bathrooms have sufficient space and grab rails.

Facilities for the visually impaired
There are audio guides available in Dutch, French, English and German.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
Visit Flanders states that there are facilities available for people with an hearing impairment, but they don't state what kind.


Antwerp Zoo

Antwerp Zoo is a zoo located in the heart of Antwerp, next to the Antwerpen-Centraal railway station. With it being the oldest animal park in the country and one of the oldest in the world, a visit is a must.

Price:
Cash desk: € 25,50 per person (with applied discount)

Jungle Book Light Festival

From November 29th till January 12th, 2020 you can walk through walk through the thrilling adventure of Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and their friends. The Jungle and her famous friends invite you to a spectacle of lights.

Accessibility

People with disabilities and their respective companions can enjoy a discount rate. The website of the zoo notes, that because there are no means to verify online if the person can apply for a ticket with discount rate, these tickets are only available at the ticket desk at the zoo. Buying a ticket at the desk is always an option. Tours of the zoo adapted to the physical abilities of the group are available. Accessible toilets and restaurants can be found throughout the zoo. Modern wheelchairs available, free to use and need to be booked in advance.

Facilities for the visually impaired
No facilities/services are available for the visually impaired.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
No facilities/services are available for the hearing impaired.


Summer of Antwerp

Summer of Antwerp is a yearly occurring festival and takes places all over Antwerp. In 2020, it will take place from mid-June till the end of August.

Atmosphere and surprise form the basis of the Summer of Antwerp program, which is as varied as the city and its inhabitants: music from the four corners of the globe, the best from the (inter)national circus, strong visual theater and numerous exceptional events and installations.

Accessibility

Wheelchair-friendly locations and performances are indicated by a wheelchair symbol in the brochure and on the website. Visitors in a wheelchair or who are less mobile can contact the organizers via samuel@zva.be (could change in 2020) to let them know in advance. This ensures seats at the front of the shows and guidance throughout the festival. Holders of a disabled card can park at the Summer Bar. The locations go through annual screening for accessibility and the volunteers partake in specific training on a yearly basis.

Facilities for the visually impaired
Audio descriptions are present at numerous shows/exhibitions.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
Audio loop induction present at a couple of shows/exhibitions.


Chocolate Nation

The largest Belgian Chocolate themed museum in the world!

Who thinks of chocolate, automatically thinks of Belgium. Land of artisan chocolate, so it only made sense to create an actual Valhalla for chocolate lovers. The journey starts in the cocoa plantations on the equator and follows the cocoa bean to the largest cocoa storage port in the world in Antwerp. A giant fantasy machine shows how Belgian chocolate is made and how the velvety taste is created.

Accessibility

The site was screened by Visit Flanders but turned out to be insufficiently accessible to receive an A or A+ label. This activity might still be viable for people with a less severe mobile disability. Around the corner of the main entrance is an alternative entrance present. You may need some help on the sloping sidewalk and when opening the door. A platform lift of 88 x 185 cm will then take you to the cash registers. For those who find the entrance gate too narrow, an alternative passage can be entered under supervision. There is an accessible bathroom present on every floor.

Facilities for the visually impaired
Audio guides are available and included in the ticket price.

Facilities for the hearing impaired
Audio loop induction present at a couple of shows/exhibitions.

About the author

Veroniek Maat

Veroniek Maat


Veroniek is the founder of Accessible Travel Netherlands and works on marketing, sales and group bookings.
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