Along the Scheldt

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In the late 1800s and early 1900s, two million Europeans departed Antwerp along the river Scheldt aboard Red Star Line ships bound for North America. Today, the shipping company’s riverside warehouse is now home to an excellent museum detailing the history of that emigration. During that time, the only connection between the east and west banks of the Scheldt at Antwerp was by water. The first connection was made in the 1930s with the construction of the Sint-Annatunnel, a pedestrian and bicycle tunnel accessed through a unique wooden escalator on each end that still operates today.

After an afternoon visiting the Red Star Line Museum, we toured beautiful 16th-century St. Paul’s Church, then took the exceptional wooden escalator down to cross underneath the Scheldt via the Sint-Annatunnel and crossed back by ferry, getting some great views of the Antwerp skyline.

Below are trip highlights from March 1st, 2020 in Antwerp, BE. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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Street Art
Two more vibrant Antwerp street art murals just north of the MAS museum—we can see these from Dirona in Willemdok.
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Red Star Line
Two million people, mainly from eastern Europe, emigrated to the US from Antwerp via Red Star Line ships. Nearly a quarter were Jews escaping the rise of Nazi Germany. The old Red Star Line warehouse now is home to an excellent museum detailing the history of the emigration along with many stories of those who departed, including Albert Einstein.
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Flood Barrier
Flood barriers along the river Scheldt.
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St. Paul’s Church
We keep thinking we’ll get tired of visiting churches, but are always astonished at the workmanship and level of detail in each. This is the extraordinary interior of St. Paul’s Church in Antwerp, completed in 1571,
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The Calvary outside St. Paul’s Church, completed in 1747, contains 63 life-size statues and nine reliefs. It’s quite impressive.
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Het Steen
Antwerp’s 13th-century castle Het Steen. The building currently is being renovated and is closed to the public.
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View down Haarstraat towards the omnipresent spire of the Cathedral of Our Lady.
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Walking the raised promenade along the river Scheldt.
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Looking south along the street Plantinkaai, likely named after the famous local 16th-century printer Christophe Plantin.
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Urban Woodcutter
Hard to argue with that. Axe throwing is apparently becoming a popular pastime—this is one of several amusing signs outside the Urban Woodcutter axe throwing venue in Antwerp. We read about another axe-throwing bar opening up in Los Angeles. What a perfect combination: sharp instuments and alcohol :).
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Sint Annatunnel
Riding the restored 1930s era wooden escalator into the Sint Annatunnel pedestrian tunnel underneath the river Scheldt. The wooden escalator was really amazing.
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Under the Scheldt
Walking through the Sint Annatunnel under the river Scheldt.
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Maritieme Dienstverlening en Kust (Maritime Services and Coast Agency) ships moored on the west bank of the river Scheldt.
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Boarding the ferry to ride back to the east bank.
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Antwerp skyline from the ferry across the Scheldt.
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Port Authority
The fabulous Antwerp Port Authority building viewed from the ferry across the river Scheldt.
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An excellent meal with a bottle of Barbera d’Alba at Italian restaurant Barbarella in Antwerp.
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Grote Markt
Antwerp’s main square, Grote Markt, looking fabulous lit up at night.
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Slot van “A”
Antwerp’s purpose-built love lock gate was erected in 2012 beside Willemdok.
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View northwest along the river Scheldt from the top of the MAS museum building.
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Dirona, lit up in blue at center, moored in Jachthaven Willemdok, Antwerp viewed from the top of the MAS museum building.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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4 comments on “Along the Scheldt
  1. Theo A. W. Le Duc says:

    J&J, glad you enjoyed “our” Antwerp. Lucky you got out in time. Our boat (Ritser / Krogen) is ready but still in wintermode in the hall at the left bank and will not be floated in the foreseeable future. I am ready to sail and charts, pilots and routes are sorted direction Malaren -Stockholm?? It will most probably work out differently. Also your Med plans may need adjustment.
    Stay safe! Theo

    • Sorry to hear your boat won’t be launched for quite a while. As you guessed, as we sailed out of Antwerp and talked about the problems in France, Spain, and Italy we decided it just wasn’t the right time to go to the Med. We’ve crossed over the the UK and we’ll wait here until things settle down. Our traveling will be curtailed as well.

      We hope things settle down soon. All the best.

  2. John S. says:

    Antwerp looks so serene and happy!

    Too many grim, masked faces, frantic hunts for nonexistent goods in supermarkets here, endless news shows talking about soon-to-be-overwhelmed hospitals, spiking rates of infection and death. Ugh!

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