Antwerp in 1835

The year 1835 is situated in a very vibrant period in the Antwerp’s history. Commercial expansion of  (the town), initiated during the Dutch regime (1815-1830), continued after Belgian independence. The city could fully benefit from the new and powerful growth of the world economy. In 1860 the city on the river Scheldt had grown into an international seaport, in this respect surpassing its Dutch counterparts Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The quays of the river Scheldt in 1835, which was reopened to all maritime transport after a closure of more than 2 centuries in 1795, once again thrived with activity. The economic growth and the overall rise of prosperity of the town was reflected in a sharp rise of the population. During the first half of the nineteenth century the population doubled from around 50.000 to over 100.000 inhabitants. The transformation into a major international seaport, regime shifts and the sharp rise of the population all had repercussions for the city landscape. They include the construction of the Willem- and Bonaparte docks in the north of the city, the realignment of the riverside quays, construction of new commercial buildings (such as the Royal Entrepot),  covering of the city canals (‘ruien and ‘vlieten’) and the construction of grand public buildings in the old city center. Until around 1860 – when the Spanish city walls made way for a new boulevard, the present-day “Leien”–  almost all activities took place in an ever more densifying city center.


Further reading:

  • Lombaerde, Piet. “Antwerpen 1750-1850: de moeizame transformatie van een verwaarloosde stad”. In Stedebouw: de geschiedenis van de stad in de Nederlanden van 1500 tot heden, 160–71. Nijmegen: SUN, 1993.
  • Lis, Catharina. “De wederopbloei van Antwerpen als handelsmetropool.” In Antwerp: twelve centuries of history and culture, 234–49. Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1986.
  • Bertels, Inge, Tim Bisschops, en Bruno Blondé. “Stadslandschap, ontwikkelingen en verwikkelingen in een stedelijke ruimte.” In Antwerpen: biografie van een stad, 2011.