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Enjoy a day at the Zuid

For many Antwerp residents, the Zuid (South) is considered the most beautiful district of the city. Indeed, rightly so: everything comes together in this trendy neighbourhood. Top international museums alongside surprising boutiques and stylish restaurants. Contemporary architecture alongside historic buildings featuring Art Nouveau design. There is plenty to see: consider making your visit to the M HKA a full-day excursion in the Zuid!

Spectacular Nieuw Zuid (New South)

The impressive new development of the Nieuw Zuid highlights the innovative character of the district. The city extension is still undergoing development, but the two most renowned galleries in Antwerp have already relocated there. The Tim Van Laere Gallery represents renowned artists such as Rinus Van de Velde, Dennis Tyfus, Franz West, and Kati Heck. Gallery Sofie Van de Velde showcases art by renowned artists like Folkert de Jong, Max Pinckers, Charline Tyberghien, and Guy Mees.

Chilling in the Zuidpark

Antwerp also boasts its own Central Park! While the Zuidpark may be slightly smaller than New York’s, locals, known as Sinjoren, find it just as enjoyable. Pathways wind among tall, vibrant foliage, inviting playgrounds with benches for relaxation, and ample open space for lively city events. Also convenient: the spacious underground car park beneath the square always provides ample parking space.

Three premier museums in close proximity

The district’s artistic character extends beyond the M HKA. Adjacent to it lies the Museum of Photography (FOMU), featuring the works of renowned photographers and contemporary artists. A bit further along, visitors will find the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA), which reopened its doors in 2022. It is a must-visit for admirers of renowned artists like Peter Paul Rubens, Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Anthony van Dyck, and many more.

Hidden art nouveau

Dotted throughout the district are listed buildings boasting stunning art nouveau architecture. One iconic example is ‘t Bootje (The Little Ship), located just behind the KMSKA. This charming balcony, shaped like an ornate ship, casually emerges from the facade of a listed corner building. The listed Liberal People’s House Help U Zelve (Help Yourself) on Volkstraat is another unique example of art nouveau architecture.

Photogenic courthouse

It is preferable to avoid having to navigate the halls of the Palace of Justice, but its exterior, a striking creation from 2006, is definitely worth seeing. Even now, however, the design continues to stir controversy among many. Supporters see a poetic Butterfly Palace in the soaring winged roofs, while detractors liken them to upturned chip bags. Regardless of one’s opinion, the interplay of light on the rooftops always yields beautiful photographs.

Shopping in old and new boutiques

The Zuid is also an excellent district for shopping. Along Zuidpark, across Volkstraat, and on Nationalestraat, shoppers will discover a variety of boutiques offering interior decor, fashion, and design. Kloosterstraat runs parallel and is renowned for its numerous antique shops. Yet, it also reveals other treasures, ranging from lamps and rugs to the most eccentric Christmas decorations!

Hip restaurants and trendy cafés

But perhaps the Zuid is best known for its vibrant restaurant scene. Hip restaurants and trendy cafés abound in the area! Good bakeries, tasty coffee shops, and pleasant spots for a sweet treat are all here. Whether you’re in the mood for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you won’t go hungry on the Zuid.

The renovated Scheldt quays

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle, a stroll along the renovated Scheldt quays comes highly recommended. The elevated quays offer stunning views of the expansive river, particularly in the evening. Playing guitar at sunset along the waterfront is a wonderful experience and a great way to conclude your day in the Zuid after a visit to the M HKA. It allows you to quietly unwind and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

Avant-garde walk

If you’re interested in exploring the Zuid with a passionate guide, be sure to sign up for our Avant-garde walk. The Avant-garde walk offers you the opportunity to delve into the past, present, and future of M HKA and the vibrant neighbourhood surrounding it. You’ll learn about the redevelopment of the Zuidpark and the quays, the reopening of the KMSKA, and the upcoming establishment of a new M HKA on the current site of the Court of Appeal. The Zuid is a dynamic neighbourhood in motion. This is definitely true now, but was also true in the past.