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Antwerpen: Het Zuid (The South)
Intro't Zuid (the South) is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Antwerp. After several decades of stagnation the area has seen a revival since the mid 1980s. It is now one of the most trendy neighborhoods in the city. It is the location of the Museum of Modern Art (MuHKA), the Museum of Fine Arts, and the FilmMuseum, as well as numerous bars, eating places and a vibrant nightlife.
RevivalThe revival of the South started in the mid-1980s. Apartment prices had dropped significantly attracting younger people. Artists had also discovered the area. Earlier, in 1981, a structural plan was approved which gave some protection for the architecture. The plan was also the signal for the city council to rehabilitate the South. By the end of the 1980s, many buildings had been restored. In 1987, the new museum for modern art (MUHKA), was opened in a former grain silo. Several art galleries, a new photography museum, the opening of a new cultural center in the Zuiderpershuis and the restoration of several grand buildings around the filled-in docks made the South more and more attractive. More and more people moved to the many renovated apartments and trendy cafés and restaurants opened. During the nineties, the South has become one of the most attractive neighborhoods in Antwerp. -- --http://www.aviewoncities.com/antwerp/zuid.htm [Jul 2004]
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts [...]
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, built in 1894, is the most prominent building. It is located at the central square, the Leopold De Wael square. The Hippodrome [torn down in 1973], a large theater opposite the museum and the south station, built around 1900 at the end of the Boulevard were the other landmarks in the South.
Nightlife [...]In summer, locals drink on the pavements in front of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. When it rains, they dive into Hopper (Leopold de Waelplaats 2) to listen to live jazz and drink creamy home-brewed lager. For more of a scene, head towards the river to Bar Tabac (43 Waalse Kaai), popular with fashion designers and models. Around the corner, sip Champagne cocktails at moody Velvet Lounge on the hippest nightstrip in Antwerp (Luikstraat 6). This little lane is full of funky bars, dance clubs and chic eateries. Go to Little Buddha for Asian cuisine (Luikstraat 4, 0032 32940293), or make reservations at Onstage (Luikstraat 7, 0032 32370588) for a bright-white lounge experience with three floors of lightshows, video installations and loud music. For late, late night, Club Geluk (Luikstraat 6) is the perfect spot to dance in the dawn. --Michelle Jana, A weekend in Antwerp: (Filed: 05/03/2004) http://www.travel.telegraph.co.uk/travel/main.jhtml?xml=/travel/exclusions/Supplements/eurotunnel/eteuroantwerp.xml [Jul 2004]
To get to know Antwerp better, there’s nothing like venturing into its popular residential areas to soak up the atmosphere. Check out what’s happening in the ‘Zuid’(the South), the Mecca of Antwerp culture. This area, previously derelict and now considered the creative heart of Antwerp, has developed a special atmosphere that is appreciated by both artists and young people in Antwerp. Described as having ‘trendy and current tendencies’, it is home to various museums (Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts, Musée d’Art contemporain, Musée de la photographie), art galleries, warehouses converted into lofts and cafés and restaurants in quite distinct styles. In the evening, the ‘Zuid’ is ‘the place to be’. Its establishments (Café Hopper, Camu, le Bar Tabac, Funky Soul Potato, etc.) guarantee you a good time. --http://www.foxguide.be/v_eng/page/fr/loisir_sommaire/02.html [Jul 2004]
MUHKA’s full name is Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, or Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp. It has been housed in a converted grain silo and adjoining warehouse since 1987. This renovation and change of use is very much in keeping with the attention that is now being paid to the fascinating urban planning of the ‘Zuid’ or South area of the city.
The MUHKA’s 4.000 square metres of exhibition space devoted to art from 1970 to the present day. The building and the collection, which of course is constantly being added to, belongs to the Flemish Community. Moreover, the museum has the Matta-Clark Foundation collection in its possession for an indeterminate period of time. Initially it formed the basis of the MUHKA collection and consists of more than 150 works by Belgian and international artists. --http://www.muhka.be/ [Jul 2004]
Filmmuseum: Filmmuseum Antwerpen, Waalsekaai, 47, Antwerpen-Zuid, http://www.cinebel.be/nl/cine.asp?count=59&ondate=30000101
Photography Museum [...]William Klein expo until Sept 12.
SinksenfoorThe annual amusement fair called Sinksenfoor is held here in June.
Café HopperCafé Hopper is één van de bekendste kroegen van het Zuid. Bekend om het prachtige uitzicht op het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, befaamd om de jazzoptredens en de goeie whiskey. Maandagavond en zondagmiddag zijn er gratis optredens en je loopt er geregeld een acteur tegen het lijf. --Leopold de Waelplaats 2, 2000 Antwerpen, maandag 21 juni 2004, via advalvas.be
New Palace of Justice
A jury convened by the Belgian Ministry of Justice has voted unanimously in favour of proposals by the Richard Rogers Partnership for a new complex of Law Courts in Antwerp.
The most striking element of the Rogers scheme will be the sequence of dramatic sail-like roofs, visible from vantage points all over the city.
The competition judges were particularly impressed by the architects' efforts maximise the benefits of natural light: the complex has an east-west orientation, a feature further enhanced by 'fingers' of landscaped parkland which extend right into the heart of the complex.
Situated to the south-west of the city centre and just outside the main ring road, the new Law Courts will be located at Bolivarplaats, the focal point of the Amerikalei, one of the key arteries extending outwards from the city centre.
In the 16th century, the Spanish occupied Antwerp and built a citadel south of the center near the river Scheldt. The citadel, paid for by Antwerp was used to control the city. It would also be used for the same purpose during the French and Dutch occupations. Not much changed after the Belgian independence in 1830, and the citadel was obstructing the city's expansion. Only after 40 years of bitter discussions between city and state, a compromise was reached: new military fortifications would be built, but much further from the city center. At the citadel site, Antwerp was responsible for the development of the new neighborhood, while the government would build the new docks, railway infrastructure and quay. The city paid for 50% of the purchase cost and set up a company to develop the new neighborhood: the S.A. du Sud d'Anvers.
In contrary to most Antwerp neighborhoods, where the streets had developed organically, the street plan for the South was carefully planned. Between 1870 and 1875 numerous designs left the drawing table. The final plan, approved in September 1875, is reminiscent of Paris: a star shaped street pattern with wide streets, offering beautiful views of the many monuments. Other main features of the approved plan for the South are the docks, located parallel with the quay, the extension of the central Boulevard (now known as the 'Leien') and the central square, the Leopold de Wael square.
Construction of the houses started soon after the approval of the street plan in 1875. The area south of the Boulevard had cheaper lots and was partly developed into a working-class neighborhood.
Initially the corporation responsible for the development of the South built the whole infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, sewer system) before any of the adjacent lots had been sold. After disappointing sales of lots, the corporation decided to build houses themselves. This resulted in a cohesive architectural landscape, much in contrast with another neighborhood developed at the same time, Zurenborg. Even for the buildings built independently from the corporation S.A. du Sud d'Anvers, the architects had to follow their recommendations and plans were sometimes altered to avoid contrasting styles.
Some buildings still stick out: the architect Jean-Jacques Winders built a house for himself, known as 'de Passer'. Constructed in 1883 in neo-Flemish Renaissance style, this house is has a traditional floor plan, but it is built as a small 'palace'. Another remarkable building in the South is the 1901 Art-nouveau building 'the five continents'. The bay window in the shape of a boat gave it the nickname 'The little boat'.
To attract more interest from potential customers, the S.A. du Sud d'Anvers suggested to hold the 1885 world fair in the South. The city agreed, but although the world fair was very successful, it did not attract many new customers. The corporation went bankrupt in 1890. In 1894 another world fair was held at the South, but only after the turn of the century the South would really start to develop. The construction of some landmarks helped to bring some life to the new neighborhood. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, built in 1894, is the most prominent building. It is located at the central square, the Leopold De Wael square. The Hippodrome, a large theater opposite the museum and the south station, built around 1900 at the end of the Boulevard were the other landmarks in the South.
Another noticeable structure is the 'Zuiderpershuis', a hydraulic power station built in 1882, installed to operate the bridges, cranes at the new docks. The twin towered neo-baroque building is now home to a cultural center.
Near the Royal Museum, the Jewish community built a Main Synagogue in 1882. It is only used for special occasions, the Jewish mostly use the synagogues is the area around the City park and Central Station. During the development of the South neighborhood several statues were built at the squares: at center of the Marnix square stands the large 'Scheldt Free' monument, built to celebrate the abolition in 1863 of the toll that ships had to pay to pass the river Scheldt. From another - boat-shaped - statue on the Lambertmont square, you have a view at the Gillis Square with the Porta Regia, a triumphal arch built in 1624 after a design by P.P. Rubens, the famous painter. It was built to honor the Spanish King Philips IV and was integrated in the city wall. It moved twice, and since 1936 it stands isolated near the former docks.
Less than 80 years after the start of the development of the South neighborhood, the decline started with the closure of the Hippodrome in 1958. In 1965 the South station was demolished, in 1968 the docks were filled and in 1973 the Hippodrome building was demolished as well. Together with the loss off landmarks and harbor activity, many people left the area, also due to the deteriorating state of the houses. In 1990, only 23000 people lived in the area, compared to 50000 in 1920. Fortunately, the neighborhood survived: plans designed in the seventies by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to demolish the whole of the South and replace it by a cluster of skyscrapers where never realized.
The revival of the South started in the mid-1980s. Apartment prices had dropped significantly attracting younger people. Artists had also discovered the area. Earlier, in 1981, a structural plan was approved which gave some protection for the architecture. The plan was also the signal for the city council to rehabilitate the South. By the end of the 1980s, many buildings had been restored. In 1987, the new museum for modern art (MUHKA), was opened in a former grain silo. Several art galleries, a new photography museum, the opening of a new cultural center in the Zuiderpershuis and the restoration of several grand buildings around the filled-in docks made the South more and more attractive. More and more people moved to the many renovated apartments and trendy cafés and restaurants opened. During the nineties, the South has become one of the most attractive neighborhoods in Antwerp. -- --http://www.aviewoncities.com/antwerp/zuid.htm [Jul 2004]
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