I was here seven years ago. This time, I had a couple of hours of sunny midday downtime while I was waiting for my hotel room, so I walked around and took pictures.

Antwerp’s cathedral is justly famous but my favorite spot is the train station, a massive old piece of architectural confectionery that has been mated not ungracefully to a fair-sized mall. Inside it’s dramatically vertical, with trains on every level from where you walk in to down at least four levels.

Antwerp train station

Also it has that arching Euro-train-station iron-and-glass roof.

Antwerp train station

Antwerp is a an unremarkable North-European mid-size city, busy and well-organized and functional. Walking around its streets, there was little to pull my camera out of my pocket.

Shadowed wall in Antwerp

There’s a gate-to-Chinatown, but not much of a Chinatown behind it.

Gate to Chinatown in Antwerp

I wouldn’t put the cathedral in the first rank, but I find that almost any big old European church rewards a visit. The best thing about it is its neighborhood, jam-packed with places to eat, a remarkable variety of ethnic cuisines; I can’t think of anything notable they missed. There seems an affinity between religion and pizzerias.

Antwerp cathedral, from outside

Antwerp is Rubens’ home-town, and the cathedral seems proud of its Rubenses and other paintings of the period. Unfortunately, this being a church, there’s not much on display that you’d call Rubensesque, so what’s the point? OK, I admit to not really getting the old Dutch Masters.

This particular piece of religious decoration was illuminated by stained-glass light and very pretty, I thought.

Statuary illuminated by colored light in Antwerp cathedral

But as in any cathedral, the main attraction is the light and space.

Inside Antwerp cathedral
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Inside Antwerp cathedral
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Inside Antwerp cathedral
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Inside Antwerp cathedral

Some of the pictures in this piece are taken with a big Pentax K-5 wearing an expensive prime lens; others, including two of the last four, with a phone. You can tell by the filenames, but care to guess before you look?



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Andrew (Nov 18 2011, at 16:28)

For small images where you want a deep depth of field I'm sure a phone camera will do just fine as they make the classic point and shoot tradeoff of having a tiny aperture. Care to show some pictures with a shallow DOF or a 100% zoom crop?

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From: BWJones (Nov 18 2011, at 18:39)

Love that shot in the train station. Beautiful space.

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From: Ian S (Nov 19 2011, at 00:48)

Welcome back to Belgium! Are you staying long? Hope you enjoy the beer and chocolate anyway :-) If you're taking chocolate back with you, Neuhaus is probably best.

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From: John Wilson (Nov 19 2011, at 02:07)

You must have visited the Plantin-Moretus Museum on one of your trips to Antwerp. It's typeface junkie heaven! http://museum.antwerpen.be/plantin_moretus/index_eng.html

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November 18, 2011
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