On Saturday we went to the Rubens House (Wapper 9-11) which you should have seen when you go to Antwerp. Rubens is the Antwerp icon. Rubens started to construct an Italian-style villa around 1600.Rubens designed this house by
himself, based on studies of Italian Renaissance palace architecture. The layout included his home, studio, a monumental portico and an interior courtyard. The courtyard opens into a garden in Baroque style that he also created. It is definitely worth seeing it and it gives a good perspective about his life and his work.
Saturday night we went for dinner at Appelmans (Papenstraatje 1). The name Appelmans is coming from Pieter Appelmans, the architect of the Cathedral of Antwerp. Appelmans is a big restaurant, with Belgium food and cocktailbar (downstairs, and upstairs). They have many cocktails with Absinth, as Appelmans has an Absinth bar. But also many others, classy ones, some variations on classics and some cocktails I did not know before! As I like to try new things out this is perfect :)
Sunday morning we went to the first printing house; Plantin-Moretus museum. (Vrijdagmarkt 22-23). This is a place that belongs to the Unesco World Heritage. The museum was founded in the 16th century. It is based in the home- and workplace of its owners, Christoffel Plantijn and, his son-in-law, Jan Moretus. The Plantin-Moretus company was the most prolific printing and publishing house in Europe. They remained in operation well into the 1800s. In 1876 the Moretus family sold the company to the city of Antwerp and it as opened to the public shortly thereafter.
It gives a beautiful example of how people lived that day. It is 35 rooms filled with period furnishings and artwork, many pieces by close friend of the family: Peter Paul Rubens.
After this big museum of the first print company we went to have lunch at 'de Rooden hoed' (Oude Kroonmarkt 25) this is
the oldest restaurant of Antwerp. Where I have been eating the best ham I have ever aten. Definitely a place to recommend!