Not too long ago, Het Eilandje (The Island) was a forgotten area of Antwerp, the second largest city in Belgium. It used to be the city’s harbor until a new harbor was built. Soon this place was abandoned and no one wanted to go here. In the late 90s, the city revived this forgotten place and Het Eilandje began to change into the new, trendy place-to-be that it is now.
Instead of following the mass to the city centre of Antwerp or the Diamant area, Het Eilandje is where you need to be. Between the docks, old warehouses transformed into cool clubs and restaurants, and several museums are to be found here. Locals are crazy about the place and so should we. Here’s why:
Food To Eat & Drinks To Drink
There are so many fun things to do and see here at Het Eilandje. Of course, when you’re asking me, many great things in life revolves around food.
- Balls & Glory‘s concept revolves entirely around meatballs. The meatballs all are stuffed with a little surprise, whether it is four kinds of cheese or truffle and mushrooms. To eat in or to take away. These balls are truly glorious. ~ Have a look at their assortment here. Closed on Mondays.
- Restaurant LUX is located in an old warehouse near the water. The kitchen brigade creates beautiful and exciting dishes, served in gorgeous surroundings. ~ Take a peek at their menu here. Closed Sunday and Monday.
- Felix Pakhuis is situated right next to Balls & Glory in an old warehouse. With a good atmosphere and many draft beers a nice place to eat and relax. ~ Closed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. More information here.
- How do the locals know it is summer? It is when Cargo opens its doors! Pretty cocktails and a nice view, then you’ll know it’s summer. ~ Keep an eye on their website, so you know when summer begins.
Cool Things To Do
Not only food is a reason to visit Het Eilandje. The history of this part of Antwerp is something where locals are proud of. Since it is a former harbor, water and boats are a returning subject when it comes to displaying its history.
- The MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), translated Museum on the Flood, is a fairly new museum (2011) and is the storyteller of the city, its harbor, and the area. On the top level of the museum, which is free to enter, you’ll have a panoramic few of the city. Definitely worth a visit. ~ Check out their website for current exhibitions. Regular tickets are €10, you can also buy them online. Check the website for information on discounts. Closed on Mondays.
- Another museum that is worth a visit is the Red Star Line Museum. This museum tells the story of passengers on the Red Star Cruise Line who were in search of a better life on the other side of the ocean. The museum also showcases temporarily exhibits. ~ Regular tickets are € 8 and can be purchased on their website.
- Taking a sailing cruise on the Marjorie II is really a unique experience. Fun fact: You can also book a room here, as the Marjorie II also functions as a B&B. How cool is that?! ~ Check availability here.
Show Your Moves
Het Eilandje has something for everyone. Whether you want fine dining, or want to try the local Belgium beers. In this area, you can dance ’till morning comes or enjoy several G&T’s. Everything is possible.
- Roxy is definitely the place to be if you want to show a few of your moves. A hot dance club on the perfect spot. ~ Open on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday. Check their website here.
- If you are a G&T fan, don’t hesitate to pay a visit to Festiv Bar. With 22 different G&T’s, cocktails and 12 sorts of wine per glass, this is a great place to start your night. ~ Festive Bar website.
- Bar Tikila is the first and still only Tequila bar of Antwerp, where they make cocktails with, you guessed it right, Tequila. For Tequila lovers. ~ Closed on Mondays. Bar Tikila website.
- The newest underground electronic music club of Antwerp is Club Vaag, located right here at Het Eilandje. ~ Minimum age 21 years. Club Vaag website.
The coolest spots of Antwerp are ever changing. I visit the vibrant city on a regular base. So I’ll try to keep this post up to date. If you have tips or new discoveries, don’t hesitate to share them with us!
Check out my other blog posts of Antwerp, while you’re here.
- Coco Dee’s City Guide of Antwerp
- The Coolest Spots To Shop In Antwerp
- For All Coffee-Addicts: Coffee Hotspots in Antwerp