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Antwerpen Belgium

Old City centre seen from across the river Scheldt.

Antwerp Kathedral logo

Onze Lieve Vrouw kathedral Antwerp, anno 2009

Welcome to Sint Anna of Antwerp

Saint Anna is today a place that people know as a good place to spend some free time, say a free Sunday if you could not travel somewhere further for the whole weekend.

Saint Anna Panorama

The leisure possibilities are a bit limited but you can have a walk along the left bank of the Scheldt river, you can spent some time with children playing on one of a number of children playgrounds, you can visit open air swimming pool and finally, you can spend some time in one of the cafes or restaurant with the view on the river. Of course it was not always like that.

The history of Saint Anna

Before the 1923 there was a village called Saint Anna on the left bank of the Scheldt River. This village was situated on a sort of peninsula created by the Scheldt stream thus, mostly muddy terrain. The village was famous from collecting mussels from the Scheldt. At the end of 19th and at the beginning of 20th century restaurants business was growing in the Saint Anna. The special boat was taking people from the right bank of Antwerp and transporting to Saint Anna restaurants. There you could eat fresh prepared mussels with vegetables.

In 1923 Saint Anna is taken from the East Flanders province and added to the Antwerp province. Men started digging tunnels to the left bank and constructing first houses and then apartment buildings on the left bank.

Oude kaart Saint Anna

Wandeln Panorama

During the period 1923 – 1955 the Saint Anna village has completely disappeared and only the street along the river remain from that times. The terrain known before as Borgerweert polder was expropriated, a layer of 3 meter sand was put on it and then the terrain was again divided, this time leaving many places as green terrains.

Playground Saint Anna

During the years 1930 – 1940 the north sandy part of Saint Anna peninsula was changed to the city beach, new coffee bars were constructed and even holiday houses were constructed as well. The recreation character of this place exists until today but all holiday houses were expropriated and destroyed. The city of Antwerp had another plans for this part of Antwerp's territory.  

In fifties, the city of Antwerp has begun constructing social apartment buildings on the old terrains of Saint Anna. Even the old village church was put down in 1969 and the new modern church was erected. And because this city part have been designed from scratch the city planners took some ideas from famous designes like those of Le Corbusier.

In 1983 Saint Anna became one of the Antwerp districts and today, more than 15 000 people are living here. There are different sport and free time facilities in the north part of Saint Anna. These includ open air swimming pool, sandy beach, yacht club, camping and coffee bars and walking path along the river with sitting banks and playgrounds for children.

It is also possible, when going west, to walk through the Saint Anna woods. This is not very old woodland because all these trees were planted after 1923 but on the other hand, it is already almost 90 years and the trees have been grown to quite a size. According to the city plans, part of this woods have to be soon cut down because of the construction of new tunnel under the Scheldt.

Waterscooters

But the city Council says “don’t worry; we will plant new trees as soon as the tunnel is completed”. Fine, and after 90 years we will have the Saint Anna woods again if something else will not happened to them.