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These 5 monumental churches will take your visit to Antwerp to higher spheres

3 February 2022
These 5 monumental churches will take your visit to Antwerp to higher spheres

The Cathedral of Our Lady, St. Andrew’s Church, St. Charles Borromeo’s Church, St. James’s Church and St. Paul’s Church are a unique group of five historic churches in the city centre. Discover these treasuries of art and cultural-historic heritage during a guided tour, take a walk using the Antwerp Museum App as your guide or use the free visitor guide which you can find in every church.

Cathedral of Our Lady

© Leyla Hesna

Behold the pride of Antwerp! After 169 years of construction, the Cathedral of Our Lady was added to the Antwerp skyline. The imposing tower rises no less than 123 metres above the historic city centre. This makes the Gothic monument not only the tallest building in Antwerp, but also the tallest church tower in the Benelux. So it is not surprising that the Cathedral of Our Lady is one of the most famous sights in Antwerp.

In addition to its breath-taking height, the Cathedral of Our Lady is also an enormous treasure trove of works of art by the world-famous painter Peter Paul Rubens. At least as impressive are the stained glass windows showing religious images and the altar decorations. The setting today is partly baroque and partly neo-Gothic, which is what makes the Antwerp Cathedral so special. Reason enough to visit the Cathedral of Our Lady.

St. Charles Borromeo’s Church

Carolus Borromeuskerk

On the Antwerp Conscienceplein you might believe yourself to be in Italy for a moment. The grandiose facade of St. Charles Borromeo Church, the Rubens Church par excellence, commands attention! Although this typical baroque church is the work of the Jesuits, Peter Paul Rubens played an important role as co-designer and painter for the decoration of the facade and the crowning of the tower.

The Jesuits built St. Charles Borromeo Church between 1615 and 1621. Inside you will discover the apse of the main altar, the chapel of the Virgin Mary and the many sculptures and wood carvings, all testimony to its former splendour.

In addition to its magnificent treasures and works of art, this beautiful baroque church in Antwerp also holds some secrets underground. So be sure to visit the crypt, the sacristy and the ruins of the St. Charles Borromeo Church.

St. Paul’s Church

Sint Pauluskerk

Just a stone’s throw from the Scheldt, in Antwerp’s old city centre, you will find St. Paul’s Church. This district used to be the home of sailors. St. Paul’s Church was a monastery church of the Dominicans and was originally built in the 16th century. After a fire in the 17th century, St. Paul’s Church received a new baroque tower. The beautiful interior is mainly built in the baroque style.

In addition to the impressive interior, you can also admire countless works of art in St. Paul’s Church, by painters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens. St. Paul’s Church in Antwerp is therfore definitely worth a visit!

St. James’s Church

Sint Jacobskerk
© Dave Van Laere

Not far from the Meir in Antwerp you will find St. James’ Church, which was built in the 15th and 16th centuries. This Gothic church is not only the starting point for pilgrims who are on a pilgrimage to the tomb of the apostle James in Santiago de Compostela. The Antwerp Saint James’ Church is also famous for the tomb of Peter Paul Rubens. This is where the painter found his final resting place. Did you know that Rubens himself chose the painting for the altar? His own Our Lady Surrounded by Saints.

St. Andrew’s Church

Sint Andrieskerk

Located in the popular St. Andrew’s quarter in Antwerp, you’l find the. St. Andrew’s Church. This parish church was built in the 16th century by the Augustinians and contains a number of masterpieces from Antwerp’s artistic heritage, including the grand baroque main altar and the beautiful pulpit. In addition to the church building, St. Andrew’s Church was also set up as a church museum in 2007.

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