The sewers, otherwise known as the Ruien, are a shadow of the rich history above ground. Sewers, streams and fortifications have crisscrossed Antwerp ever since the Middle Ages. This network of both natural and man-made waterways provided the city with water and an internal harbour. When the sewers were turned into covered drains this unique piece of heritage disappeared both from view and from our memories.
You can now rediscover this hidden patrimony. The subterranean network of passages still gives us an idea of its rich and exciting past. A visit to the Ruien, with its old vaults, canals, bridges, sewers and drains reflects the historic city centre above you, with plenty of interesting facts and curious anecdotes from a distant and more recent past. We take you on a strange walk deep in the belly of Antwerp!
The city of Antwerp has entrusted the management of the Ruien to Werkmmaat vzw, a social employment project, and Zanzibar bvba, Antwerp’s event marketing agency. Both partners have provided a new impetus to the Ruien, by investing in the service, infrastructure and experience.