Interior Designer Jason Mowen on Antwerp's Hotspots


Mixing historic charm with a dedication to bold new architectural projects, it’s no wonder this elegant city is a magnet for travellers with a design eye. Sydney-based interior designer Jason Mowen constantly draws inspiration from history and the arts, so Belgium’s capital of cool was no doubt calling. Here is a rundown of his must-visit recommendations for a design fix, all ready for you to ‘wishlist’ on the Boutiq App…

1. Antwerp Central Station

“Arriving to Antwerp by train is a must as the city’s c.1895 Central Station is breathtakingly beautiful.  Style-wise it’s a romantic, architectural melting pot - Gothic revival, Neo-Renaissance and Art Nouveau - that gets the first-time visitor ready for the rich, urban tapestry that is Antwerp.”

2. Hotel Pilar

“Located in the Zuid neighbourhood - a hotspot for the arts that’s centrally located but far enough away from the main square to feel really authentic - Hotel Pilar packs a stylish punch without breaking the bank, surrounded by the elegant, restaurant and cafe-lined boulevards the area is known for.”

3. Dries van Noten

“No trip to the Flemish capital would be complete without a visit to Dries van Noten, where sublime fashion is matched - almost - by Gert Voorjans’s exquisite design for the store’s interior.”

4. Kanaal

“Around a 10 minute drive from Antwerp is Kanaal, the epicentre of Axel Vervoordt’s art and design empire.  You’ll need an appointment to view the treasures contained within the Axel and May Vervoordt Foundation - think Lucio Fontana, James Turrell and Anish Kapoor interspersed with magnificent antiquities - but the Axel Vervoordt Gallery is open 2-5pm every Thursday to Saturday (and Axel’s on-site Japanese restaurant is superb).”

5. Cogels Osylei

“Wandering Cogels Osylei, a street lined with grand mansions built (mostly) between 1894 and 1908 on the southeast edge of Antwerp’s central area, is a must for lovers of romantic, Belle Époque architecture.”

6. Courtyards


“Much like exploring Italian towns and cities, one of the best things to do in Antwerp is to explore its multitude of Renaissance-like courtyards.”

Have hidden gem recommendations for Antwerp or beyond? Join the community of travellers unearthing the best in every city (and sharing it with their friends) on the new Boutiq app.