Ghost walking in Antwerp may sound a little strange, but it is actually quite amusing. The ghostwalk in Antwerp is a great way to see Antwerp from a different perspective and get to know the city a little better. Antwerp has a rich cultural history and a lot of legends come with it. The ghostwalk combines a walk around the old city center with ghost tales linked to the legends.
Ghostwalk in Antwerp
The most famous ghost of Antwerp is “Lange Wapper”, a tormentor who terrorized the inhabitants of the city in medieval times. He could shrink himself to the tiniest figure or grow himself to a huge giant. There are a lot of stories involving this ghost. So it’s no coincidence that the ghostwalk starts at his statue next to “Het Steen”, Antwerp’s oldest building.
“Het Steen” used to guard and defend Antwerp being its entrance at the river “De Schelde”. Later it became a prison where torture was practised daily.
Near “Het Vleeshuis” you can still see a part of the old city walls. Here you will find one of the oldest streets, the Palingbrug. This street was home to the grandma of “Jan zonder vrees” (John the fearless), another Antwerp folkloric figure.
The next stop of the ghostwalk in Antwerp is at one of the city’s oldest pubs, now named Café Refill, where Lange Wapper caused a fire by dancing with the owner’s daughter.
Also included is a stop at Antwerps “Grote Markt” (Grand Place). It is triangle shaped because it was constructed by the Franks who used it to perform pagan rituals.
Via “De Vrijdagmarkt” you’ll walk to Sint Andries where you will learn the story of the ghost of “Mie Trottinette”. This ghost is circling the tower of the Saint Andries church on her “trottinette”, a French word and also Antwerp dialect for a kick scooter. You will also find out why you can find over 300 Maria statues on the facades of Antwerp’s oldest houses; they used to scare “Lange Wapper”.
On your way you will also find the cartoon drawing of Sus Antigoon (William Lager in English). Another famous ghost of Antwerp. If you wish to know more about this ghost I suggest to read the Belgian comics of “Suske & Wiske” (Willy & Wanda in American English, Spike & Suzy in British English, Bob & Bobette in French), especially “An island called Hoboken”.
At the Vlaeykensgang and the Groenplaats you will also get to hear great stories about girls who had more than one lover. I especially loved the story at the Groenplaats, which used to be a huge cemetary. Here De Lange Wapper played one of his tricks to punish a girl having 4 lovers.
You’ll end the ghostwalk in Antwerp at one of its most beautiful squares: the Hendrik Conscience square. There you will learn the story of the soldier who bought a house at the square and gets haunted by a ghost to find 3 pots of gold.
If you like the pictures in this Ghostwalk in Antwerp article I suggest to check out my Instagram account where you can find a lot more!