Antwerp Central Train Station, Belgium | City Breaks In Europe with HIP Hotels TV

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In 2009, Newsweek magazine voted Antwerp Railway Station as the worlds fourth greatest train station.

With its ‘beaux arts’ stone clad terminus, vast dome above the waiting hall, and a 185 metre long by 44 metre high iron and glass ‘train shed’ that date from 1895, it’s an impressive and monumental edifice… but that’s only part of the story.

Like most European train stations Antwerp Central was originally a terminus. Trains would have to reverse back out to commence or continue a journey. Then in 1998 a decade long engineering project started that would eventually cost 1.6 billion Euros, to allow the station to become a ‘through’ station. To achieve this, a tunnel was completed, five stories down that allows high speed trains such as the Thalys from Paris to stop on the way though.

To manage all the traffic, including local as well as international trains, Antwerp Central stacks the trains on different levels: like a department store; complete with a world famous set of side by side escalators that climb, flatten out on a moving plateau, and then commence climbing again.

Interestingly, this combination of monumental heritage and cutting edge engineering could be a metaphor for Antwerp itself: a city with a rich history and a distinctive signature of modernity.

Where to stay while in Antwerp? Hotel Julien, a 22-room hotel hidden behind a 16th century facade in the heart of old Antwerp, is a seductive mix of historic grandeur and exotic modernity. Watch the trailer here:

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