The Antwerp Diamond District is a historic area in the city of Antwerp, Belgium, where the diamond trade has been flourishing for centuries. It is also known as the Diamond Quarter or the Diamond Square Mile, because of the high concentration of diamond businesses in a small area. The district is home to more than 1,500 diamond firms, four diamond exchanges, and numerous diamond cutters, polishers, brokers, and dealers. It is estimated that about 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and 50% of the polished diamonds pass through Antwerp.
The ticket price for visiting the Antwerp Diamond District varies depending on the type of tour you choose. There are several options available, such as guided walking tours, bus tours, or private tours. Some tours include entrance fees to museums or attractions in the district, such as the Diamond Museum or the Diamondland showroom. The average price for a guided walking tour is around 15 euros per person, while a bus tour can cost up to 25 euros per person. A private tour can be customized according to your preferences and budget.
The Antwerp Diamond District is open every day of the week, except for Saturdays and Jewish holidays. The opening hours are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but some businesses may have different schedules. It is advisable to check the opening hours of the specific places you want to visit before you go.
The best time to visit the Antwerp Diamond District is during weekdays, when you can see the diamond traders in action and witness the hustle and bustle of the industry.
The easiest way to get to the Antwerp Diamond District is by public transportation. The district is located near the Antwerp Central Station, which is well connected by train, tram, and bus. You can also take a taxi or a bike to reach the district from other parts of the city. If you are driving, you can park your car in one of the several parking lots or garages in the vicinity of the district.
There are many tours available for visitors who want to explore the Antwerp Diamond District and learn more about its history and culture. Some of the most popular tours are:
- The Antwerp Diamond Experience: This is a two-hour walking tour that takes you through the main streets and landmarks of the district, such as the Hoveniersstraat, the Rijfstraat, and the Pelikaanstraat. You will also visit some of the most famous diamond shops and showrooms in Antwerp, such as Diamondland and Diamantwijk.
- The Antwerp Diamond Museum: This is a museum that showcases the history and evolution of the diamond industry in Antwerp and worldwide. You will see exhibits on how diamonds are formed, mined, cut, polished, and traded. You will also admire some of the most stunning diamond collections and jewelry pieces in the world.
- The Diamondland Showroom: This is a large showroom where you can see hundreds of diamonds on display and learn how they are graded and valued. You can also watch live demonstrations of diamond cutting and polishing by skilled craftsmen. You can even buy your own diamond or jewelry at wholesale prices.
There are many things to see and do in the Antwerp Diamond District besides admiring diamonds. Some of the other attractions are:
- The Central Station: This is one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe, with its impressive architecture and decoration. It is also known as the «Railway Cathedral» because of its domed roof and stained glass windows.
- The Rubens House: This is the former residence and studio of Peter Paul Rubens, one of the most famous painters of the Baroque era. You can see his paintings, sculptures, furniture, and personal belongings in this museum.
- The Meir: This is one of the main shopping streets in Antwerp, where you can find many fashion boutiques, department stores, cafes, and restaurants.
- The Cathedral of Our Lady: This is a Gothic cathedral that dominates the skyline of Antwerp. It is famous for its spire, which is one of the tallest in Europe, and for its artworks by Rubens and other Flemish masters.
Some tips for visiting the Antwerp Diamond District are:
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as you will be walking a lot.
- Bring your passport or ID card with you, as some places may require it for security reasons.
- Be respectful of the local customs and traditions, especially if you visit during Jewish holidays or Sabbath.
- Bargain politely if you want to buy something from a diamond dealer or shop.
- Compare prices and quality before you make a purchase.
Some prohibitions for visiting the Antwerp Diamond District are:
- Do not take photos or videos inside any diamond business or showroom without permission.
- Do not touch or handle any diamonds or jewelry without permission.
- Do not enter any restricted areas or private offices without permission.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables with you, as the district can be crowded and busy.
- Do not accept any offers from strangers or street vendors who claim to sell diamonds or jewelry at cheap prices.