It’s the year 2014 - we were invited to spend a week discovering the city of Antwerp. Doesn’t happen everyday, right? And not knowing what to expect from a week hanging with strangers from various parts of the world, it turned out to be a connection for life.
From all around the world , together in one city
I still remember how we all arrived at Antwerp Central Station, looking at eachother and wondering: “Who are you and what are we doing here?” We as in people that arrived from New York, Berlin, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Madrid, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Dublin, etc. All invited because of their talent, skill, network and project. And rightfully so…
The week together was intense and a rush, but I also remember how we ended the week: hugging, drinking, laughing, in tears of leaving but partying to the early morning light. We made friends for life.
Opening a city through creativity & community
There are many city marketing departments out there that break their heads over how to promote their city. But This is Antwerp (a platform from Visit Antwerp) has found the key in getting to know their beloved city. The concept called Discover Antwerp Through Experience (D.A.T.E.), one that has invited many groups of creatives (artists, designers, bloggers, photographers, etc.) over the last four years to explore the city of Antwerp from within.
How exactly? By connecting them to the thriving local creative scene and community, a programme of creative discovery. And I have to admit, it works: Antwerp in my opinion is humble, at times too humble about its talent, skills and achievements. Back in 2014, the creative scene felt hidden and tucked behind doors.
But it’s the people that open these doors for you, so you can discover its beauty. A city made by people, right?
Turning 5 - the Birthday Edition
And now it’s 2019 and we’ve been invited to Antwerp again, for its 5-years birthday anniversary. Again with a group of talented individuals from different parts of the world. Will we make new friends for life? What’s the program like and what will we discover this time?
I’m curious to finding out about how Antwerp has become a better and more liveable city for its citizens (not only for its visitors). Which creative communities are establishing are actively making a social impact? Watch this space for a recap of our findings.
For more information about the week: thisisantwerp.com/date
Words by correspondent Robin