around 1200

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A visit to the Steen is a ‘must’ if you wish to understand the historic identity of Antwerp. In the present municipal landscape, it resembles a detached castle. But until the straightening of the Scheldekaaien at the end of the 19th century, the Steen was part of the Burcht (Castle) of Antwerp.

As far back as the 9th century, there has been a walled settlement with trading activities in a semi-circular area connected with the Scheldt. With the Viking invasion in 836, the settlement was razed to the ground, but was later rebuilt. From the 10th century, the Marquisate of Antwerp became a military bulwark, strategically situated on the Scheldt between France and the German Empire.

When walking in this historic heart, relicts remind us of the former district: the remains of the Castle wall, the street pattern (Burchtgracht, Zakstraat) and the Steen with the preserved westerly gate. The jetty slightly to the south hints at the old Werf (Quay) where all trade in Antwerp once started.