Waking up this morning for an early train to Antwerp was hard work, but of course it ended up being worth it.
The hour-long train ride to the city northwest of Leuven was a great way to see the countryside scenery. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the beauty of Antwerp Central Station. Here we also met our host and journalist Kris Vanhemelryck, who showed us around the city for the whole day.
First we enjoyed a lecture by Baldwin Van Gorp from KU Leuven, who spoke on the ethics of photojournalism. He explained what the goals of photojournalism are and how ethics can play into what journalists decide to publish. He presented many examples spanning across decades of photos that have raised controversy and provide an example of questioning ethics in photojournalism, and invited our comments and questions.
After enjoying lunch, we went on a tour of the Museum Plantin-Moretus, which honored Christophe Plantin, a printer who helped the evolution of typography.
Following the museum visit, Kris took us to see the St. Anna pedestrian tunnel, which is 572 meters long and can be reached either by elevator or by the original wooden escalator, built in the 1930s, which was our mode of transportation of choice.
Before grabbing a gelato, Kris informed us of a bit of Antwerp history, telling us the story behind the statue of Silvius Brabo, which gave Antwerp its name, meaning “hand throwing.”
According to aviewoncities.com, the story goes something like this:
More than two thousand years ago, when Antwerp was just a small settlement in the Roman empire, Druon Antigoon – a giant from Russian descent – built a large castle along the river Scheldt. He exacted a toll from every passing ship that sailed down the river. The giant cut off the hands of sailors who were unable or unwilling to hand over half of their cargo, and threw their hands in the river.
Antwerp definitely has a different, more city-like feel than Leuven, and provided us with a lot of history and a true picture of Belgium. Tomorrow it’s on to the capital of Brussels!