Antwerp is one of the few European river cities which doesn't have any bridges. By all accounts the only time the river has been bridged was during the Spanish-Dutch war when the Spanish army built a set of connecting pontoons across the Scheldt. However that was as a trade blockade during the siege of the city, rather than a river crossing.
For most of the city's history the river was crossable only by ferries and it wasn't until the early 19th century Napoleonic revival that the idea of building a permanent bridge was mooted. For the next hundred years, or so, during which Belgium became independent, various bridge ideas were considered. However because of the river's importance for shipping none of the ideas came to fruition - mostly because of cost.
It wasn't until the late 1920's that the decision was made to tunnel under the river and in 1933 the first tunnel was completed, the Sint Anna Pedestrian Tunnel, and in 1934 the second, this time vehicular, Waasland Tunnel.
The pedestrian tunnel is particularly fascinating. This was designed by the local engineer, Emiel van Averbeke, and consists of a 572 metre tiled cylinder which crosses under the river at a depth of 32 metres. The tunnel runs from the Sint Jansviet square, at the end of the Hoogstraat, in the city centre to the left bank and is accessed via wooden escalators which were considered an engineering masterpiece at the time.
The tunnel is used by pedestrians and cyclists and the speed limit posted is 5 km per hour. When I walked through it I reached the other side in about five minutes - good job there were no traffic cops around ;-)
Kind of like a miniature pedestrian and bike-friendly Holland Tunnel . Not recommended for those fearful of tight spaces. A nice jaunt from one side of the Schelde to the other where there is a restful wide-angle view of the central harborside.
I can’t really explain why pedestrian tunnels under rivers are always considered as an attarctions. But this doesn’t stop me from visiting them. In fact, I like them too. St. Anna Tunnel is no exception. This tunnel was built in the 1930s. In 1944, the northern entrance was severely damaged during WWII and it took almost five years to restore it. In 1992, larger renovations took place and since 1997, it is a national Belgian monument. Like the Maastunnel in Rotterdam, it has also wooden escalators. Inside the tunnel, you will see historic tiles and some posters, somehow related to the history of the tunnel. The tunnel has a length of 572 meters and is located 32 meters below water level.
At the left bank, you can go and visit the St. Anneke Beach at river Schelde or just enjoy the view on the harbour and the old town.
A five minute walk south of Antwerp's Grote Markt you'll find the entrance to the Pedestrian tunnel. Rent a bike and go down the awesome wooden escalators to ride to the Schelde's West Bank ... the view of Antwerp's Skyline is breath-taking and going north you'll encounter Antwerp's very own beach of "St.Anneke" ... you can even take a ferry into the Antwerp harbour and ride back to the historical center !!
The tunnel of Saint Anna is known by most people as the Tunnel for pedestrians.
This tunnel starts in the centre of Antwerp and will bring you to the other side of the river. You can only take this tunnel by foot. Bikes must be carried at hand. (After 21:00 and before 06:00, you may drive your bycicle in the tunnel).
The building is a beatifull industrial construction. It was build in the 1930s. The stairs are still the original ones!
The tunnel entrance is free.
It will take you about 10-15 minutes to reach the other side. (It's about 575 meter from one stair to the other) You will notice the publicity on the walls that is reminding us of the 60's.
The place where the tunnel is constructed in the old antwerp city side, is called the Sint-Jansvliet. This name refers to the city-surroundings where this location was part of between the years 1200 and 1216.
The Sint-Annatunnel' is another
unique sight in Antwerp.The wooden
escalator takes deep under the ground to the
start of a 572 meters long walk.
On the way down often exhibitions are
organized with old posters , atmospheric
pictures or just puplicity posters for local
More then ones local pop groups had their
video clip taken here.
The building in the middle of the square
jansvliet- is the entrance. It's an Art-deco
design build ifrom 1933. On sundays an
antique and brocante fair takes place and on
weekdays this is the favorite spot for young
The left bank is quit popular ---and not only
for the unique vieuw on the city you'll get here.
It is famous tunnel, which connects the banks of river Scheldt. This tunnel is 572 meter long and 31 meter deep. It was built in 1930s and now it is known as the monument in Antwerp. During my visit the electric escalators were not working so we had to go down by lift.
The Anna Tunnel is such a great place. The 1933 tunnel under the river Schelde allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the river underneath. Time stood still here. The timber escalators are fantastic, and take you deep down to beneath the river. From there, you can walk across to the other side of the river Schelde and rise to the surface again. Such a great experience, and totally free of charge.
Building was started in June 1931 and was finished in August 1933. The tunnel opened on September 10th 1933. The tunnel has a lenght of 572,28 meters. In 1944 during world war II the entrance at the left bank was extremely damaged it took untill 1949 to repair this. In 1992 the tunnel was totally restored. It became a Protected National Monument in 1997.
The pedestrians tunnel is a must. You can descent with the old escalators or take the lift.
Arrived at the bottom you will see tiles with information about the tunnel.
The walk from one side of the Schelde to the other is approx. 572 meter.
It can be chilly, but take notice, you are 32 meters underground.
Best of it all, it's free.
Een hele belevenis voor kinderen is het wandelen door de voetgangerstunnel (500m lang) van op de St.-Jansvliet tot aan de Linkeroever.
Vermoedelijk voleindigd in 1923
Van op de Scheldedijk heb je een schitterend uitzicht op de rede van Antwerpen.
A 500 m long pedestrian tunnel goes from Antwerp st Jansvliet to Antwerp left bank .
Called the " saint anna " tunnel for the reason that Antwerp left bank is also named st Anneke
The works ended probably in 1923
From the left bank , there's a beautiful view to the city of Antwerp.
The St. Anna tunnel is a 5 km-long pedestrian tunnel under the river Scheldt. It will bring you to 'Linker Oever'. Take the moving staircase, 31 m down, it's a remarkable experience. When the moving staircase is closed, you can always take the elevator. From the other river bank, you'll have a wonderful view of the city and you can walk along the Scheldt, having a relaxing afternoon and maybe a drink at the yacht harbour or St. Anna beach.
An interesting hour was spent crossing the Schelde river using the pedestrian only tunnel. It takes around ten minutes in total, good views of the city from the opposite bank and it's free.....
You can do it by bike too.
A lot of people use the tunnel to go to the other side of the river de Schelde.
one of the four long wooden escalators to go to or to com out of the Saint-Anna chunnel to the left bank of the Schelde (river).