This is one of the oldest surviving sections of Antwerp. It's a warren of narrow alleys and passageways, that connect homes, small shops, cafes, etc. It's very easy to get lost in here, so don't go if you're in a hurry to get to something else.
Although sometimes called an “insider tip”, this alley is like a must do on an Antwerp sightseeing trip. This has led to an increase in number of visitors and a widespreading tof this secret. In the Vlaakiensgang, you will get a small impresiion of how Antwerp’s old town looked like in the 16th century. For centuries, the alley was in a bad condition until a larger restauration projet took place in the 1960s. If you are lucky to be quite alone, you will feel the quiet atmostphere in contrast to the busy streets around you.
Entrance at Oude Koornstraat No. 16
De Vlaeykensgang is a real beauty. In this street time stopped. Everyone who passes the door on number 16 in the 'Oude koornmarkt' walks straight into another world.The alley dates back from 1591 and if you compaire the old picture with the new ones, you can see not much has changed.
Shoemakers used to live in this small alleys. They had their shops here and they also had the task to ring the bells of the Cathedral of our Lady in case of emmergancy or danger as a warning.
The name off this place comes from a 'vlaaien- en wafelhuis' (pie and wafle house) that was located in these small streets. Nowadays this place doesn't excists anymore, but there are a few other upclass restaurants in the Vlaeykensgang; like the 'Sir Anthony Van Dyck'. You best make a reservation if you want to dine here and bring allong a lot of money.
It's hard to believe that the wanted to demolish this cosy place in the sixties and replace it with a parkinglot. Luckely it was saved by the Antwerpian antiqair Axel Vervoordt in 1969. He used to have his shop here. Nowadays there is again a lott going on in these alleys; tourist walking around and gasping at living piece of history, cosy restaurants, and Antwerpians who come here in summertime to listen to the cathedral's carillon.
Originally in the 16th century this alley was for
the Shoemakers .The name probably
came from a bakery where they sold 'vlaaien' -
The 'Vlaeykensgang' is the best know
of the 'hidden' alleys. Luckily is was saved in
1960 after years of neglect.
Now you can walk trough the alley...it
contains one of Antwerp finest and most
(no , I don't like it very much , the alley is
always stuffed with tourists)
A quiet spot in the middle of the city is the Vlaaikensgang. Enter through the gate from the Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you walk back in time. This narrow street dates back to 1591. Inhabitants of this street were shoemakers. And as they were alsways at home, close to the cathedral, they also had the task of ringing the heavy bell of the cathedral in the case of an emergency or danger.
Houses are white because government ordered them to be painted white in order to ban out contagious diseases. The diseases are long gone, but the houses here are kept white.
In the middle of Antwerp you could see the small network of alleys which is mostly hidden by tourists. These alleys have some very fine restaurants. We could have never discovered VLAEYKENSGANG, but thanks to Dannie, we explored this historic place.
One more view of the Vlaaikensgang.
To me it is one of the most picturesque views in the inner city.
This attractive gangway dates from the 16th century and nowadays it houses some restaurants.
Some years ago they wanted to demolish this area in order to make some parking lots. Lucky for us they changed the plans, and like this a part of old-Antwerpen was saved. Other picturesque gangways were not so lucky.
Originally this gangway was occupied by Shoe makers. Why it is named the Vlaaikensgang, that is not known, maybe because once there was a vlaaikens factory (vlaai : that is the Flemish word for cake).
To me the Vlaaikensgang is kind of a hidden treasure. It is a kind of oase of silence in the middle of a busy, noisy city centre. At least whe it is not crowded with busses of tourists which are passing through . . .
It is not so easy to fing, take direction oude Koornmarkt, and at Nr 16 is the entrance of the Vlaaikensgang.
A kind of door entry, yes it is. You really should try this small road, well in fact it more like a gangway instead of a road.
Here you will get a good impression about how the the people of Antwerpen lived in the 16 century.
This is the best place to listen to the carillon concerts of the Cathedral of Our Lady.
When you step into this little street, you find yourselve in a complete other world then the big city you where in just a moment ago. Even the noises of the busy town don't get far in here.
In fact it is not one street, but a few alleys in total named "Vlaeykensgang".
At Nr 16 of the Oude Koornmarkt is the entrance of the Vlaaikensgang.
You really should try this small “road.” Well, it isn’t really a road- it's more of a gangway. Here you’ll get a good impression of the people of Antwerpen in the 16th century. On Monday evening the real connoisseurs come here to listen to the carillon concerts
One step into the 'Vlaeykensgang' (Pie alley) and you're carried into another time and another world. Even the sounds of the modern city fail to penetrate to this jumble of alleys and passageways. Those who know it come here to experience the sense of peacefulness when the cathedral carillon is playing.
The Vlaeykensgang or Pie-alley is easily missed, it really is an alley. You enter through a door on the Oude Koornmarkt number 16. The Vlaeykensgang is a 'protected heritage' site. Still in its 16th century shape, it is narrow and twist and turns along little restaurants, including the famous Sir Anthony Van Dijck, which once had a Michelin star. Apparently the owner got tired from Michelin's fussing and transformed the place to a bistro/brasserie, which of course still serves excellent food. Not to be confused with the Van Dijck Ice Cream Parlor on the Grote Markt!