Art nouveau in Antwerp ! Yes you will find it here ! Maybe more than elsewhere in Belgium, I mean so centralized in one district. (BXL?)
Zurenborg is the name of a district, consisting of a few streets in the Antwerp suburb of Berchem. The district is situated near the railway station of Berchem, right in front, or can be reached by road taking exit number 3-Borgerhout, coming from GHENT.
A nice mixture of architectural styles unfolds itself.
Art Nouveau (1890-1910)...
Or several names in different countries. In France it was called "Style Guimard", in Germany and the Netherlands "Jugendstil", in Italy: "Stile Liberty". Some other names more generally referred to something new ("Art Nouveau" in France and Belgium, "Modernism" in Spain, "Nieuwe Kunst" in the Netherlands) or a movement of dissenters ("Sezessionstil" in Austria). In each country, "Art Nouveau" had its own identity.
This district of Berchem, Zurenborgh, used to be outside the city limits at the time of its conception. Its purpose, being a area where the wealthy went to enjoy time "in the country" is still apparent in the abundance of architectural gems, most of which found thier origins in the early years of the previous century.
This bakery / restaurant / café is located at the far end of the districts main street, Cogels-Osylei, next to the railway overpass, locally know as "the centers". Its friendly and homy atmosphere of intellectuality envelopes you as soon as you enter the establishment. The furniture is simple yet not unappealing. No flashy lightings or booming juke boxes here, but a definite "brown café" ambiance.
Favorite Dish: On the ground floor the café presents not only the usual hot and cold beverages, but also a selection of 16 sorts of tea. Several snacks are also available. The restaurant is located on the first floor.
Definately the best way to visit Berchem or Antwerp, direction East Flanders - Antwerp.
Cheap and almost on time.
I visited Berchem in Sept.2007 (Cogels Osylei) , parked my car in the Zurenborg district and got a penalty of 21 euro, i assume ten times the value of a regular parking ticket, or three times the cost of a train ticket.