Central Station Antwerp – railway cathedral

Central Station Antwerp

Louis Delacenserie / Clément Van Bogaert

Antwerp, De Keyserlei + Astridplein

1899 – 1905

 

Station

Belgium was the second country in the world with a railway line: in 1835 between Brussels and Mechelen. After just one year it was extended to Antwerp. There was no real station, but a wooden building. This was outside the fortification, so the building could not be erected from stone, but only from wood or metal. This is to dismantle the building as quickly as possible or even set it on fire if there was danger and to make the view from the city as free as possible. In 1854 a second station was made of wood and iron.

Slow Style

In 1894, the architect Delancenserie from Bruges was commissioned to design the new Antwerp station. His designs were ready in the same year. A few months later they were approved by Brussels. The station was not ready until 1905, which is why the people of Antwerp describe the architecture of the station as ‘stillekesaanstijl’ (slow style). The railway roof of engineer Clement Van Bogaert took a little less time. The design was finished in 1889 and the construction  in 1898.

A little bit small?

The railway cover in riveted steel beams is 43 meters high. That height was necessary for the steam to escape from the steam trains that were running at the time. The length of the roof is 186 meters and the width is 66 meters. Below it were 10 rails in the beginning, now there are more. The dome of the station building is 43 meters in diameter. The highest point of the station is 75 meters above street level. Yet when King Leopold II visited the station for the first time, he thought it was a cute little station.

Expansion

From 1998 to 2006 they worked on the North-South connection, a fast connection between Antwerp and the Netherlands (before, the Central Staion was a head station). A tunnel with a length of 1200 meters was drilled and 600 houses had to give their permission to dig the tunnel deep below them. The station building and the roof were also restored so that they can shine back in full glory.

ntral Station Antwerpen

 

Louis Delacenserie / Clément Van Bogaert

Antwerp, De Keyserlei + Astridplein

1899 – 1905 

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