Is Antwerp the city of your heart, and would you like to propose to your partner there soon? Interior designer and Antwerp expert Cédric Etienne is happy to list his favourite spots for us, for your perfect proposal and for that celebration moment right after it!
Cédric’s favourite spots for proposing
1. Hidden alley: the Vlaeykensgang
Are you a fan of a touch of history – or of very pretty engagement photos? Indeed, the first location Cédric thinks of is the Vlaeykensgang or ‘Vlaaikensgang’: a 16th-century street in the historic centre of Antwerp. Cédric points out: “If you’re not careful, you can walk right past here. But here, in the middle of Antwerp city, you find this old, hidden little street that is always very special to walk through. It is quiet and rustic, and the old glory of yesteryear was restored to its former glory thanks to the thorough restoration by Axel Vervoordt. In the Vlaeykensgang, old and new meet. It is the ideal place to propose to your friend in an intimate atmosphere. And for those who want to celebrate immediately after the proposal: the Vlaeykensgang is also home to the culinary restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dijck.”
2. Interior garden of the Museum Plantin-Moretus
Are you looking for an oasis of calm in the middle of the city? Cédric reveals: “The Museum Plantin-Moretus has one of the most beautiful and intimate courtyard gardens in Antwerp. Inspired by the gardens of the 16th century, the garden of Museum Plantin-Moretus features flowers and plants from the time of Plantin. This courtyard garden is a real draw for those with an eye for beauty. You can come here during the museum’s opening hours, for a cozy picnic-with-proposal among the two of you.”
3. Walk at the Scheldebocht
Do you prefer to go down on your knees on a romantic walk? This can be done along the water, for example, at the Scheldebocht in Antwerp. Cédric muses: “In summer temperatures, the Scheldebocht is a great place to cool down, thanks to the nice breeze that usually blows there. You can enjoy the view of the water, and the impressive view of Antwerp. Have your partner walk a little ahead so you can sneak out your ring…. Possibly afterwards you will also conjure a bottle of champagne and two glasses from your backpack!”
4. Middelheim Sculpture Garden
Are you fans of art or nature? The Middelheim offers something for both, Cédric points out: “The Sculpture Garden at the Middelheim is an absolutely iconic location for a dream proposal in peace. In the park, there are several works of art on display; it is the ideal destination for a ‘nature with art’ outing. On a summer’s day, the park is a wonderful place to be, where – with your feet in the grass – you can stretch out together and enjoy the art around you, and each other. Ask your partner to close their eyes for just a moment so you can surprise her or him with your genuflection and engagement ring!”
5. Still Room
As icing on the cake, Cédric likes to add a space of his own to his list. This place is close to his heart, says the interior designer: “On the Eilandje in Antwerp, in 2020, I designed and installed the Still Room, a ‘silence’ place in the upper space of the centrally located Noorderpershuis. This special location wants to offer people the chance to unwind, meditate, be present in the here and now. The atmosphere there is very serene and destined for something sacred. A nice thought, to know that couples can come here for their special moment as well.”.
Cédric’s favourite Antwerp hotspots
Genuflection: check? Then it’s time to celebrate your engagement! And according to Cédric, you like to do that in one of these locations.
1. Authentic brasserie: La Pipe D’Anvers .
Cédric lights up: “I’m actually pretty old skool myself. I love authenticity in all its forms, and for me La Pipe D’Anvers is exactly that. If you want to celebrate your engagement together in a very authentic eatery that serves both French and Belgian cuisine and also provides contemporary suggestions, this is the place to be. Incredibly entertaining!”
2. Brown pub: Scaldis
Speaking of authenticity, for those who love a brown pub, Scaldis is highly recommended! Cédric points out: “Scaldis is one of those brown cafes that used to serve as a brothel. Now these have been completely converted into cozy cafes or brasseries. Scaldis is a cozy brown pub that has been around since 1947. There is sometimes live playing on an old piano – you can imagine the accompanying ambiance. It is a very cozy place to celebrate your engagement with your friends or family”.
3. Boat on the Antwerp Scheldt
Are you fans of water, with its accompanying romance? “Book a relaxing boat trip on the Scheldt at one of the rental companies, and invite your best friends and closest family for a pleasant boat trip together. Book a formula with snacks & drinks, and enjoy your beautiful prospects together!”, says Cédric.
4. North castle on the Scheldebocht
Are you a fan of water, but not of boats? The North Castle forms a striking green zone between the Amerikadok and the Scheldt, which is ideal for walking and cycling. Cédric adds: “The North Castle offers you the tranquility to celebrate as a couple, but also provides a beautiful view of the skyline of the city. Here you will surely feel together for a moment on top of the world, after your good news!”
5. Private dinner
For those who prefer an exclusive approach, a private dinner for two or en petit comité might also sound very nice: “Choose a symbolic location, for example in your garden or conservatory, and call on a chef to prepare a succulent engagement menu for you. Enjoy a sumptuous gourmet dinner, and sound off on your future together!”
About Cédric Etienne
Interior designer Cédric Etienne is known for his prodigious interior creations. In 2007, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Interior and Design at the Katholieke Hogeschool in Mechelen. He then continued his studies with a master’s degree in Interior Design at Politecnico di Milano. After years of working as set designer in the fashion world, at Armani and Christian Wijnants, among others, he founded his own design studio: Studio Corkinho.