Historical Sites

Antwerp | First Stock Exchange

Located in Antwerp, Belgium, the historic site was home to the first stock exchange, which was built in 1531, and was seen as inspiration for other stock exchanges in Europe – including London.The first building in Brabant’s late Gothic style dates from 1531, after a design by Domien de Waghemakere. A rectangular open space was enclosed by a colonnade covered with star and net vaults. The gallery concept of this building served as a model for London’s Royal Exchange (designed by Hendrik van Paesschen), as well as for Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Lille.The high-rise ‘pagoda towers’ with octagonal and cylindrical hull may have served as a lookout for the harbor. Every nation had a more or less permanent location at the exchange. After a fire in 1583, the Bourse was immediately rebuilt to the same plan. The Siege of Antwerp (1584-1585) and the surrender to the ‘Spanish’ Army of Flanders led to a decline in trade, with Antwerp unable to compete with Amsterdam. Between 1661 and 1810 the building was used, among other things, as a drawing academy and seat of the Guild of Saint Luke. The open interior space was domed in 1853 by Charles Marcellis, following the example of London’s Crystal Palace. After a second fire in 1858 had once again destroyed the building, the Antwerp city authorities twice organized a design competition in which the old concept had to be preserved. The current building was finally completed in 1872 by architect Joseph Schadde. It is a remarkable combination of the neo-gothic style and revolutionary techniques, in particular the metal construction for the covering of the interior. The building housed the Antwerp Stock Exchange (a true stock exchange) from 1872 until its 1997 merger with the Brussels Stock Exchange. With the closure of the Antwerp Stock Exchange in 1997, the building lost its function and was abandoned and neglected. After a long and intensive renovation, it was to have reopened in October 2019 as an event hall with restaurant, hotel and public passage. Reopening is currently scheduled for "early" 2020

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