The open sewers that crossed the major axes of Antwerp in the middle ages have been covered by Napoleon. The city of Antwerp now makes it possible to visit these underground sewers and see the city from a different angle.
Look at the city map of Antwerp, Belgium, and notice the streets whose name ends in -rui or vliet. These are middle ages water bodies and open sewer streams.
Napoleon started a project that accelerated the covering of these waterways, but it took till the 19th century for most sewers to be covered.
The tour takes you from the city center to the northern part of the old town. A tablet-based guide explains at most crossings the history of that location and helps the visitors to orient where they are in the city. We visited at the end of October.
Before accessing the ruien, visitors get a pair of boots and an overall, ensuring you get out as clean as you entered.
The access to the underground tours starts at the Suikerrui, a few minutes’ walk from the Antwerp city hall or the cathedral.
More information: https://en.ruien.be/
Koen Blanquart is a strategy consultant, journalist, and author.
Wanderlust is one of his driving factors, and he shares his travels here on Boarding Today. Koen is also the skipper of SV Bagabonda, a sailing vessel making a slow circumvention of the globe..
Koen recently published a book on how to manage a remote team: The Suitcase Office.