Keeping it “Royal” in Antwerp
I Daniel Barthold
I Royal Antwerp FC v KRC Genk 4-3 (pens, 3-3 aet)
I personally prefer most cities in Belgium over Brussels because the vibes in other locations such as Ghent, Bruges or Antwerp are much better. It is less busy and really gives the opportunity to enjoy excellent Belgian hospitality. Great beers, delicious food and obviously outstanding chocolate make Antwerp always worth a visit especially pre Christmas.
It feels like everything in Antwerp is within walking distance to see most cites, the “Grote Markt” is the square where most people hang out but even along the way there are plenty of nice streets with cafes, bars and restaurants.
THE GAME: Royal Antwerp FC v KRC Genk 4-3
This round of the last 16 clash between Antwerp and Genk was a blinding cup tie. Firstly, I was surprised by the decent noise in the away end and the home atmosphere was good as well. Secondly, it was a 6-goal-thriller which concluded in an exciting penalty shootout. The game could have gone either way really but after thrilling 120 minutes with the score at 3-3, Antwerp won the game 4-3 on penalties.
It was certainly worth the 20€ which was a special offer in the hospitality section. The ticket did not include food and beverages but I had one of the best seats which was very convenient on a cold December night.
The Bosuilstadion is under construction which means that one stand behind the goal is missing currently. One new stand has already been built but I was lucky to still witness one of the old stands where Antwerp’s die-hard fans are located. The terrace was pretty full and the atmosphere was very decent. Clearly, the stadium is in a bit of a transition period right now so I was glad to still see a bit of the traditional part of the ground.
The hospitality area gave me the opportunity to warm up and there were plenty of options for a fresh beer or a classic Belgian waffle. Overall, it was a nice evening and a further evidence that attending football matches in Belgium is easy, fun and always worth the trip.
HOW TO GET THERE
The best way to get to Antwerp is by train as Antwerpen Centraal is well connected to other major European cities. Even if you end up in Brussels first there are loads of trains going to Antwerp which only takes about 45 minutes from the Belgian capital.
Moreover, the station in Antwerp is one of the most beautiful stations in Europe and that alone is a recommendation to take the train. If you book in advance it is possible to get a one-way ticket from London-St Pancras to any Belgian station for 50£ and from France, Germany or the Netherlands the city is easily accessible, too.
Royal Antwerp’s stadium is less than a 10 minute taxi ride from the train station or the cheaper option is the tram which runs from the city centre to the ground frequently.
Born in 1983 in Hildesheim (Lower Saxony, Germany) and raised in the Hamburg Area. Supporter of FC St. Pauli and since 2010 living and working in London (England) as a sports business consultant. Groundhopping has been a passion since the early days but I am actively counting and ticking off grounds since the Euros 2004. I have been to 500 stadiums in 65 countries so far.