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"St - Jacobskerk" Saint James Church - Sint Jacobs Kerk Tip by yashiko

If there is a church in Antwerp that deserves to be called ‘monumental’, then it must be the church of St. James where, in harmonious synthesis, you’ll find the powerful gothic (in the architecture) and the playful baroque (in the 17th and 18th century furniture and artwork).

It is the tomb of Peter Paul Rubens that attracts most visitors to this church. But there is much more besides, for St. James' Church is sumptuously decorated. The parish could certainly afford such opulence when the church was built (1491 - 1656) and the area inhabited by the upper middle classes, merchants and members of the aristocracy. They wanted to display their wealth by building a tower which was higher than that of the Cathedral. Hence the imposing base. However, that demonstration of rivalry ceased after 55 metres for financial reasons.

The parishioners managed to lavish their wealth with more success on the inside of the church. Here more than one hundred sorts of marble are to be found, which according to the eighteenth-century prefect from the Vatican, Cardinal Garampi, 'could scarcely have been worked more skilfully'. The walls are hung with works by all the great artists of the city.

The church has twenty-three altars. Rubens' tomb lies behind the main altar in the Chapel of Our Lady. The painting of 'Our Lady surrounded by saints' was painted by the artist himself for his memorial. Experts have pointed out that it is actually a family portrait with Rubens as St. George.

Opening times:
1 April - 31 October: Mon. -Sun.:14.00 -17.00
1 November - 31 March: Mon. - Sat.: 9.00 - 12.00
Closed on Sundays, on religious holidays and during services.

Admission fees:
normal: 2 euro
groups of 20 persons or more, students: 1.50 euro
children under 12 years: free

Address: Lange Nieuwstraat 73-75, 2000 Antwerpen
Directions: Nearest tram stop: Sint Jacobsstraat (line 10, 11)
Phone: +32 498 330 405

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 15, 2006
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