Antwerp's rich multicultural heritage can be seen clearly in the Diamond District. The trade is largely dominated by the city’s Hassidic Jewish and Gujarati Indian communities, though Lebanese, Russian and Chinese gem dealers also work here. Some showrooms offer behind-the-scenes tours and expert advice. Hop-on hop-off tours are a great way to soak up the area’s ambiance, while some multi-day tours stop in Antwerp’s Diamond District on the way to Brussels, Amsterdam, and beyond.
Things to know before you go
- Not all diamond shops are reputable; do your research and compare prices before making a purchase, remembering to check the store’s return policy and the terms of any credit.
- Many experts recommend requesting Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certification on any stone.
- Visitors from outside the European Union can avoid paying VAT taxes on large purchases; request a tax refund form at the time of purchase to claim the benefit.
- Pick up a free map from Antwerp’s tourist information offices to help find your way through the tangle of diamond factories and shops.
How to get there
The district comprises three square blocks just west of Antwerp’s Central Station. Most shops are located along the narrow Hoveniersstraat side street, in between Vestingstraat and Lange Herentalsestraat. The district is a 20-minute walk from Antwerp’s old town, while the Antwerp Diamond Bus runs hop-on, hop-off services around the area.
When to get there
Many diamond exchanges, dealers, and shops close Saturday for the Sabbath. During the week, the area keeps typical business hours.
Diamondland and DIVA Museum
If you're more interested in learning about the history of Antwerp's diamond trade than picking up a multicarat gem to take home, explore how Belgium became the diamond capital of the world at the DIVA Museum, home to historical exhibits and a treasure trove of precious artifacts. Diamondland is home to one of the largest showrooms in the city and offers a free factory tour, on which visitors can watch expert diamond cutters and polishers at work.
- Central Station
- Antwerp Zoo (Dierentuin)
- Rubens House (Rubenshuis)
- ModeMuseum (MoMu)
- Grand Market Place (Grote Markt van Antwerpen)
- Plantin-Moretus Museum
- Butcher's Hall (Vleeshuis)
- Museum aan de Stroom (MAS)
- Brabo Fountain
- Het Zuid
- De Koninck Antwerp City Brewery
- Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA)
- Red Star Line Museum