Belgium: Antwerp / Antwerpen / Anvers
Antwerp is a city in Belgium, and is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504 it is the most populous city proper in Belgium. The city sits on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river's Westerschelde estuary.
After the Holocaust and the destruction of its many Jews, Antwerp became a major centre for Orthodox Jews. At present, about 15,000 Haredi Jews, many of them Hasidic, live in Antwerp. The city has three official Jewish Congregations: Shomrei Hadass, Machsike Hadass. Antwerp has an extensive network of synagogues, shops, schools and organizations. Significant Hasidic movements in Antwerp include Pshevorsk, based in Antwerp, as well as branches of Satmar, Belz, Bobov, Ger, Skver, Klausenburg, Wiznitz and several others.
In the 16th century, Antwerp was noted for the wealth of its citizens. The houses of these wealthy merchants and manufacturers have been preserved throughout the city. However, fire has destroyed several old buildings, such as the house of the Hanseatic League on the northern quays, in 1891. During World War II, the city also suffered considerable damage by V-bombs, and in recent years, other noteworthy buildings were demolished for new developments.