The vivid history of Shopping Stadsfeestzaal: glorious past, ambitious future

The Stadsfeestzaal, a brilliant gem on the Antwerp crown

The famous Stadsfeestzaal in Antwerpen has seen its share of the city’s history. Today, it’s a place where over 6,5 million people per year indulge in a unique shopping experience, in a beautifully restored environment that resonates a golden era of luxurious greatness. But it was originally built as an impressive event and exhibition hall.

Every local has great memories of the Stadsfeestzaal. The countless fairs, exhibitions, proms, events and traditional “Sinterklaas” visits are part of the city’s collective memory.

Grand opening

Construction works for the Stadsfeestzaal started late 19th century. City architect Alexis Van Mechelen created the monumental structure, that opened its doors eight years and 400.000 Belgian francs later – on the 8th of February 1908. In 1983 the building was officially classified as a monument.

The location in the heart of the city center – in the middle of the busiest shopping street – made the Stadsfeestzaal a unique landmark. The rich construction style of this city palace flabbergasted residents and visitors alike from day one.

Time took its toll

Throughout the years, time took its toll on what was once an astonishing building. Intensive usage and inadequate maintenance led to a steady decline. In an effort to turn things around, the city of Antwerp sought out Multi Development in 2000 to restore the splendor of the Stadsfeestzaal. This deal was part of a great revitalization of the Antwerp shopping district.

But things didn’t go as planned. In December of 2000, a great fire tore down what was left of the building. Only the monumental stairways, the historic façade and the steel roof construction survived the blaze. And the revival of this architectural masterpiece was slowed down by endless permit requests.

A new life for an old monument

In 2004, light appeared at the end of the tunnel. Multi Development acquired the Stadsfeestzaal restauration project and went to work immediately. What followed was a beautiful and harmonious symphony of craftsmanship, planning, vision and intensive labor.

Did you know that…

  • … over 2.000 trucks of soil and sand were moved in and out during the renovation?
  • … whale bones were discovered in the ancient vaults of the Stadsfeestzaal?
  • … it took over 3 years to fully renovate the building?
  • … painting the gold ornaments took more than 1,5 years to complete?

A new era

The moment we were all waiting for came in October 2007. The completely renewed, glorious Shopping Stadsfeestzaal opened its doors to the public. It was regarded as the masterpiece that completed the new downtown shopping district. With high-end housing and an impressive expansion of parking facilities integrated into the design.

Today, Shopping Stadsfeestzaal is a shimmering beacon that shines its light on all the city. A royal monument which every Antwerp local cherishes with pride.