Antwerp’s famous Stadsfeestzaal has had an eventful history so far. Today, it is the place where 6.5 million people enjoy a unique shopping experience, in a beautifully restored environment that exudes luxury and grandeur. However, originally, the building served as a large event and exhibition hall.
Every resident of Antwerp has fond memories of the Stadsfeestzaal. The countless exhibitions, fairs, balls, school celebrations and Sinterklaas visits are engraved in the city’s collective memory.
The construction of the Stadsfeestzaal started at the end of the 19th century. City architect Alexis Van Mechelen created the monumental building, which was festively inaugurated eight years and 400,000 Belgian francs later. On 8 February 1908, the Stadsfeestzaal opened its doors. In 1983 the building was officially listed as national heritage.
Its location in the heart of Antwerp’s city centre – right in the middle of the Meir – made the Stadsfeestzaal a unique structure. The rich architecture of this grand establishment appealed to the imagination of the inhabitants and visitors of the Koekenstad, or ‘city of biscuits’, from day one.
Doorheen Over the years, time has taken its toll. The building became obsolete due to intensive use and difficult maintenance. In 2000, the city of Antwerp entered into an agreement with Multi Development to revitalise the Stadsfeestzaal. This was part of a major revitalisation of the Antwerp shopping circuit.
DHowever, it did not happen without a struggle. In December 2000, a fierce fire destroyed the entire Stadsfeestzaal. Only the monumental staircases, the historic façade and the steel roof structure remained intact. A long process of applying for permits delayed the revival of the property.
In 2004, there was suddenly light at the end of the tunnel. Multi Development acquired the project for the redevelopment of the Stadsfeestzaal and immediately set to work. What followed was a fine example of planning, vision, craftsmanship and intensive work.
Wist je dat…
Did you know that
… more than 2,000 lorries of earth were brought in and out during the restoration?
… whale bones were even found in the vaults of the Stadsfeestzaal?
… the total restoration took no less than 3 years?
… painting the gold leaf ornaments was a painstaking job that took 1.5 years?
In October 2007, the time had finally come. The renovated, glorious Shopping Stadsfeestzaal opened its doors to the public. It formed the final piece of an integrated shopping circuit in the city centre. With quality housing units and a substantial increase in parking space on top.
To this day, Shopping Stadsfeestzaal is a glittering beacon in the heart of the city. A generous monument of which every resident of Antwerp is justly proud.