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Photographer's Note

Restaurants are still closed here, but (if you watch closely) you can spot two locals dining outdoors here. They've placed their table right in fron the the newly restored Antwerp Beurs (Bourse).

Not a bad place for a dinner for two!

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The Antwerp Bourse ("Beurs") was the world's first purpose-built commodity exchange. It was founded before stocks and shares existed, so was not strictly a stock exchange.

As Antwerp took over the role of trade center from Bruges, it grew into a large metropolis with more than 100,000 inhabitants, including 10,000 foreign merchants, mostly Spaniards and Portuguese.

In the 16th century this exchange was the focal point of European trade and the model for cities with similar ambitions, e.g. the Royal Exchange in London was modelled after it.

During the 17th century it fell into disuse, then from 1872 until 1997 the restored building housed the Antwerp Stock Exchange, then it fell in disuse again. But recently the building has been restored to be used for private events. There are also plans for a luxurious hotel here. As a local I applaud the facelift of Bourse, but I'm a bit worried the beauty will be for private (privatized) eyes only. Sign of the times, I'm afraid.

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2881 W: 35 N: 6093] (32106)
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