Port of Antwerp wins European heritage award


The European Sea Ports Association gave its annual award to Antwerp for the city’s successful integration of its port in the community

Museums and archives noted as highlights of integration

The port of Antwerp has won this year’s ESPO Award by the European Sea Ports Association. The award, given for the community integration of ports, was handed over in the city hall of Brussels to port COO Christiaan De Block by EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas.

This is the fifth time the ESPO award has been given. The prize was inaugurated in 2009 to promote innovative projects for the social integration of ports within the cities and communities where they are located. The theme of this year’s awards was Heritage.

“The public interest in heritage has increased considerably in recent years and has gained strong tourist potential,” an ESPO spokesperson said. “Most ports boast rich collections of industrial and other heritage, including equipment, buildings and monuments. This can be used in an innovative manner not just to explain a port’s history but also to make the connection with present and future development.”

Among the achievements listed in Antwerp’s nomination are the establishment of a port archive in the Felix Archive close to the MAS museum, which is situated on the Bonaparte Dock and itself forms an important link between the port and the city. The renovation of quays at the Bonaparte and Willem docks was also noted, as was the restoration and donation of old dock cranes to the site. The jury also noted the creation of an historic replica of the Nassau bridge.

According to the Port Authority, the port’s heritage forms a trail through the port area, from the Felix Archive to the Dry Dock Park and new Port House and including the new Red Star Line Museum.

Antwerp was on a shortlist that also included Cartagena (Colombia), Dover (England), Livorno (Italy) and Oslo (Norway).