Antwerp chosen to host 60th anniversary of Tall Ships Races


The world’s most spectacular vessels and hundreds of thousands of visitors will descend on Antwerp next summer for the 2016 Tall Ships Races

From Antwerp to Lisbon

Antwerp will be the host city for the Tall Ships Races in 2016 for the sixth time, the Port Authority has announced. The city will be the starting point for the diamond anniversary of the races, which involve some of the world’s most spectacular vessels. Ships will pull out of Antwer harbour on 7 July next year, amid much fanfar, as they head to Lisbon, followed by Cadiz and La Coruña in Spain.

Last weekend saw the official launch of the preparations by Antwerp city council, and organisers will spend the next year recruiting suitable ships and crews. The event is also a chance for about 4,000 students from marine schools to gain experience in working on some of the world’s finest sailing ships. About 100 ships will be moored for four days at the quays in the centre of the city. The last time the races called at Antwerp, in 2010 (pictured), 750,000 people visited both from Belgium and abroad.

A celebration at the weekend saw mayor Bart De Wever, port alderman Marc Van Peel and tourism alderman Koen Kennis cheer on the Polish training ship Dar Młodzieży. It was carrying a crew that included students from the Antwerp Maritime School, who will be learning sailing techniques and navigation as part of an international crew. 

Next year marks the event’s diamond anniversary and takes place from 7 to 10 July; this year’s event is to be hosted by Belfast, and ships will head to Aalborg in Denmark.

Photo courtesy Ad Meskens/Wikimedia

Port of Antwerp

The port of Antwerp is Europe’s second-largest port and one of the world’s most important ports for container traffic.
Going green - The port’s first-ever sustainability report won it the Award for Best Belgian Sustainability Report.
Size - The port takes up more space than the actual city of Antwerp.
Roots - Historians have found evidence for the port’s existence dating back to the 12th century.

barges entering the port daily


companies in the greater port area


tonnes of freight handled in 2012