Why Antwerp

Roads, waterways, air traffic, railways - every major European logistics chain passes through Antwerp. We’re the continent’s best connected city, with office space to spare. Read more about the city and discover why Antwerp will be your next go-to destination for your company.

Europe’s best connected city

The Port of Antwerp is the second largest container terminal in the world. It welcomes the largest vessels eighty kilometers inland – bringing products as close as possible to their final destination. Where ships are offloaded, a modern network of railroads, roads, pipelines and waterways carries goods to the heart of Europe in no time.

Antwerp also boasts a top spot in digital connectivity. We’ve claimed a spot in the top ten of area’s with the best broadband access for several years now. Mobile coverage is equally as reliable. Combined with a wide range of modern communication and tracking tools, this means you are always as close as possible to your goods – even if they are litterally thousands of kilometers away. 

Accessibility and mobility of goods

The port of Antwerp is a world port. It is the 11th largest port in the world and the 2nd largest port in Europe. This makes it a major gateway to Europe.

The Antwerp port has an excellent infrastructure for receiving all types of transports and goods. Moreover, absolutely no other port is so centrally located in Europe as Antwerp, which makes transport to the consumers easier, more sustainable, more efficient and consequently less expensive.

Accessibility and mobility of passengers

Antwerp is strongly tied to the surrounding business centres, such as London and Paris, via motorway, high-speed train and airplane. Moreover, several mobility projects ensure a smooth traffic flow in and around the city.

Road connectivity

Antwerp is well connected with a close-knit road network. Several regional motorways provide good circulation while the city also lies at the crossroads of five major international motorways. Road traffic in Antwerp will flow even smoother in the future with the construction of the Oosterweel link. The Flemish Region will invest more than 3 billion euro in this major project. An improved link will also be constructed between the E313/E34 from Hasselt and Eindhoven with the E19. The A102 is to become a tunnel in the direction of Breda.

High-speed train connectivity

Thanks to Antwerp’s high-speed train station, major cities in France, the Netherlands, Germany and England are within easy reach from the city centre within minimal travel times. Paris is only two hours away. Moreover, the HST trains also offer fast connections to Europe’s major international airports.

Air connectivity

Brussels Airport, Belgium’s large international airport is less than 30 minutes away. In addition, Antwerp also has its own small but flexible airport close to the city centre. With its short check-in times and excellent location, Antwerp Airport plays an important role in meeting the needs of international business travellers. Travel time to the main destination, London City, is just 1 hour.

The city you’ll love to live in

The population of Antwerp is on the rise: in recent years, plenty of young families have been flocking to the inner city, boosting new urban developments all over town. And they know exactly why they’re doing it: Antwerp is the region’s cultural capital, with the Sportpaleis proudly sitting in eight’ place worldwide on the list of best selling arena venues. Nightlife is vibrant too, with plenty of theatres, more restaurants and bars than you can ever visit in your life and some stunningly brilliant museums.

On top of all this, Antwerp is a great place to raise children. Teachers and schools rank among the best in Europe, local sport clubs are open to everyone and with every passing month, several kilometers of bike lane are added to the already bike-friendly inner streets of the city. Buying or renting a place in Antwerp is also cheaper than in most European cities.

"Antwerp is a vibrant place to live and work. Its dynamic business community makes the city a true metropolis with international charisma."

High Spending Potential

The atmosphere in Antwerp is one of enjoyment and relaxation, which attracts visitors of all ages who are quite prepared to spend their money on gourmet dining, shopping, an afternoon or a weekend of culture and fun. The quality of life is high, and this is evident to every visitor.

Throughout Belgium, the GDP per capita – and hence purchasing power – is 19% higher than the average in Europe. In the Province of Antwerp, the GDP is 38% higher, and even 45% in the District of Antwerp. And shoppers choose Antwerp as their favourite place to spend their income.

The major international companies in and around Antwerp also attract a steady stream of international workers. Moneyed expats love all the comforts that the city offers. They also feel at home in Antwerp.

A city of networks

Antwerp has been a business hotspot for over five centuries. The result of this never-ending cycle of investment and growth is a mature business network, where partnerhsips and production chains are easy to form. 

This is most clear in the chemicals industry, with Antwerp being the largest cluster in the world for all things chemistry and refinery. But the same goes for our start-up network, with everything from coworking office spaces to business angels networks and a growth-hacking mentality. Diamonds, fashion, retail, logistics, business services, … you’ll find a network tailored to your needs here. Ready for you to take advantage of.


  • 4th place in the ranking of most open economies
  • 51% higher GDP per capita than the EU-average
  • 175 FDI projects

Affordable Space

In a few months, Blue Gate Antwerp will welcome its first occupants. The brand new, eco-effective and water-bound redeveloped brownfield is exemplary for the ambitions of the city in catering for modern industries. Here, sustainable production facilities and state-of-the art R&D departments will feind their natural home.

The recent growth of Antwerp has also created an immense array of available office spaces, ranging from old industrial buildings to new developments, both in the heart of the city or at its outer borders.

Plenty of office space

There are 1.7 million m2 of office space in the City of Antwerp, and so there are plenty of offices. The upper rental limits in the centre is 145 euros/m²/year.

1 742 881 m²
197 087 m²
Prime rent
145 EUR / m² / year

Office space is cheaper in Antwerp than that of comparable quality in the major commercial centres in neighbouring countries. This is evident from standardised figures that include both maintenance costs and taxes. Total office space costs in Antwerp amount to around 166 euros/m²/year.

Development areas

Blue Gate Antwerp

Blue Gate Antwerp is a brownfield of 103 hectares in the southwest of Antwerp that is being redeveloped into a high-quality waterfront and eco-effective business area. Blue Gate Antwerp offers space to innovative production companies, waterway-linked logistics companies and research and development, and is fully committed to the circular economy.

Blue Gate Antwerp wants to be CO2-neutral. The prevention or recycling of waste, the maximum and integral closing of material cycles, the use of renewable energy, the focus on green products… are all essential characteristics of the site. 

Churchill Industrial Zone

The site is ideal for the development of a large-scale circular economy project. Within the port area the site is one of the few large remaining areas in the centre of Antwerp's industrial cluster.

The Antwerp Port Authority is offering an attractive industrial investment opportunity in the heart of Europe's main integrated industrial, maritime and logistics platform. The site is an ideal base for high-tech waste treatment. The project area is immediately available.

Saeftinghe Development Area

Saeftinghe Development Area, the northern expansion of the port on the Left Bank, comprises an area of approx. 1070 ha which will be developed for maritime, industrial and logistics activities. The construction of a tidal container dock is also planned here.

Logistic Park Schijns

The port is developing areas on both the Left bank and the Right bank for specific logistics activities with multimodal access. The Spatial Structural Plan for Flanders has pencilled in the development of two logistics area: The Logistics Park Waasland (left bank) and the Logistics Park Schijns (right bank)).

It’s all about people

Life is good in Flanders. Unemployment is low, productivity is high, trust in the economy is rising and the wounds of the financial crisis have healed almost completely. In the midst of these uplifting economic factors, you’ll find a highly trained and well motivated workforce.

Antwerp has its own university with a great number of spin-offs and start-ups located nearby. But the appeal of the city reacher a lot wider. Many young graduates come to Antwerp to start their careers and their lives. 

The labour productivity in the province of Antwerp is higher than the Flemish, Belgian and EU averages.

Labour productivity in the province of Antwerp is lower than in the economic world centres of London, Luxembourg, Brussels and Paris. Hamburg too scores better than Antwerp. Labour productivity in Antwerp is higher than in the other German and French cities and in the Dutch cities.

Language skills

Like the rest of Flanders, Antwerp is a Dutch-speaking city. The average Fleming, however, has a good command of several languages, most commonly English and French. However, many also have a command of German, Spanish and/or other languages. From an international perspective, language skills in Flanders are unique.

Highly skilled staff

Percentage of people aged 25-64 with tertiary education qualifications in 2013

Antwerp’s workforce is highly trained. Over 1 in 3 people aged between 25 and 64 have graduated from tertiary education. One university and several colleges in Antwerp educate nearly 40 000 students per year.

The university’s key research domains are in the fields of harbour & logistics, sustainability, science & engineering, and medical sciences.
In addition, Antwerp is home to a number of specialised knowledge centres linked to the university or the colleges.

Innovative frontrunner

Antwerp is the frontrunner in Belgium when it comes to knowledge-intensive high tech jobs.
There are 91,000 STEM employees (people with high tech jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics who are employed in all sectors, not just high-tech).

In the high tech industry, Antwerp is also in the fore. In the province of Antwerp there are 477,000 people with a final school certificate in the science and technology fields and/or people employed in this field – the highest number in

Antwerp, a creative pool

Antwerp is known worldwide as a hub of creativity and innovative entrepreneurship. Creative talent studies in Antwerp, starts up companies and flourishes in the city after which it moves abroad. Antwerp’s creative economy is a dynamic sector and its entrepreneurs provide excellent investment opportunities.

"Antwerp’s chances to sustain itself lie in reinforcing its cultural richness and resonance both in its mainstream and alternative forms; by projecting its heritage and innovation simultaneously; by uplifting the quality of its suburbs as well as the centre through quality design; by blending well contemporary and historic architecture; by being globally connected and present and by revitalizing its learning system for the coming era.”

Why invest in creative economy?

  • Creative companies have the potential to grow fast, a trend which is reflected in the strong growth of the creative sector in general.

  • Start-ups and growing companies in the creative sectors can make great headway because they focus on innovation with a limited investment.

  • The creative economy is closely interwoven with various sectors and businesses, and potentially can rely on a global market.

  • Whereas the start-up phase and the initial growth are a very local occurrence all the creative sectors tend to focus on foreign expansion.

The epicentre of business services in Flanders.

More than 20% of the total added value in business services in Flanders is generated in the city of Antwerp. The city is responsible for over 25% of all employment in business services in Flanders.

Antwerp has large sectors in:

  • Head offices and consultancy
  • Financial services
  • ICT services
  • Legal and accounting services
  • Temping and placement services
  • Architects and engineers
  • Cleaning companies and landscaping companies
  • Administrative services such as invoicing, payroll, collection agencies, the organisation of conventions and trade shows, call centres
  • Advertising and market research
  • Technical services including designers, photographers, translators, managers, experts
  • Rental and leasing
  • Travel agencies
  • Security
  • Scientific research
  • Veterinary services

The sector in figures

The City of Antwerp has 6,846 companies that have to file accounts every year as well as 3,805 self-employed who all provide business services. The companies generate a total added value of 4.4 billion euros, with a workforce of 60,490 employees. Business services by far are the city’s biggest activity, in terms of the number of companies and especially in terms of the workforce employed. In terms of added value the business services sector is comparable with industry.

Largest sectors by number of companies:

  • consultancy (1.637)
  • financial services (1.134)
  • ICT services (842)

Largest sectors in terms of added value:

  • Temp agencies and placement (1.4 billion euros)
  • Head offices (790 million euros)
  • Architects and engineers (359 million euros)

Focus industries

Antwerp is a major center for Transport & Logistics, Mining & Minerals, Oil & Gas, Retail, Cleantech and Information Technology.

Learn about our Focus industries.