From Friday 22 to Monday 25 July, 40 of the world's most beautiful sailing ships will dock in Antwerp for The Tall Ships Races, organised by the City of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp-Bruges in collaboration with Balthazar Events and numerous sponsors and partners. If you want to admire the impressive sailing ships, you can visit the quays of the Scheldt, Kattendijk dock and the docks around the MAS. From Friday to Sunday, many ships hold free open decks. The Tall Ships Races also bring a lot of atmosphere to the city with a host of dazzling performances on Zaha Hadidplein and Steenplein, the traditional crew parade, a sparkling fireworks display over the Scheldt and at Kattendijk dock on Saturday. Visitors can also drop by the Ecopolis at the MAS and the Maritime Market at the Napoleon Quay.
From 22 to 25 July, 40 Tall Ships will dock at the quays of the Scheldt, Kattendijk dock and the docks around the MAS. The Tall Ships Races consist of two races, the first from Esbjerg in Denmark to Harlingen in the Netherlands, after which they sail from Harlingen to Antwerp. On 25 July, the ships will leave Antwerp and set sail for Aalborg in Denmark. It is the seventh time that the races will call at Antwerp.
According to the Mayor, Bart De Wever: "The Tall Ships Races bring the cathedrals of the sea to Antwerp and provide a unique meeting between history and the present in the heart of our city. Along with many others, I am therefore looking forward to this wonderful event in which we can also make Antwerp sparkle once more with a grand fireworks display."
About a hundred Belgian trainees, all between 15 and 25 years of age, will take part in The Tall Ships Races as part of the Antwerp Crew. There are also five ships racing under the Belgian flag: the Rupel, Saeftinghe, Zenobe Gramme, Op Stok 3 and Patricia.
Alderman for the port, Annick De Ridder: "We are all looking forward to the arrival of the world's most beautiful sailing ships which will be on display here in Antwerp from 22 to 25 July. These sailing cathedrals will bring the city and the port together in one big celebration. For too long, we have lived with our backs to the Scheldt. From the quays of the Scheldt, Kattendijk dock and the docks around the MAS, every resident of Antwerp can enjoy this true feast for the eyes.”
The deck of many Class A and B ships can be accessed free of charge on Friday from 12pm to 6pm and the rest of the weekend from 10am to 6pm. On Mondays, the ships will be preparing for departure and no visitors will be allowed on board. The event squares at the Port House and Het Steen will also open to the public on Friday at noon. On Saturday and Sunday, they will open from 10am onwards. On Monday, Steenplein will still be open from 10am to 3pm.
The arrival of The Tall Ships Races goes hand in hand with some noteworthy traditions. On Saturday, for example, the Crew Parade will take place through the city. Many crew members, dressed in their official uniforms, will then depart from Zuiderterras and parade via the Quays, past the MAS to the Port House. There the parade will end with an award ceremony.
On Saturday evening, firework displays will start at three different locations, providing a stunning spectacle.
On Hanzestedenplaats, at the MAS, visitors can visit Ecopolis all weekend long. Here, some of the partners cooperating in The Tall Ships Races, Lantis, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Orange, PSA and MSC, will present their innovative and sustainable achievements.
On the Napoleon Quay, a genuine Maritime Market will be held where you will find all sorts of stands selling delicacies, trinkets and so on.
Outstanding musical line-up
During this festive weekend, there will be many exciting performances for young and old, both on Zaha Hadidplein at the Port House and on Steenplein.
At the Port House on Zaha Hadidplein, the party will kick off on Friday night with a real I love the 90s party where 2 Fabiola, 2 Unlimited and Sylver with DJ Wout will rock the joint. On Saturday, there will be something for everyone at Zaha Hadidplein, with the Break Free Queen Tribute Show, Cookies And Cream and Omdat Het Kan Soundsystem ft. Average Rob. Sunday will be a family day with a performance by Captain Winokio for the little ones, and there will also be performances by Lady Linn, The Starlings, Les Truttes and last but not least, Robert Falcon. At Steenplein, too, the ambiance will be guaranteed, with an after-work party by The Love Below on Friday and performances by DJ Papa Mojito, Eagl, Les Inconnus, Cream Colored Ponies and many others on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, Radio Minerva will provide a real thé dansant, for all those who like to let their legs run free.
The full programme can be found at https://tallships.antwerpen.be/en/.
This year, the city will be using reusable cups for all drinks, which can be returned to the bars using a guarantee system. A deposit will be charged for each cup and can be exchanged at each square, where visitors can also donate the deposit to a good cause, in this case the River Cleanup.
At the Zaha Hadidplein, reusable materials will also be used for the food stands.
Digital card system
This edition, too, will work with rechargeable cards instead of tokens or coupons. These cards can be obtained free of charge and can be recharged at the ticket offices, with cash or with a debit card. You can also charge your card with Payconiq using your smartphone. Any remaining balance can be simply reclaimed after the event, up to 9 August from https://tallships.antwerpen.be/refund.
The city is asking people to come preferably on foot, by bicycle, by one of the sharing systems, or by public transport. Extensive mobility information can be found at www.sna.be.
Those coming by car are advised to use one of the park-and-rides outside the city and from there to get to the city centre by public transport or by using one of the sharing systems.
For more information
Races for everyone thanks to STI, the sponsors and patrons
The Tall Ships Races Antwerp are organised by the city of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp-Bruges under the umbrella of Sail Training International (STI). Sail Training International is the leading organiser and provider of races, events, conferences, seminars, publications, research and other services for the international sail training community. One of the founding members of STI is Sail Training Association Belgium, the umbrella sailing organisation in Belgium and a partner of The Tall Ships Races.
Sail Training International wants to attract young people from very different backgrounds to take part in the races. In this way, they too can master or sharpen all kinds of competences which may be important both now and in their later (professional) lives. In order to allow everyone, including participants with a limited budget, to participate in The Tall Ships Races, there are companies who commit themselves as patrons.
During the same festive weekend from 22 to 24 July, the city of Antwerp, in collaboration with the De Koninck brewery, will be organising the annual Bollekesfeest festival on the Grote Markt and the Groenplaats.
On the Grote Markt, you will find an extensive musical programme, while on the Groenplaats you will find a huge terrace with all kinds of stands selling regional products.
The full programme and all practical information can be found at www.bollekesfeest.be.