Antwerpen. The City of Diamonds and Religion
Everywhere you look you will see security cameras, men in frock, tefilin and with curls at the temples ... and a strange kind of hectic pace. This is Antwerpen - the most important center for manufacturing and trading of diamonds - and a place where you can truly experience the Jewish culture.
Actually Antwerpen might be a city of girls – at least here most of the girls best friends. 60% of rough diamond trading happens in Antwerpen. But instead of girls you see a lot of security measures: almost 1,600 diamond companies are located here. And a thriving Jewish population dating back to the Middle Ages. during that era, the Jews in Antwerpen weren’t allowed to do handcrafts. Instead they transformed their businesses into trading and built up a center for diamond trading. If you visit Antwerpen today, you can experience the Jewish culture as if you were in Jerusalem – that’s why Antwerpen is called “The Jerusalem of the North”.
At any rate, you should take a guided tour. But not with a travel business! If you want to see the secrets of the diamond city and the Jewish culture – go there with a real Jewish local.
Ask the director of the Jewish Commune “Shomre Hadas“, Jacky Wenger. (address: Antwerpen, Terlitstraat 35, Tel. 0032/3/232 01 87, EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org). And trust him, if he wants to show you traditional jewish food – kosher food is amazing!