Water Gate
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Waterpoort, Gillisplaats, Antwerp
The Waterpoort, an early 17th century gate decorated with large sculptures, was moved twice before it ended up at the center of a small square south of the city center.

City Wall

The Waterpoort (Water Gate) was originally part of the defensive wall encircling the city from the 14th until the 19th century. The gate was located near the city center and gave access to the river bank, hence the name Water Gate.

The gate was originally known as the Porta Regia in honor of the Spanish king Philip IV as it was built during the Spanish occupation of the city. P.P. Rubens is said to have designed the gate
Waterpoort, Antwerp
East facade
which was constructed by Huybrecht van den Eynde and Hans van Mildert in 1624.

Walking Gate

Locals also know the Waterpoort as 'the walking gate' as its location changed twice. When the city's quay was redeveloped at the end of the 19th century, the gate was moved more to the south, at the Sint-Jansvliet, facing the riverfront. When the pedestrian tunnel under the river Scheldt was built in the 1930s the gate had to move again, since the building housing the tunnel's air ventilation was planned right at the location of the gate. In 1931, the Waterpoort was temporarily stored in a
Waterpoort, Antwerp
West Facade
municipal depot.

Five years later the Waterpoort was reinstalled, this time at the Gillisplaats, a square in the South neighborhood. The gate appropriately gave access to the water of the south docks. Now that the docks are filled in, the gate no longer gives access to water. Instead of being a Water Gate, it now resembles a triumphal arch.


The gate is abundantly decorated in baroque style. On the east side, it features a statue of the mythological god Neptunus while the opposite side shows a coat of arms and heraldic lions.

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