If you ever plan a visit to the city of Antwerp, you should definitely take a walk in the “Vlaeykensgang” (or Vlaaikensgang).
Stepping through the gate at the Oude Koornmarkt n°16, ending up in this picturesque, hidden medieval alley, you will be transported back in time, to the 16th century.
The Vlaeykensgang, dating from the year 1591, is a unique small cobblestone street in the center of Antwerp, hidden between 2 busy streets and close to the Cathedral. Behind the small entrance, you step into a passage with its quiet courtyards. The alley consists of 11 authentic back houses where everything is still pretty much as it used to be.
This secret street owes its name to a pie (vlaai is the Dutch word for pie) and waffle house that used to be found here.
In previous times lived the shoemakers who had to sound the alarm bell of the Cathedral of Our Lady a little bit further away, even also some of the most poorest people lived here.
Centuries ago Antwerp consisted of many such alleys, but at the end of the 19th century many of these places were demolished. The Vlaeykensgang survived thanks to our Belgian antique dealer Axel Vervoordt who bought the place in 1969 and had it restored. Thanks to Axel this alley is still an oasis of peace.
Nowadays you will find art galleries and restaurants.
The part of the Vlaeykensgang housing restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyck.
One of the preserved back houses in the alley.
The Vlaeykensgang’s cobblestone paths.
Inner courtyard terrace of restaurant ‘t Hofke.
The cobblestone courtyard.
Very idyllic to walk, especially in the spring and summer months when the branch-covered arch is in bloom.
The entrance of cocktailbar Tazu.
Charming courtyard restored architecture.
Leading to the courtyard.
The “Vlaeykensgang”, definitely worth a visit!
All pictures by me