The Officers’ Quarter was built in the 1860s and throughout the course of the following century experienced a tumultuous (political) history. In the beginning, the theatre and concert hall not only featured numerous concerts by renowned philharmonic orchestras but also showcased the crème de la crème of the German acting gild in well-known theatre productions. During this time, the hall was frequently remodeled to comply with ‘modern’ demands – each time involving some of the most talented contemporary architects of the époque. During the Second World War, the Officers’ Quarter hosted many NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)-events and even became the official ‘Kraft durch Freude Concert Hall’. After the war, the Soviets claimed the hall and dubbed it ‘Red Army Hall’; later on, they renamed it to: ‘Soviets’ Officers Club’. In those days, the club featured a cinema, library, restaurant and a discotheque. To symbolize the German-Soviet-friendship, they even placed a giant statue of Lenin in front of the buildings. After the Red Army hed left, the place became abandoned… Lenin’s statue disappeared. Nowadays, this (once) majestic theatre hall is in an advanced state of decay.
Built between 1880 and 1890, this fort was the last brick-built fort in Belgium. It marked the end of the era of brick fortification building in the country, which lasted for eight centuries. As part of the fortification belt around the – in those days – military capital of Belgium, Antwerp, the fort was also the most expensive one built until 1890 and the only one with a dry ditch. As the years passed, the fort was turned into a factory where warfare gasses were produced. Later on it became a military training ground. In the late 1990s, the fort lost its military purpose and was transformed into a nature reserve. Nowadays it is almost completely flooded and houses a wide array of fauna and flora.
This ceramics producing group dates back as far as the 1830s. It was once the largest producer of ceramics in Europe. Even though the factory is now abandoned and destined to be redeveloped into a series of luxury apartments, its heritage – a collection of approximately 60.000 earthenware objects depicting the history of Sphinx – will keep its memory alive forever.
The railway lines at the Gare de Hombourg were already constructed before 1900. In 1940, during WW2, the German Army used the station and the tracks for the connection between Belgium and Aachen. After the war, Belgians started using the station and its tracks again until it was closed for passengers (in 1957) and freights (in 1962). In 1992, the tracks were demolished and the station was left abandoned. Today the tracks have been rebuilt and the station has been reconverted to a restaurant. The old rusty trains will be restored to become part of a railway museum.
The military fort was part of the third fortification around the city of Antwerp. It was the only one in the third fortification with an irregular formed plan. The construction of the Fort started before WW1 but the works weren’t finished when the war started. In WW2 it got quickly conquered and served mostly as a point of distribution. In the 1960’s it became abandoned.
The old brewery was built in the 1870-80’s. The malting plant was added in the late 1890’s. After WW2 the beer production stopped and since then the buildings have been used for various other businesses. A sports association has built sports halls, a sauna and even a bowling alley in the old brewery. Later a big bar with dance halls was added. Nowadays a big part of the Brauhaus has been reconverted to make place for offices.