The ‘City of Diamonds’. Antwerp with its population of 700,000 is the second largest city in the kingdom of Belgium and lies on the east bank of the river Schelde, 88 kilometers from the North Sea. It has the largest port in the country and after Rotterdam is the second most important sea port in Europe. This position makes Antwerp one of the European centres for trade, finance and industry. It is an international market place, the best equipped container port in Europe, the centre of banking and insurance institutions and boasts industries such as oil refineries, petroleum products (BASF etc), car and tractor manufacturers, shipyards, construction of ship engines and cranes. It also plays a spectacular role in diamond cutting and diamond trading (Diamond Exchange), which gives Antwerp its nickname as ‘Diamond Capital of the World’. To provide for further developments of the city on the left bank of the Schelde the Kennedy tunnel under the Schelde was constructed. Antwerp is a university town, the administrative seat of the province with the same name (1.6 million inhabitants) and the cultural center of Flanders.
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