Discover Benelux | Top Things to Do & Places to Visit | Flanders
Ambiorix. Photo: © Henri Savenay
Basilica. Photo: © Jeroen Broux
Antiques Market. Photo: © Jeroen Broux
Largest antiques market in the Benelux TEXT: KOEN GUIKING
Most towns in Belgium can be a bit sleepy on Sundays, but not Tongeren. In fact, Sunday is probably the best day to visit Belgium’s oldest city. This is when the famous antiques market takes place. It is the largest antiques and vintage market in the Benelux, with over 350 stalls and 40 antique shops. Many international tourists go treasure hunting in Tongeren. “The antiques market draws by far the most international visitors to Tongeren,” says Marc Hoogmartens, alderman of tourism in Tongeren. “As we are very close to the Dutch and German border, we get many visitors from the Netherlands and Germany, but the antiques market is also very popular with 28 | Issue 32 | August 2016
British, American and Asian tourists.” The large clientele – a thousand every week, all year round – also attracts professional antiques traders from afar that come to sell their high-quality goods in Tongeren.
40-year-old antiques market Hoogmartens says: “What started exactly 40 years ago, in August 1976, with seven local residents organising a flea market, has evolved into the biggest antiques market in the Benelux.” This has resulted in a large number of antique shops opening its doors in Tongeren. There are 40 of them now, but only on Sundays is the city centre turned into one big – partially covered – market where one can rummage through unique crystal glasses,
silverware and pottery, vinyl records, mannequins, vintage toys, old postcards, old-fashioned furniture, rare collector's items and so on. Tongeren’s antiques market starts very early: at 7am. This is when you will see the experienced marketers in action, scanning the stalls for hidden treasures. They know that they have to be quick to get their hands on special pieces, before someone else scoops them. The market only runs till 1pm, so make sure you get there on time.
Time travel through Tongeren The goods on the market are likely to bring back childhood memories, or
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Design, Tourism, Food, Culture and Business.