Province d'Anvers (Belgium)

2017-04-07 11:07:40 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Province d'Anvers is the northernmost province both of the Flemish Region, also called Flanders, and of Belgium. It borders on (clockwise from the North) North Brabant province of the Netherlands and the Belgian provinces of Limburg, Flemish Brabant and East Flanders. Its capital is Antwerp which comprises the Port of Antwerp. It has an area of 2867 km² (1107 sq mi) and with 1.8 million inhabitants it is the country's most populous province. The province consists of 3 arrondissements: Antwerp, Mechelen and Turnhout. The eastern part of the province comprises the main part of the Campine region.

History

During the early Middle Ages the region was part of the Frankish Empire, which was divided into several pagi. The territory of the present day province belonged to several pagi of which the region around Antwerp belonged to the Pagus Renesium. The Pagus Toxandria stretched from North Brabant into the Campine region. To the south there was the Pagus Bracbatinse and the Pagus Hasbaniensis. In 843 the Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne was divided among his sons and the river Scheldt became the border between West Francia and East Francia. In 974 Otto II established the Margraviate of Antwerp as a defence against the County of Flanders.

In 1106, Henry V granted the Margraviate to Godfrey I of Leuven. His descendants would from 1235 onwards become the Dukes of Brabant and the region itself was the northern part of the Duchy of Brabant. In 1430 the Duchy became part of the Duchy of Burgundy until 1477 when it fell to the House of Habsburg. In 1713, at the end of the Spanish Succession War the region became part of the Austrian Netherlands until 1794, with in 1790 the short lived United States of Belgium. On 1 October 1795 the former Austrian Netherlands were annexed by France under the French Directory.

The modern province was created as the Department of the two Netes during the First French Empire (when the Southern Netherlands were part of France). After the defeat of Napoleon, the territory became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands as the province of Central Brabant, distinguishing it from North Brabant and South Brabant. In 1830, after Belgium's independence the province was renamed Antwerp (after its major city and capital).

Traffic infrastructure

The province has a network of roads, railroads, canals and rivers which provide a modern infrastructure. Historically, the traffic infrastructure was an important element of connecting the Port of Antwerp with the Ruhr Area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Both the Iron Rhine railroad and the E313 (King Baudouin highway) and E34 highway connect Antwerp with the Ruhr Area.

The river Schelde, an important waterway, connects the Port of Antwerp with the North Sea. The Albert Canal connects the Scheldt in Antwerp with the Meuse and Liège. Other canals are the Canal Dessel – Kwaadmechelen, Schoten – Turnhout – Dessel, and Herentals – Bocholt which flows into the Nete canal.

Of the International E-road network, the E313, E19, and E34 run through parts of the province. The Kennedy Tunnel and the Liefkenshoek Tunnel connect the highway network of the province with East Flanders and Ghent. In addition a new Oosterweelconnection is under consideration.

The railroads connect the major cites of the province, such as Antwerp, Mechelen, Herentals, Turnhout and Mol. The Iron Rhine connects Antwerp with Mönchengladbach in Germany. The new High Speed Train connects Antwerpen-Centraal railway station with Brussels (HSL 4) and Amsterdam (HSL-Zuid) at high speed. Antwerp International Airport, located in Deurne is a regional airport.

Tourism

The province harbors several historical cities, such as Antwerp, Mechelen, Turnhout, Herentals and Lier. The Campine region is becoming a popular destination for tourists searching for a quiet and relaxed weekend. Old farms were transformed into bed and breakfast-hotels, the restaurant and café business is very active and an ingenious network for bicycle tours has come to life the past few years. Here and there still up to several dozens acres of large heathland - and forests, such as the Kalmthoutse Heide (E: Kalmthout heathland) in Kalmthout, the moors around Turnhout, the Liereman (Oud-Turnhout) and the Prinsenpark in Retie. In a number of villages one can still see the typical Campine langgevelboerderijen (E: long facade farms).

Education and research

The province is home to several educational institutions and the University of Antwerp. Several research institutions are located in the province, such as the SCK•CEN, the European Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO).

Economy

The Port of Antwerp is the economic heart of the province. Until the agricultural crisis of 1880, the eastern part of the province was a largely agricultural region. The industrial development of the eastern part of the province, part of the Campine region, started at the end of the 19th century when industry established itself in the region. The availability of cheap labor, new roads, canals, tramways and railroads such as the Iron Rhine, stimulated the settlement of new industry. Brick making industry alongside the canals, paper and printing business in Turnhout. Non-ferrous metallurgy in Balen-Nete, dynamite factories in Arendonk and Balen. Tobacco and cigar factories in Arendonk and the first shoe factory in Herentals. During the 1920s, the industrial expansion of the region continued with the radium and copper factories in Olen, the glass factory in Mol-Gompel and the diamond industry in Grobbendonk and Nijlen.

In the 20th century the first nuclear installation in Belgium was established at the SCK•CEN in Mol in 1962. The European Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM), one of the EU Joint Research Centres, was founded in Geel in 1957 as a result of the Treaty of Rome. Innotek is a technology centre located in Geel and is part of the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN). Industry in the Campine region of the province is mainly located alongside the E313, the E34 and the Albert Canal.

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