Hand of Antwerp

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Family and Friends with the hand of Antwerp on the Meir

If anyone visits me in Antwerp, they must pose for a photo with the hand of Antwerp!

The name Antwerp (in Dutch: Antwerpen) has many possible origins. My favorite is the story of Brabo and the giant Antigoon.

Antigoon was a giant who lived on the Scheldt, the river of Antwerp. Antwerp was and still is a busy port, and the giant charged a high toll for all the ships that sailed through. If anyone refused to pay, Antigoon would chop off their hand and throw it in the river! One day Brabo, a Roman soldier, killed the giant by chopping off his head. Because Antigoon’s modus operandi was chopping off a hand of anyone who did not or could not pay the toll, Brabo also cut off the hand of Antigoon and threw it into the Scheldt.

In Dutch “hand throwing” is “hand werpen”, which eventually turned into “Antwerpen”, because Brabo threw Antigoon’s hand into the Scheldt River.

There is a statue of the famous folklore legend in front of City Hall in the Grote Markt. From the front you are able to see Brabo throwing the hand of the giant. But it’s actually quite gruesome if you view the statue from the back. You’re able to see Antigoon’s severed head with water from the fountain squirting out!

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Front of the Brabo statue in the Grote Markt

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Back of the Brabo statue in the Grote Markt

2 thoughts on “Hand of Antwerp

  1. Pingback: Barbara and Sofie’s Visit Part II | An American in Antwerp

  2. Pingback: Grayson and Tamar Visit Antwerp, August 2013 | An American in Antwerp

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