How old is the Port of Antwerp?
You only need to put your hand in the Scheldt to be connected to the whole world. So goes a saying in the Antwerp port community. The Scheldt is the lifeline connecting the city to the four corners of the world. Just look at the history of Antwerp through the ages. Every time the Scheldt was closed, a period of economic decline followed. The city fell into decline, the inhabitants moved away. If the lifeline is cut off, the heart stops beating.
For the best-known example, and the absolute low point, we need to go back to 1585. After the city fell into Spanish hands, the occupiers closed off the Scheldt. In the preceding centuries, Antwerp had grown into a global commercial centre. Once the Scheldt was closed, Antwerp rapidly went from being a world port to an inland port.