Swimming in the dock of the bay: Antwerp looks to create public swimming space

Swimming in the dock of the bay: Antwerp looks to create public swimming space
The Bonapartedok. Credit: City of Antwerp

Cities across Belgium are increasingly responding to the growing demand for open-air public swimming spaces, with Antwerp being the latest to work on such a project in the city’s docks.

The city is now looking for a partner to make water recreation possible in the “Bonapartedok” next to the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS). Soon, it should be possible to take a refreshing dip in the water where it is currently forbidden to swim, according to reports from De Standaard.

“People in Antwerp will be able to swim on the ‘Eilandje’ again. We are looking for a partner to make this possible,” councillor for the port, Annick De Ridder, said. When exactly the project will be launched or finalised is not yet clear.

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The part of the dock on the Tavenier quayside (to the west), will be reserved for water recreation, from swimming to other water-related activities. Alongside the swimming area, a catering establishment may be constructed, however, the city wants to prioritise the family-friendliness of the location.

With this announcement, the Flemish city is joining other cities, most famously Brussels, in responding to the growing need of residents and tourists to cool off during the increasingly hot and dry summers.

Links with the water

In March, the city already launched a call for tender for the commercial use of the “Bonapartedok” with a focus on water recreation and the experience of water, in line with the Stadshavenplan 2020-2030.

“Antwerp has a rich culture of enjoyment and is the sports capital of Flanders. Combining these two aspects of Antwerp’s DNA and strengthening our links with the water is the greatest ambition for our city port,” Mayor Bart De Wever said at the time.

“With this decision, we are looking for a fully-fledged use for the Bonapartedok, with room for water, sport and pleasure.”


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