The city and municipality of Antwerp is a centre of commerce in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp province, in Flanders, one of Belgium's three regions. Antwerp's total population is ca. 461,496 (as of January 2006) and its total area is 204.51 km² with a population density of 2,257 inhabitants per km².
Antwerp has long been an important city in the nations of the Benelux both economically and culturally. It is on the right bank of the river Scheldt which is linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde. Antwerp's seaport, one of the world's largest and after the port of Rotterdam the second largest in Europe, has a high level of cargo shipping and oil refineries traffic. Families of the large Hasidic Jewish community have traditionally controlled Antwerp's global centre of the diamond trading industry, although the last two decades have seen Indian and Armenian traders become increasingly important.
Antwerp is the real urban deal, a refreshingly down-to-earth yet vivacious cosmopolitan habitat blessed with magnificent architecture, fashionable shop fronts, beer-washed pubs, dazzling monuments, jazzed-up clubs, inspired artworks and restaurant tables piled with plates of superb Belgian and multicultural food. Antwerp, home of the Flemish Baroque master Rubens, not only has a wealth of outstanding museums, picturesque galleries, sculpted streets and beautiful architecture, but is also laced with refreshing greenery and urban haunts. Its culture, history, vibrant nightlife and world class shopping are within easy reach, thanks to excellent access by air, train, motorway and even water. Antwerp, a pocketsize metropolis.