Part of the main fortifications of the city along the river. The gatehouse is pretty well preserved and is now a popular place for a stroll.
This folklore figure serves two purposes (Antwerpers like to be busy all the time). The first purpose is to make kids sleep who don't go to sleep when their parents want them to go to sleep. The other is to scare wandering drunks home. I'm not sure what the connection is.
We were told by our guide that there is a modern story to these houses. They are across the street from the gatehouse on one of Antwerp's busy and most attractive streets. Antwerp has an ordinance saying that a landlord cannot leave a building unattended and must keep the building in good repair. The owner of these buildings wanted to keep the buildings closed and move out of Belgium for a period of time because of his job. No go with the city fathers. The resourceful landloard found a loophole. While the building had to be maintained, there was no requirement that the building's appearance was to be maintained in a certain way. The landlord advertised for tenants and found a group of latter-day hippies who mentioned that they would like to redecorate, so... The neighbors were not amused. Most other people were...
That's a bike path running along the flags between the wall and the flowers into the foreground. Antwerpers bike all over the place.
When the phrase "housing project" is uttered in the United States, images of architectural horror and crime-ridden buildings spring to mind. The picture shows an Antwerp housing project. During the Second World War, V2 rockets took a huge toll on the medieval district in Antwerp. When the area was rebuilt (an area once inhabited by butchers and others in the meat trade), the architects tried to reconcile modern needs with a desire to reflect the medieval heritage of the place.