Banks is an elegant art hotel located less than a 10 minute walk from the Grote Markt. It features free Wi-Fi throughout and a roof terrace with panoramic views over the city. The hotel offers modern rooms with a flat-screen TV and seating area. Each morning a healthy breakfast is served including bread, boiled eggs, fresh fruit and yoghurt. A range of a Lavazza coffees are also available. Guest benefit from free drinks and snacks at the Lazy Lounge and the Daytime Café. The lounge offers a casual setting for a drink in front of the cosy open fire. The Plantin-Moretus Museum is 100 metres from the hotel and the Groeneplaats square, with tram connections, is less than a 5 minute walk away. Antwerp Central Railway Station is a 20-minute walk from Banks. Hotel Rooms: 70.
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Antwerp is a city and municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Antwerp province in Flanders, one of Belgium's three regions. Antwerp has long been an important city in the nations of the Benelux both economically and culturally, especially before the Spanish Fury of the Dutch Revolt. It is located on the right bank of the river Scheldt, which is linked to the North Sea by the estuary Westerschelde.
Antwerp was the first city to host the World Gymnastics Championships, in 1903. Antwerp hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. During World War II, the city was an important strategic target because of its port. It was occupied by Germany in May 1940 and liberated by the British 11th Armoured Division on 4 September 1944. After this, the Germans attempted to destroy the Port of Antwerp, which was used by the Allies to bring new material ashore. Thousands of V-1 and V-2 missiles battered the city. The city was hit by more V-2s than all other targets during the entire war combined, but the attack did not succeed in destroying the port since many of the missiles fell upon other parts of the city. As a result, the city itself was severely damaged and rebuilt after the war in a modern style. After the war, Antwerp, which had already had a sizable Jewish population before the war, once again became a major European center of Haredi and particularly Hasidic Orthodox Judaism.
According to the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the port of Antwerp was the seventeenth largest (by tonnage) port in the world in 2005 and second only to Rotterdam in Europe. Importantly it handles high volumes of economically attractive general and project cargo, as well as bulk cargo. Antwerp's docklands, with five oil refineries, are home to a massive concentration of petrochemical industries, second only to the petrochemical cluster in Houston, Texas. Electricity generation is also an important activity, with four nuclear power plants at Doel, a conventional power station in Kallo, as well as several smaller combined cycle plants. There are plans for a wind farm in a disused area of the docklands.
The old Belgian bluestone quays bordering the Scheldt for a distance of 3.5 miles or 5.6 kilometers to the north and south of the city centre have been retained for their sentimental value and are used mainly by cruise ships and short-sea shipping. Antwerp's other great mainstay is the diamond trade. The city has four diamond bourses: one for bort and three for gem quality goods. Since World War II families of the large Hasidic Jewish community have dominated Antwerp's diamond trading industry, although the last two decades have seen Indian and Armenian traders become increasingly important. Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the successor to the Hoge Raad voor Diamant, plays an important role in setting standards, regulating professional ethics, training and promoting the interests of Antwerp as a centre of the diamond industry.
Antwerp International Airport is in the district of Deurne. CityJet flies to London and Manchester in England and remains the only airline with scheduled air services to and from Antwerp International Airport. The airport is connected by bus to the city center. Brussels Airport is about 45 kilometers from the city of Antwerp, and connects the city worldwide. The airport is connected by bus and by train to the city centre of Antwerp. VLM Airlines has its head office on the grounds of Antwerp International Airport in Deurne, Antwerp; the office is also CityJet's Antwerp office.
A motorway bypass encircles much of the city centre. Known locally as the "Ring" it offers motorway connections to Brussels, Hasselt and Liège, Ghent, Lille and Bruges and Breda and Bergen op Zoom in Netherlands. The banks of the Scheldt are linked by three road tunnels: the Waasland Tunnel (1934), the Kennedy Tunnel (1967) and the Liefkenshoek Tunnel (1991). Currently a fourth high volume highway link called "Oosterweelconnection" is in the tendering stage. It will entail the construction of a long viaduct and bridge (the Lange Wapper Bridge) over the Scheldt on the north side of the city. The completion date is as yet uncertain. The cost of the connection is estimated at 2.2 billion euro.
Antwerp is the focus of lines to the north to Essen and the Netherlands, east to Turnhout, south to Mechelen, Brussels and Charleroi via Luttre, and southwest to Ghent and Ostend. It is served by international trains to Amsterdam and Paris, and national trains to Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, Brussels, Charleroi, Hasselt, Liège and Turnhout. Antwerp's Central station is an architectural monument in itself, and is mentioned in W G Sebald's haunting novel Austerlitz. Prior to the completion in 2007 of a tunnel that runs northwards under the city centre to emerge at the old Antwerp Dam station, Centraal was a terminus. Trains from Brussels to the Netherlands had to either reverse at Centraal or call only at Berchem station, 2 km to the south, and then describe a semicircle to the east, round the Singel. Now, they call at the new lower level of the station before continuing in the same direction.
The city has a web of tram and bus lines operated by De Lijn and providing access to the city centre, suburbs and the Left Bank. The tram network has 12 lines, of which the underground section is called the "premetro" and includes a tunnel under the river.
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