Charlotte Koopman and Hadas Cnaani

The Antwerp Hundreds

Portraits of a city's people, today

To mark the release of our Warriors edition, we've teamed up with This is Antwerp to bring you 100 Antwerp Warriors, a 100-strong selection of local movers and shakers setting the tone for the neighbourhood of tomorrow. From design and architecture to contemporary art and politics, these are the creatives shaping the narrative of the future.

Charlotte Koopman and Hadas Cnaani

Charlotte Koopman and Hadas Cnaani

Otark Productions

Can you describe what you do? Where you are based, the neighbourhood you live in, your daily routine, the people you work with, the scene you feel the closest to.

Charlotte: Hadas and I prepare Sunday breakfasts at Het Bos, film dinners with film curator Vincent Stroep, ’Garlic and Jazz’ together with Joachim Badenhorst and co., and irregular other collaborations. For breaks and groceries, I roam the neighbourhood a lot. Mainly the Seefhoek, which contains a big variety of nationalities. You find a huge range of ingredients, you have an instantaneous change of scenery, it’s lively.  Food, when it’s real, is a very direct way to connect to people. There’s an immediacy to it that keeps being surprising. It’s an equaliser and makes a good starting point for other things to happen. I like the manual labour, the way you can learn things with your hands that your head can’t grasp. I like the chemistry. Colour. It’s beautiful.

How do you perceive Antwerp? In your view, what kind of city is it? Its people, its cultural landscape, its vibe? How does it compare to other, similarly-sized cities?

Charlotte: It’s pretty laid back. Some people would miss people cutting to the chase here, but I don’t. A lot is happening but it’s not being pushed. The pace is right.

Hadas: Antwerp is a place with secret magical gateways that can be found behind regularly looking through doors. To see them, you need a guide or armed glasses.

What gives the city its edge are its immigrants, paving the way for a more colourful and pluralistic society.

What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives? What gives the city its edge?

Charlotte: I’m not sure if Antwerp has one big magnetic edge but edges are everywhere, also in Antwerp. Sometimes it’s nice to be edgeless too, it can be a nice break.

Hadas: What gives the city its edge are its immigrants, paving the way for a more colourful and pluralistic society.

How would you say Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?

Charlotte: People that are close to me. My friends. I like so much that it makes me think i’m in the right place at the right time. We all happened to be here, even if it wasn’t for a solid reason.

Hadas: Antwerp is a playground in which friendships forme and change us again and again, for the better.

On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?

Charlotte: Trees. Ethiopian Honeywine bars. Good fruit. Good fruit is a rare thing.

Hadas:  I’d like to see more bikes, more trees, more bees, and more smiles.

To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?

Charlotte: I like the river and Het Bos. I like flows and unexpected things.

Hadas: Have a Moroccan pancake on the Saturday market, then a Hungarian espresso, followed by an Iraqi falafel and Iranian dessert. Wash it down with a couple of local beers and walking hand in hand from the botanical gardens to the river.

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Photography Thomas Ost