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.

Nadia Naveau

Nadia Naveau

Sculptor

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.

I’m a sculptor. I’m in my studio every day, and also teach at the sculpture department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The neighbourhood I live in, in the Jewish are near the City Park and the Central Station, feels like a metropolis.

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?

I see Antwerp as a very vibrant and cosmopolitan city, with impressive and diverse historical infrastructure – you can see influences ranging from Spanish and French to Dutch. It’s a creative and bustling city with a big cultural heritage – from Rubens to Tuymans, Sir Antony Van Dijck to Dries Van Noten. Architecture, fashion and music are all very important aspects of Antwerp’s social environment. They all blend in naturally, especially in the nightlife scene.

Studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, one of the world’s oldest academies, has been one of the most crucial decisions that shaped my life.

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

The city still offers opportunities for artists to invest in their beliefs, it’s a compact melting pot of diverse disciplines, which often results in energetic cross-overs. It could be a 24/7 way of life if you’d want it to be.

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?

Studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, one of the world’s oldest academies, has been one of the most crucial decisions that shaped my life. I was born in Bruges, grew up in the States and moved to Antwerp at 16, which I believe has turned me into the person I am today.

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

Better decision-making that will finally tackle traffic jams and pollution, both being serious problems over here.

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?

I would take them from my home through the Brialmontlei, a street I like, through the City Park, to the marketplace on Saturday, then for a stroll to the Docklands to end up at my local pub, Witzli Poetzli.

A local legend, neighbourhood anecdote or urban myth?

Before the Belle Epoque the neighbourhood of Zurenborg was a swamp.

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Photography Miles Fischler