Chambre du Commerce, Antwerp
The Chamber of Commerce was opened in 1531 by Joseph Schadde and was and was the stock market of Antwerp. At the end of the fifteenth century Antwerp was taking the role as a trading centre in the heart of an area of Belgium that was becoming an important international trading hub. The first building took the form of an open rectangular space enclosed by a covered colonnade. Built in a late-Gothic style to a design by Domien de Waghe.
It was heavily inspired by the London Stock Exchange’s design by Sir Thomas Gresham. When it first opened it was claimed that “every nation” had a (more or less) permanent place in the CDC.
The building was rebuilt to the original plans following a fire in 1583 and the interior space was enclosed with a roof in 1853, designed by Charles Marcellis and modelled on London’s Crystal Palace. Five years later, the building suffered a second fire and was once again destroyed. Antwerp City Council held a competition to design the new building with the brief that the old concept had to be preserved. The competition was won by architect Joseph Schadde and his building was completed in 1872. It is described as being “a curious combination of neo-Gothic style and revolutionary techniques, especially the metal construction for the interior”.
The building is designed as a mother of all markets where people would trade within the galleries which are located around the edge of the ground floor, another addition to the structure remaining today is the roof as it originally did not have one.
After the 1997 merger of the Antwerp stock exchange with the Brussels stock exchange, and the advent of online trading, the exchange building in Antwerp fell into disuse, with various proposals to redevelop the building going nowhere for fifteen years. The investment file started moving again in October 2013, after a new partner was found: the Marriott hotel chain. A heritage budget was also released from the Flemish government for the restoration of the Bourse. In October 2014, it was announced that the new building application for the project was approved by the city of Antwerp. But at the beginning of December 2014, it became known that various local residents had appealed to the permanent deputation of the province against the building permit. In April 2015, the province confirmed the building permit on the condition of a few adjustments to meet the concerns of local residents
After a long and intensive renovation, it was reopened in October 2019 as an event hall with restaurant, hotel and public passage. The ground floor with its beautiful central square is open to the public.