Antwerp to restore iconic Brabo fountain

Antwerp's iconic Brabo fountain on the Grand Place will be restored for three months starting next week. The rock formation under the statue of Brabo and Antigoon needs repair.

The decision to proceed with the restoration was taken after an analysis of the rock's construction and materials in 2020 and 2021. The restoration work will include repairing damage to the rock, replacing joints and removing dirt and debris from the various cavities. They will also improve the cellar beneath the statue and make the pavement around it watertight.

The Brabo fountain is a monument depicting the Antwerp saga of the Roman hero Brabo and the giant Antigoon. The image of Jef Lambeaux's hand dates from 1887.

According to legend, Antigoon ruled over the Scheldt with a reign of terror. For example, the not-so-gentle giant cut off the hands of unwilling toll-payers and threw them into the Scheldt.

Brabo was the one who managed to kill the giant, after which he also cut off his hand. The fountain shows Brabo after his victory, surrounded by mermaids and on Antigoon's corpse, throwing the giant's severed hand into the Scheldt.


Whether this hand ended up in the Scheldt is a matter of debate. Some believe that Brabo threw the hand towards the land. "Where the hand comes down, I will build a city: 'Handwerpen'. This is the direction in which Brabo throws his hand at the fountain.

Derived from this legend, Antwerp would come from 'handwerpen' (hand throwing). However, the American historian John Lothrop Motley and many other etymologists and historians claim that the name Antwerp comes from the Germanic anda (to, beside) and werpum (shipyard), or 'city at a shipyard'. Another possible origin could be 'aan 't werp' (from andoverpis). The word 'werp' refers to river silt or an artificial barrier.

During the works, the quay area will be decorated with visuals about Brabo and Antigoon and the (historically incorrect) myth of the city's origin.


#FlandersNewsService | Illustration picture shows the city hall of Antwerp, with the statue of mythical Roman soldier Silvius Brabo in front. ​




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