The Old Stock Exchange on the Hofstraat had become too small. To replace it, 1531 saw the construction of the New Stock Exchange. After many trials and tribulations over the centuries, it has now been made ready for the 21st century.
Merchants in the 16th century were able to apply new trading practices in this building by architect Domien De Waghemaekere (1460-1542) in the historic heart of Antwerp, which made it a stock exchange ahead of its time. This laid the foundations for the modern shares and options market, the trade in bonds, insurances, speculation, etc.
The New Stock Exchange cuts a monumental swathe through the middle of the current shopping street, Meir, and the parallel Lange Nieuwstraat, via the Twaalfmaandenstraat and the Borzestraat. It burnt down twice, in 1583 and 1858, before being rebuilt in abundantly neo-Gothic style, to a design from architect Joseph Schadde (1818-1894).
Since its inauguration in 1872, it had housed Antwerp’s stock market, until this was absorbed by Brussels in late 1997. It was then left vacant for 20 years. 2016 saw the launch of a large-scale restoration and re-purposing project, which was completed in 2019. Besides its economic function, it will now also play a role in culture and tourism. It will play host to city’s only five-star hotel, a restaurant and a car park. All manner of events are also under consideration, such as fashion shows, conferences, trade shows, concerts and gala dinners.
The New Stock Exchange is back.