How Antwerp Got its Name – The Antigoon Giant Legend


Antwerp main square Follow Me on Pinterest

Antwerp main square

When you visit the Grote Markt (main square) in Antwerp, the Brabo Fountain in the centre stands out. In front of the Town Hall (Stadhuis), the fountain includes a statue which, according to a legend, explains how the city of Antwerp got its name. The statue shows the hand of Antigoon the giant being tossed into the Scheldt River.

Legend of the Giant

According to local Antwerp folklore, Antigoon was a mythical giant who lived near the Schedlt River. The giant used to extract toll from everyone crossing the river and anyone who dared to refuse to pay the toll would have one of their hands chopped off and tossed into the river.

One day, a young and fearless Roman soldier by the name of Silvius Brabo managed to slay the giant and he in turn severed the giant’s hand and threw it into the river. Brabo is said to be the nephew of Julius Caesar. This is reflected in the statue in front of the Antwerp Town Hall. According to this legend, the name Antwerpen is a derivation of “hand werpen” which roughly translates to “throw a hand”.

Antigoon Giant Legend Follow Me on Pinterest

Antigoon Giant Legend

There are other explanations of how Antwerp got its name, but I think the legend of Antigoon the giant is a popular one.

Brabo Fountain
Antwerp Grote Markt

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