There will be more trees and the Groenplaats will be arranged differently.

“The Groenplaats is too much of a gray area and looks very cluttered. That should change with the redevelopment, which is planned for 2024. Not only will there be more trees, the space on the square will also be used better. Among other things, the glass pavilions of the underground parking garage are disappearing,” says Erica Caluwaerts.

The number of trees, which are now along the four sides of the Groenplaats, will be doubled. A row of trees will be added on each side of the square and new greenery has also been planned elsewhere on the square. “In order to ensure that the trees receive sufficient water, an underground water basin is being constructed along the Oude Koornmarkt side,” explains Erica Caluwaerts.

This is necessary because there is an underground parking garage under the square, which ensures that the depth for planting and watering trees is limited. “The basin is an example of modern technology. When it rains, it collects the excess water that is reused in the event of a drought.”

There will be more trees and the Groenplaats will be arranged differently. © Joris Herregods

Pre-metro with a view of Rubens

The layout of the square will also change radically. The turning loop for the tram will disappear, freeing up more space for terraces, among other things. “There will be terraces on the facades as well as on the square itself,” says the aldermen.

An impression of the renovated Groenplaats pre-metro station.

An impression of the renovated Groenplaats pre-metro station. © rr

The entrance to the parking garage on the Eiermarkt will also disappear, as will the glass cubes on the square that now serve as the entrance and exit to the garage. The city council is still looking at where new entrances and exits can be built. “The entrance to the pre-metro on the square will be moved. Whoever leaves the pre-metro, which will be completely renovated, will walk straight onto the statue of Rubens in the future.”

An underground bicycle shed will be built along the side of the Hilton. “There will be room for five hundred bicycles. By moving the entrance to the pre-metro and placing the bicycle shed on the east side, the chaotic situation that exists now will disappear. The kiosk will also be removed after the renovation,” Erica Caluwaerts continues.

Should there still be water?

The Groenplaats is and will remain a transit location. “But the square will become a place to stay even more than it is now. The Groenplaats is in the hearts of Antwerp residents and the aim is to make the square a pleasant place to sit.”

In the simulation of the redeveloped square, the tram tracks have disappeared and there is more greenery.  Water is also considered.

In the simulation of the redeveloped square, the tram tracks have disappeared and there is more greenery. Water is also considered. © rr

In the current plans, the preliminary design was approved by the council on Friday, only a small water feature is provided. It is near the side entrance of the cathedral. But if it depends on Erica Caluwaerts, it doesn’t stop there.

“Just like greenery, water is an ideal instrument to combat global warming in the city. And it creates atmosphere. But it is not self-evident to build a water feature on the Groenplaats. That is why we are now going to investigate what is possible and where.”

At the moment, test drilling and other tests are being carried out at the Groenplaats. A final design is expected by the end of this year. In principle, the reconstruction will start in 2024 and will last one year.

Alderman Erica Caluwaerts is allocating 12 million euros for the above-ground reconstruction. An additional amount of the same order will be required for the works underground. That money comes from De Lijn and utility companies, among others.

“We have already discussed the plans for the Groenplaats with, among others, the catering industry on the square. But other citizens can also have their say. That is why we are organizing an information market in the Grand Bazar Shopping Center this month. There the plans are shown and questions can be asked,” said the ships.

Ships Erica Caluwaerts (right) in conversation with a worker who carries out test drilling on the Groenplaats.

Ships Erica Caluwaerts (right) in conversation with a worker who carries out test drilling on the Groenplaats. © Joris Herregods

The information market about the Groenplaats will take place on May 27 from 10 am to 6 pm on the first floor of the Grand Bazar Shopping Center.

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