The best thing to do before any trip is to get recommendations and useful tips from a local. And when these locals are artists and designers, you’re going to get a real thing. That’s why we’re starting with a series of interviews with local artists living in a different European cities.

The first interview is with a young Belgian artist Celine van Aken who, after travelling for a year, recently settled in Rotterdam. Celine is a wonderful artist who made her first international art piece at the end of 2017 in Curacao. She made a huge land art piece at the Boca Patrick Beach in a shape of a sea turtle made of dead sea urchins.

An Antwerp local answered these 10 questions about her home town for the Culture Tourist.

10 Questions City Guide: Antwerp

#1 – What is your name & what do you do?

I’m Celine van Aken a 25 year old passionate woman who’s inspired by emotions and environments. I love to travel and create art.

#2 – How would you describe your city?

Antwerp is a mysterious, beautiful, dynamic, art city where you can wander around for hours and discover all sorts of beauty. You can have your appetizer in a chapel (The Jane), main course in a museum (t’Zilte) and a dessert in a palace (The Chocolate Line).

#3 – What are the top 3 museums you would recommend in your city?

MOMU (fashion museum), FOMU (Photo museum) and Middelheimmuseum (sculptures at the Museum Park).

#4 – What are the top 3 sights you would recommend in your city?

The Botanique Garden, Sint Carolus Borromeus Church (fully designed by Rubens) and Kloosterstraat (the main street for antiquites).

#5 – Who’s your favourite historical person that lived in your city and why?

Rubens, he was a great painter but also an amazing architect with an interesting lifestyle. He had a big part in designing the Carolus Borromeus Church and created several paintings and interior designs all over Antwerp.

#6 – What is your favourite café & restaurant in your city?

My favourite cafe is ‘Cafe au lait‘. It’s the place where you walk in knowing that you’ll have a good night. Fresh cocktails shaked by people who know what they are doing and are serving them with the biggest smile.

My favourite restaurant is ‘Loa‘, a small restaurant owned by a beautiful family who serves the best soul food you’ll ever eat. With flavours from all around the world.

#7 – What’s your favourite public art in your city?

A few years ago Antwerp got a new major that decided to remove a lot of street art. Me and a lot of other people lost their favourite spot named Muntplein. My second favourite is the sculpture from Nello and Patrasche (Asian story).

#8 – What souvenir should anyone buy when in Antwerp?

Our cookies, the ‘Little Hands’ (they are so good)!

#9 – What’s your favourite secret place in Antwerp?

The Botanical Garden! It’s the whole world in one garden with exceptional trees and shrubs, 2000 different herbs, cactuses and foreign plants. And it’s the best place to be when the sun is out.

#10 – What’s your favourite song about your city?

NoMoBS – 03! It’s a hip hop song made by friends of mine. They are a group of young people who are basically explaining why are we the best town in Belgium. Even with all of our flaws.

Thanks to lovely Celine for sharing her tips about a beautiful Antwerp! Would you like to learn more about Celine’s art work?

You can follow her on Instagram and Tumblr.