Tag Archives: Spoorbaanpoort

Spoorbaan Gate Showcase

Introduction – The city gates of Antwerp were part of the Grote Omwalling and included several monumental structures. In 1907 this series of defensive positions were decommissioned. Several plans were made to transform this newly gained space. In 1914 the German invasion of Belgium forced the Belgian military to reoccupy most gates and barracks. Actual demolition of the Grote Omwalling took place in the late 60′ as the Antwerp ring road was constructed (E3 Project). All monumental gates were destroyed leaving only two pillars. Some road intersections on the Singel ring road still refer to the former gates.

In June 2014  the former post distribution center Antwerp X was demolished in order to allow a new training center of the Province of Antwerp to be built in its place. During these works remains of the former Spoorbaan Gate were discovered. Some emergency archeology was conducted on the site. After one week of excavations all trances were torn down.

MiLANT contributed to this project by taking pictures of the site and conducting some measurements of the unearthed evidence. Based on these readings a 3D model was created. It was one of the rare occasions that actual debris and material from the gates resurfaced.

Spoorbaan Gate

Description – The Spoorbaan Gate is named for the nearby railway connecting Antwerp with Mechelen and Brussels. It was part of the Grote Omwalling (city defensive wall) to the west. The gate was a monumental gate that offered acces to Antwerp (Berchem) and to Borsbeek/Mortsel. This gate was part of the front 7-8 and was linked to barracks together with the Borsbeek gate located a bit more north. It should not be confused with the Spoorweg Gate which is located closer to the Scheldt river east.

Construction & Armament – This monumental gate was built using bricks and earth works. The Grote Omwalling entails two defensive moats and intervals called saillants. It is possible that the design of the gate was altered a bit since the railway access was located nearby.

Current condition – Most remnants of the Spoorbaan gate have been demolished in 1931 (?). Later the construction of the Antwerp ring road erased most traces. When the former postal distribution facility of Antwerpen X was demolished remants of the Spoorbaan gate were discovered. An ad hoc archeological survey was conducted but surviving brick work were torn down.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. ;

Borsbeek Gate

Description – The gate of Borsbeek was part of the Grote Omwalling (city defensive wall) to the west. It was a monumental gate that offered acces to Antwerp (Zurenborg) and a mean road to Borsbeek/Mortsel. The gate was part of the front 7-8 and was linked to barracks together with the “Spoorbaan” gate located a bit more south.

Construction & Armament – This monumental gate was built using bricks and earth works. The Grote Omwalling entails two defensive moats and intervals called saillants.

Current condition – All remnants of the Borsbeek gate have been demolished in 1931 (?). Later the construction of the Antwerp ring road erased most traces. Since some debris have been found on the site of the former Antwerp X postal distribution center traces might still exist.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. ;