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Antwerp - or Antwerpen as it is in Dutch - was often written as 'Hantwerpen' even into the seventeenth century. Hardly surprisingly really, because according to an old legend that was just as it should be.
That legend has it that around the beginning of our calendar, the giant Antigoon called the shots at the bend in the River Scheldt, demanding a heavy toll from each passing shipmaster. Those who refused to pay had a hand chopped off. But an end came to this wicked enterprise when the Roman warrior Silvius Brabo, slew the giant, chopped off its hand and threw it into the River Scheldt. Hence: 'Hantwerpen', 'hand throwing'. The H disappeared, 'Antwerpen' stuck.

So much for the legend. In reality the name Antwerpen may derive from the 'aanwerp', an alluvial mound in the River Scheldt, level with the Steen, the site of an early settlement. That alluvial mound disappeared at the end of the nineteenth century, when the quays of the Scheldt were straightened.

Though there is not a shred of truth in the story of Brabo, the 'Sinjoren' nevertheless still pay tribute to their liberator. The bronze fountain (1887) on the main square, the Grote Markt, is the work of the Antwerp sculptor Jef Lambeaux.

(source: http://www.visi..)

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