The most remarkable building on the town square (Grote Markt) from Antwerp certainly is the town hall. Cornelis Floris de Vriendt was the architect of this early renaissance building, and was finished in 1564. That makes it one of the oldest (and probably one of the most beautiful) Renaissance buildings in the Low Countries.
In the beginning of the 16th centrury, the city had made plans to build a new town hall in Gothic style, much like the town halls of Leuven, Brussels and Oudenaarde. However, they had to use their construction material and money to defend themselves against attacks from the Army of Maarten van Rossem from Gelre. It was only twenty years later that the financial position of the city had improved to such an extent that the plan for a new building for the mayor was unshelved. But, by this time fashion had changed. The Gothic style was out and replaced by the Renaissance style.
The building clearly is a Renaissance building (look at the superposition of Dorian and Ionic colons), but the middle section still clearly resembles the towers of the many Gothic Flemish and Brabantine town halls. This atypical Renaissance middle makes this building more beautiful. Think that it were not there (hold a paper above the middle of the picture), and see what remains: a boring building seeming very flat and low).
The 45 doors in the ground floor were built to house little shops. The rent that the shop-keepers had to pay was used to help finance the construction of this building.
The middle section contains statues of statues of Lady 'Justitia' and Lady 'Prudentia'. The weapons of the Duchy of Brabant (black field with gold lion), the coat of arms of the Spanish King Philip II (middle) and of the Markgrave of Antwerp (right) are present. Above the weapons stands a Madonna statue, which is clearly too big for the niche it stands in. It was put there by the Jesuits during the Counter-Reformation, replacing a Brabo statue.
The wealthy interiour dates mostly from the 19th century.