The Vrijdagmarkt is a public square in Antwerp where every Friday since the 16th-century an auction takes place; it’s the oldest flea market in the city. There you can find all kinds of goods, from fantastic deals to bags of useless old stuff; it’s up to you to decide what is worth or not. When I say “all kinds of goods,” I mean ALL KINDS: Furniture, antiques, flower pots, kitchenware, books, electronics, luggage, old toys, accessories, dog food, bikes, cars (yeah, sometimes!), boxes and plastic bin bags full of mysterious junk. It’s a big miscellaneous!
During the auction, the center of the square is closed with grids and ropes, and in the middle, you can find all the goods messily arranged. Only the auctioneers stay inside the closed area; all the other people stand around just watching, or trying to buy what they want for a little price. The auction is a popular activity between locals, they all gather around to check out the products from a distance and try to find great deals.
When I visited the auction for the first time I got confused because I didn’t know that it was an auction, but just a regular flea market selling second-hand stuff. I was there around 9 am – when it all starts – and I kept waiting for the guys to remove the grids that were limiting the entrance of the public. Then I realized that was not going to happen when I heard they screaming things (probably prices) and showing off the products. A fun thing to watch, but it would’ve been nicer if I could understand Flemish. One time I saw the grids down and everybody was walking around in the middle of the products, touching and carefully analyzing the antiques. It was early, before the beginning of the auction, and it didn’t take too long for the auctioneers close the area and start the activity.
Check it out the pictures of the Vrijdagmarkt during the Friday’s auction
Visiting the Vrijdagmarkt on Fridays is a very amusing thing to do when in Antwerp since that is such a local and ancient activity. Worth checking out! Also, the area is close to the Grote Markt, and it’s full of restaurants, bars, and the famous Platin-Moretus Museum (UNESCO World Heritage site).
When? Every Friday from 9 am to 1 pm
Where? Vrijdagmarkt, Antwerp