Under a radiant sun, presenters Carl Huybrechts and Esohe Weyden kicked off a huge, well-attended popular festival on the Grote Markt on Saturday 18 June to celebrate the reopening of Antwerp’s renovated city hall. The public party could be followed live on ATV. An extensive Sylvester team steered everything in the right direction and ensured an unforgettable show with many acts, fun fringe entertainment, Radio Minerva, surprising music performances, DJs, an impressive inauguration moment and, as the apotheosis, a real singing musical from the Town Hall. Large numbers of Sinjoren and tourists experienced a day they will long remember.
For more than four years, the Town Hall was closed for intensive and thorough restoration and renovation. But the wait was absolutely worth it because the monumental renaissance building looks splendid and has been transformed into an open house for all Antwerp citizens that meets all the current comfort and sustainability requirements. In short: this heritage gem with a rich past is ready for a vibrant future.
The inauguration party organised for the reopening of the City Hall was also a buzz event. Young and old enjoyed themselves: people had their dreams canned, ate free cupcakes and were amazed by the performances of the flag wavers, the Stadstrommelaars and the singers of Klassiek aan de Schelde. People danced happily to the records that Radio Minerva played over the Grote Markt from their pop-up studio in the Town Hall and there were many goose bumps in the audience when six guests of honour and the mayor undid the number lock after which the gates of the Town Hall finally opened again. When afterwards the legendary Strangers together with the mayor from ‘t Schoon Verdiep started singing the song “Antwarpe”, the whole Grote Markt and all adjoining terraces were singing along. Later in the evening, when it was dark, the façade of the Town Hall became the backdrop for a unique singing-along musical. The beautiful light and song spectacle was greatly enjoyed by the audience.
The extremely varied event in the Town Hall and on the Grote Markt that lasted for more than 10 hours with all kinds of acts, animations and musical performances going on simultaneously in different places demanded a great deal of preparation, planning and coordination from the Sylvester team. But thanks to our expertise, commitment and experience, it was a very successful inauguration. To the question ‘Where is that party?’ there was only one correct answer on 18 June: on the Grote Markt in Antwerp where the renovated city hall was inaugurated.