Mechelen is a city and municipality in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. The Dyle (Dutch: Dijle) flows through the city, hence it is often referred to as the Dijlestad ("City on the river Dijle"). The city is located in the centre of Flanders, on the major urban and industrial axis Brussels–Antwerp, about 25 km from each city. It is very well connected to both, since Mechelen was the very first place in Europe to have a railway.
Being in the centre of Flanders, Mechelen is the perfect place for Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) events. It is not too far away from Brussels or Antwerp, yet much less overcrowded.
Mechelen is one of Flanders' cities of historical art, together with Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, and Leuven. It was a centre for artistic production during the Northern Renaissance. Everywhere in the city, you will see some beautiful buildings that will take you back in time. Visit the 15th century Gothic Palace of Margaret of York, the 16th century Renaissance Palace of Margaret of Austria, with its lovely courtyard garden, the Brusselpoort, or the Klein Begijnhof and the Groot Begijnhof, two of Belgium’s most picturesque beguinages.
In the centre of the city you can find the St. Rumbold's Tower, a 15th century cathedral. Climbing to the top takes about 20 minutes, but you'll have a fascinating view over Mechelen. If you’re lucky you'll even catch a glimpse of other cities like Brussels, Antwerp, or Leuven. Within the cathedral, you can find The Crucifixion, a marvellous painting by the famous painter Anthony Van Dyck, and dozens of other fine artworks.
During world War II, Mechelen was the centre of deportation to Auschwitz. Today, you can still feel the fear and chaos in the Kazerne Dossin Barracks. On the top floor terrace you have a wonderful view over the city.
If you want something more pleasant, you can visit the Toy Museum; take the bus to Planckendael, the beautiful zoo of Mechelen; or visit Technopolis, where science is explained in an exciting way.
Every year, at the end of August, a two day long free festival is organised on the Grote Markt in the city centre. With several stages of music and DJs and a lot of entertainment, Maanrock is certainly worth a visit.