About 10 times a year, the Grote Markt square forms the impressive backdrop to Brocantwerpen, the city’s gift to both casual and avid brocanteurs. The still fresh-faced market has already proven an excellent source for home décor oddities and attracts vendors with an eye for quality, making it one of the most qualitative flea markets around—wooden sleds, beautiful bird cages, fox taxidermy and all.
Approximately 10 times a year. Check out the calendar here.
Flea Market Dageraadplaats
Zurenborg doesn’t have many markets in its arsenal, but the one that it does have is a reflection of the charming neighborhood itself—cozy, laid-back, and harboring a certain nostalgia. Old Lomography cameras, patterned ’70s wallpaper, coat hangers with knitted covers and yellowed books sell like hot cakes here. The popular market only strikes down on the tree-lined Dageraadplaats less than a handful of Sundays per year between May and September, so expect a pleasant humdrum.
Four to three times a year. Check out the calendar here.
Sint-Jansvliet Sunday Market
Another great spot for your kookier doodads, the Sint-Jansvliet square hosts a market at the mouth of the Sint-Anna Tunnel every Sunday. Mainly frequented by locals, it’s your archetypical Flemish flea market with obscure books, a sea of crockery, heaps of thingamabobs, and vendors shouting over each other.
All kinds of knick-knacks and furniture are auctioned off during the Vrijdagmarkt, a city tradition that’s as old as the hills. Each Friday, vendors sell office supplies from failed businesses, flowers, grandma’s vases, and so much more during lively bidding rounds. It’s not the place to find true treasure, but all the more to experience local charm.
Kringwinkels are all over Flanders (Belgium’s Dutch-speaking northern half). With a name translating to “circle shops,” the chain of thrift stores is all about giving clothing and especially furniture a chance at a second life. In Antwerp alone, there are eight of them, with four repair workshops constantly fixing objects and injecting them straight back into the market. Kringwinkels are often the places where smart cookies on the lookout for larger pieces of furniture—say old but exquisite rosewood cabinets, for example—can score remarkable bargains. The one at Sint-Jorispoort in the city core is beloved and spacious with over three floors. Turnaround on objects is fast here, though, so the trick is to pop in for a look more than once.
De Kringwinkel, Sint-Jorispoort 29, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 226 24 70
Another secondhand staple but with a focus on colorful fashion, Think Twice’s name alone embodies the best of the thrifty Zeitgeist. Today, the chain has nine shops in Brussels and Flanders, including three in Antwerp, its vintage-loving city of birth. New collections of garments from the ’60s through to the ’90s come in every week, meaning that nearly every month sees a momentous sales day when all items drop to a symbolic euro to clear out space for the new influx of retro gear.
When in need of a good pair of boots, bag, or other leather accessories, the budget-conscious Antwerp fashionista is sure to pay My Ohm a visit. This tiny thrift shop sits on the same cute square that boasts the Vrijdagmarkt, so if you manage to go on a Friday, you might return triumphantly with treasures for both your wardrobe and home décor.
Jutka & Riska
A touch pricier than others on this list but considered a Belgian and Dutch vintage Walhalla, Jutka & Riska handpicks its vintage items with great care. Curation is a huge part of what has made this vibrant shop in the Nationalestraat a standout name in retro-adoring circles. There will be no digging through mounds of entangled florals here. The brand’s attention to young designer talent and offbeat decorations are added bonuses.
Jutka & Riska, Nationalestraat 87, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 203 04 97
When the most famous thrifty person of all set foot inside his barbershop/secondhand sneaker store, owner Alabi couldn’t believe his eyes. The owner of Labi (formerly known as Kicks and Cuts) had only opened his business’ doors five months earlier, and who of all people should walk in but Macklemore. A year later, the sneakerhead’s haven is still going strong, offering rare footwear under retail price as well as some of the freshest cuts around.
Labi, Lange Koepoortstraat 76, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 256 87 07