The city of Sint-Niklaas is located in the flemish province of East Flanders and situated roughly between Antwerp and Ghent. It takes about 30 minutes by car, or between 20 and 30 minutes by train to reach Sint-Niklaas from these two cities.
In this blog post you will find tips about what to see and do, where to eat and drink, and where to shop local during your day trip to the city with the largest market square of Belgium.
See and do
Huis Janssens (Janssens Manor) was built in 1878 by the same architect who has built the city hall. At the back of the building (still under construction in April 2021) you will find a small garden and the entrance to The Mercator Museum.
If you adore Art Deco buildings just like me, then you would probably enjoy the Art Deco walking tour.
Please note: as this is still a functioning school, you are only allowed to take a look inside when you are joining a guided tour.
One of our favourite buildings is the office of MAN architecten at Kalkstraat 62, which was built in 1933.
I will only share a small selection of some buildings I liked most, because there are literally hundreds of these gems patiently waiting to be admired.
But the real showstopper is the entrance hall of the above mentioned Broederschool.
It felt a bit dark and moody, but on the other side playful because of the use of all these bright colours.
One of my favourite artworks were made by Gwen Vanderstraeten from Antwerp.
Parisian artist David Bruce 'grew up' on basketball courts, and now makes these kind of colourful artworks at his atelier in Liege.
Belgian visual artist Joëlle Dubois is known for her intimate and unpolished artworks.
Sint-Niklaas has got the longest graffiti wall of Belgium, and throughout the city there are tens of other pieces to discover. Stop by at the tourism office to get a free copy of the Street Art Tour Map, or download it here. Below I will share the ones I liked most.
Belgian muralist Dzia named this work 'Art Falco Peregrinus Deco' which shows a falcon and an Art Deco motif, as it is situated in one of the most beautiful Art Deco streets (Monseigneur Stillemansstraat) of Sint-Niklaas. At the moment I took this picture I was lucky to witness this duck crossing the street :)
At Spoorweglaan you will find this beautiful work called 'Daydream' by Belgian street artist Kitsune Jolene.
I love the way she watches trains passing by.
You can find this hypecourt (a basketball court turned into an artwork) created by Belgian artist Lindert Steegen at Jan Breydelplein.
I am Eelco (artist Eelco van den Berg from The Netherlands) created this colourful work at Nieuwstraat.
Food and drinks
Start your day with a coffee from Manuvèl. In my opinion a must if you like coffee ánd bikes! Those with a sweet tooth can choose from several home made sweets ranging from muffins, pies and cakes.
If you prefer the combination of coffee and plants, then Mos en Mok is definitely the place for you.
Owner Eline opened the doors of this lovely shop in September 2020. It is situated in an art deco building at the corner of a street. On the menu is coffee, tea, sweets and wine. We've tried the brownie which just came out of the oven, and it was simply perfect!
Not a coffee lover, but more a tea enthusiast? In that case, make sure to stop by at Biochi.
Here you will find several top quality organic teas like Green, Oolong, Black, White, Yellow and Dark (Pu'erh). Owner Zhou will tell you very passionately about all the differences, and will explain why these teas are so unique.
We've ordered delicious (white and jasmine) Ice Tea for take away, and bought Green Tea from the southern Chinese province of Yunnan to try at home.
Soep & Zoet has some lunch dishes for take away, like this tasty vegetarian bagel with sweet potato for example. For their home made products they use seasonal and local produce. And they even offer a wide range of gluten- and lactose free options.
Lara Mora is a package free shop where you can get local and organic produce. This is the perfect place to get vegan (gluten-free options too) cookies for desert after your lunch.
We've tried the very tasty heart shaped speculoos cookies. Because, nothing but love for this place!
Van Poeck is a specialty coffee and tea shop since 1866. But besides tea and coffee there are tens of other sweet and savoury delicacies like honey, chocolate, jam, olive oils, herbs, spices, nuts, dried pastas, wines...
The list goes on!
And of course we couldn't leave without buying whole coffee beans from their own micro-roastery.
The stylish and creative Jolien opened in 2019 her own clothing store called Pêche in the heart of the city. In this charming store you will find timeless and contemporary fashion items from several European brands. For me it was such a pleasure to shop in this warm and welcoming environment, a true authentic experience you won't find often.
And last but not least, the shop with the most impressive architecture in Sint-Niklaas: bar-bara!
This is THE place to go to if you look for interior and lifestyle objects like scarfs, pillows, wallets, lamps, furniture, clocks, vases, and so on...
The driving force behind this wonderful place is Barbara, who has an eye for detail and a nose for ecologically sound products. Barbara solely works together with trusted brands from Belgium, The Netherlands and Scandinavia. Places like these make my heart sing!
Please note: this post is not sponsored.