The amazing Chambre De Commerce was the home to Antwerp's stock exchange until its closure in 1997
The Chamber of Commerce or CDC was the stock market of Antwerp and opened in 1531. At the end of the fifteenth century Antwerp was taking the role as a trading centre in the heart of an area of Belgium that was becoming an important international trading hub. The first building took the form of an open rectangular space enclosed by a covered colonnade. Built in a late-Gothic style to a design by Domien de Waghemakere, it was heavily inspired by the London Stock Exchange’s design by Sir Thomas Gresham. When it first opened it was claimed that “every nation” had a (more or less) permanent place in the CDC.
The building was rebuilt to the original plans following a fire in 1583 and the interior space was enclosed with a roof in 1853, designed by Charles Marcellis and modelled on London’s Crystal Palace. Just five years later the building suffered a second fire and was once again destroyed. Antwerp City Council held a competition to design the new building with the brief that the old concept had to be preserved. The competition was won by architect Joseph Schadde and his building was completed in 1872. It is described as being “a curious combination of neo-Gothic style and revolutionary techniques, especially the metal construction for the interior”.
In 1997 the Brussels Stock Exchange took over the functions of the Antwerp stock market, resulting in the closure of the CDC. The building has been empty ever since, with minimal maintenance being carried out. Plans to convert it into a hotel and function space have been made and building work has recently started.