Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 9, 2012

Hand throwing in Antwerp

There is a school of thought that says the name Antwerp comes from the Dutch ‘hand werpen’….hand throwing. It is said that a giant named Droun Antigoon forced shipmasters to pay a toll to pass through on the Scheldt river. The Roman warrior Silvius Brabo hacked off Antigoon’s hand and threw it into the river. Brabo now has a car park named after him and there is a huge statue depicting the gruesome event in the Grote Markt.



This statue is very busy and has water spouting from everywhere, including the wrist minus its severed hand.







The square is quite impressive and is surrounded by very grand buildings.






I found 2 other references to the hand throwing.



Another explanation for the name is ‘aanwerp’ or alluvial mound, but it would be difficult to base an interesting monument around that.


  1. What a weird and wonderful story and statue,Debra! The buildings look beautiful – I’m getting the impression that Antwerp needs time to explore..and shop!!

    • Antwerp was a complete surprise. I loved it!

  2. A lovely story, Debra and the statue is superb. Thank you for that and the great photos.

    • It is a great tale….even if isn’t true.

  3. Love the statues/fountains, but it is kind of gruesome, isn’t it–especially the water squirting out of the wrist? Yikes.
    Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, Deb.

    • There was water sprouting from everywhere!

  4. From what I remember from my school history lessons, I assumed that Antwerp was a financial city; so, perhaps the ‘alluvial mound’ idea may be related with money? It’ll be interesting to investigate that further.
    Statues often tell a story, don’t they? So, I was fascinated by the story of Brabo throwing Antigoon’s hand. I wonder if the last picture is of Brabo in full uniform compared with the first picture of Brabo in his birthday suit?
    The eagle statue seems to be symbolic of countries in power – Rome, Germany, Austria – and its influences on Antwerp, or is it the other way round? Is one of the gold statues Reynard the Fox or the Roman wolf or other?
    I agree with you, Deb, the buildings around Antwerp are grand – so many statues on the tops of those buildings. Lovely to explore European cities through your eyes.

    • I don’t really know why these things are here, I am just glad they are!

  5. Just another example of “there’s so much to learn in the world.” Thanks as I had no clue about this.

    • These things all help to make travelling interesting and fun.

  6. Decidedly the most bizarre statue I’ve ever seen! Thanks to you Debra! What a crazy world we live in.

  7. Love the photos, especially the way you move from close-up to farther away with the statue (what an amazing statue!).

    • It is bizarre to say the least.

  8. That statue is somewhat gothic isn’t it – rather gruesomely fascinating. I love the buildings in the photo above the golden horse,they have a fairytale nature.

    • The statue had to be seen to be believed, but the other buildings were lovely.

  9. Love the tale Debra…..I’m going to have to see those monuments!

    • I’m sure you will love Antwerp.

  10. Cool! I’m amused by the vomiting woman, she looks like she had a few too many the night before.. 😉

    • There was water coming from everywhere!

  11. Fascinating and creepy at the same time. Vive la Travel.

  12. I got impressed when you noticed the hooks in Amsterdam, and now this! This is why I admire you, Debra. You are so attentive in all your travel. Have you explored more on why it’s the hands that they throw?

    • I love the small details along the way. I haven’t searched further on the hand throwing. I think it is amazing that there is a huge statue dedicated to what is probably a myth.

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