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Mechelen

Travel Guide Europe Belgium Mechelen

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Introduction

Mechelen is a city and municipality in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. The city has about 85,000 inhabitants.

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Sights and Activities

  • Great Market Square
  • The Great Beguinage is a the historical quarter containing a streets. It is one of the best remaining examples of a Netherlandish Béguinage and, together with many other beguinages was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998.
  • 't Anker Brewery - famous for the Gouden Carolus beers, this brewery is located at the edge of the Great Beguinage.

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Getting There

By Plane

Brussels Airport is just a 20-minute drive south of Mechelen, with lots of connections to European cities and also quite a few intercontinental destinations.

By Train

Mechelen is right in between Brussels, Antwerp and Leuven, which are all just a 20-minute ride away.

By Car

Mechelen is halfway between Antwerpen and Brussels along the E19 highway. Driving time is just about 15 minutes to both.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely available in Belgium, but internet cafés are not common, because most people have internet access at home or through wifi. There are multiple internet access points in all cities and it is free in most libraries. Also in multiple gas stations, train stations and diners on the highways there is Wi-Fi available. Many cafés offer free Wi-Fi nowadays and if you can't find any you can always fall back on Quick or McDonalds which both offer free Wi-Fi.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Belgium is: + 32. To make an international call from Belgium, the code is 00.

Belgium has a modern telephone system with nationwide cellular telephone coverage. Belgium uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are three main companies (Proximus, Mobistar and Base, and a large number of MVNOs) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free. You can get sim cards for the three main companies in dedicated phone shops. Sim cards from the MVNOs are readily available at supermarkets (Carrefour, Aldi, Colruyt to name a few all have their own brand). All networks provide UMTS and HSDPA (3G) mobile internet coverage, and are rolling out a 4G network, mainly in the big cities and eventually in the whole country.

Post

De Post is the national postal service of Belgium, with Dutch, French and German versions. They offer generally fast, reliable services. It's a relatively expensive service though, with normal domestic post (cards, letters etc) up to 50 grams costing €0.61. To other European countries it costs €1.03 and outside Europe it's €1.34. At the post offices, you can buy stamps and they have other services as well, including international money transfers. The opening times of post offices are 9:00am or 10:00am until 4:00pm or 5:00pm, depending on whether it's the main central one or a smaller branch or in towns. Some of them might be open on Saturday mornings, and remember that quite a few still close for lunch break! De Post also offers the sending of parcels, but you could also use private international companies like UPS, TNT or DHL, as they offer roughly the same services and prices, but are generally faster.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 9:50 on Jun 2, 14 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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