Antwerp is, of course, the diamond capital of the world. Something like 70% of the world’s diamonds are traded in the city. Previously in the 16th century, Antwerp was the sugar capital of Europe, and was an important place for the import of pepper and cinnamon. Money lending (even to the English government), the trade in spices and the textiles industries helped make Antwerp one of the richest cities in the world at one point.
Middelburg is less well known, but has a history spanning back over 1000 years. It has the notorious history of being an important trading city for slaves to the Americas for the Dutch East India Company. The city is home to Jacob Roggeveen, the man who discovered Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in 1722, on Easter day as it so happens. Middelburg is the capital of Zeeland, a province of the Netherlands. The country of New Zealand was discovered by a Dutch explorer, hence where the name comes from.
Below are some of my more arty shots.