A new museum dedicated to Belgian chocolate is about to open its doors in Antwerp in a space that exceeds 4,000 m2 in front of the train station, in the emblematic building that houses the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Its name, Chocolate Nation – The Belgian Chocolate Experience, is a foretaste of what visitors will experience in this spectacular space. “No old-fashioned museum, but a chocolate experience that titillates all the senses”, says Jeroen Jespers, one of its promoters and co-owner of Joehoe, a company specialized in entertainment projects.
“The purpose”, confesses Jespers, “is to create a brand experience around Belgian chocolate and give it the prominent place it deserves as part of the Belgian heritage in Antwerp”. The first chocolate factory in the country was inaugurated in 1831 in this city, the second largest in the Flanders region. Chocolate is sold practically on every corner, and its port is one of the main ports of entry for cocoa beans in the world. Now, with Chocolate Nation, Mayor Bart De Wever is convinced that “our tourism offer is becoming not only broader but also more attractive for a new group of tourists”.
And to ensure its success, Jespers has an exceptional collaborator: the expert Barry Callebaut. As a result, the museum will not only exhibit the main brands, but also local manufacturers. The experience is completed with a chocolate shop, a kiosk, and a restaurant.