Historical location of Bizzflats.
Bizzflats is located in the center of Historical Antwerp!
Citadel of Alva
The location where Bizzflats is situated has a long history. In 1567 the Duke of Alva was governor of the Netherlands. Immediately upon his arrival, he built a citadel in Antwerp, which was mainly intended to nip any uprising of the population of Antwerp in the bud. Italian architect and military engineer Paciotto designed the citadel.
The end result was a pentagonal citadel, with a bastion at each corner. The citadel was built at the southern tip of the city wall, now the district “het Zuid”. Bizzflats is located above the bastion wall Paciotto. It had within its walls a number of buildings including more barracks, powder magazines, bomb proof rooms and a chapel. The citadel had a total area of five hectares and was surrounded by moats.
The citadel served as the base for the Spanish Fury, the depredation of Antwerp in 1576 which was planned and led by d'Avila, the then commander of the citadel. After the capture of the citadel in 1577 the citizens tried to dismantle the citadel.
During the Belgian Revolution of 1830, the citadel was defended by the Dutch general Chassé. He left the Sint-Andries district after prolonged shelling of the citadel after the Belgian revolutionaries cease-fire had not been honoured. More than two years later general Chassé surrendered to the French army. The citadel was completely demolished in 1881.
On the levelled land came the new neighbourhood “het Zuid”, the blueprint of the citadel remained meters deep underground. From 1882 the street was named Volkslei, following the World Expo in 1885. The short street with central plantation had to form a connection between the Amerikalei and the site of the World Expo, which also bordered on the northwest side of the street. In order to avoid confusion with the nearby Volksstraat, the street was renamed in 1909 in honour of Francis d'Hanis (1862 to 1909), who played a role in the Congo in the fight against the Arab slave trade.
At the beginning of the 21th century Baron Dhanis Avenue is a quiet residential street, featuring a central plantation with linden trees and a park with playground and benches. The street scene from the Amerikalei is defined by the neo gothic statue of Quinten Matsijs which was erected in 1934. Through the trees, the statue and the relatively well-preserved late-19th century homogeneous rows of town houses, this is one of the most charming, authentic streets of the South.
The street where Bizzflats is located, owes its name to Baron Dhanis.
Francis Dhanis was an officer of the Force Publique of the Congo Free State and descendant of a distinguished Antwerp lineage (his grandfather was Antoine Dhanis of Cannart).
In 1884 he joined the African International Association and he departed with the second expedition of Jérôme Becker to the Congo. He battled with the Afro-Arab slave traders from Zanzibar and after fierce fighting captured Arab strongholds Nyangwe and Kasongo. The destruction of these two major trading centres gave them a decisive blow. For his services Dhanis was awarded the rank of baron.
In 1896 he became vice-governor general and commander of the Eastern Province. He marched with a large military force to the northeast of Congo and from there advanced to South Sudan. The ill-prepared expedition plundered their way through the country. There, mutiny broke out and the campaign was demolished.
In 1899 he returned to Europe. He was a government delegate in the Compagnie des Chemins de fer du Congo, supérieur aux Grands Lacs. Baron Dhanis died in Brussels in 1909.