Did you know that they eat 'little hands' in Antwerp?


'Antwerp Hands' are one of the well-known regional products from Antwerp. The name of these little treats refers to a folk tale about how the city got the name Antwerp.

According to legend, a giant called Druon Antigoon exacted a heavy toll from any seafarer crossing the river Scheldt in Antwerp. If the sailors refused to pay the toll, Antigoon mercilessly chopped off one of their hands. A brave Roman soldier called Silvius Brabo battled and killed the giant. He then chopped off the giant's hand and threw it in the Scheldt; and the Dutch term 'hand werpen' (throw a hand) eventually became 'Antwerpen' (Antwerp). This is how a hand became the symbol of Antwerp, and many years later, the inspiration behind the famous delicacy from the city on the Scheldt: the Antwerp Hands.

The famous Antwerp Hands biscuits have existed since 1934 and were the result of a competition to devise a culinary speciality for Antwerp. The dough is made from butter, sugar, eggs, flour and planed almonds. The shape, composition and packaging have all been protected by patent in the meantime.

Since 1971, there has also been a chocolate version of the Antwerp Hands in addition to the biscuits. Noblesse oblige in Belgium. The first version, the so-called 'caraque', did not have any filling. However in 1982, Antwerp's chocolatiers were asked to create a new Antwerp Hand with a filling. They finally decided on a filling made of marzipan and Elixir d'Anvers (local Antwerp liqueur) and a hand with a smooth praline filling. Both the original caraques and the filled Antwerp Hands are still enjoyed today in Antwerp.