The best large city in Belgium for cycling, Antwerp has a firm grip on the Top 20 index, even though they’ve slipped two places in 2015. The positive politics that came out of City Hall since the last Index in 2013 have dried up with the last election. There is actually talk from the current politicians about how to get more cars into the city centre. Seriously. In 2015. Clear influences from across the border in The Netherlands have given the city an impressive modal share for bicycles and the bicycle as transport is embraced by all ages and wages. There are ample parking facilities around the city and the train station parking remains one of the best in Europe. The citizens have excellent opportunities to use bike share systems, as well. Smaller cities, like Ghent, were not ranked but as far as larger cities go, Antwerp deserves its ranking as one of the best cities in the world.
Big brother Brussels offers no competition or inspiration to the likes of Antwerp. If you ignore the excellent Dutch cities to the north and the bland German cities to the east, you have to go all the way to Paris to find a city that has reestablished the bicycle as well as Antwerp.
Like everywhere else, Antwerp has urbanisation challenges. That increasing cars in the city is even being discussed is as sad as it is comical. There is no reason the city couldn't reach cycling levels that would rival Amsterdam and Copenhagen. All the pieces of the puzzle are in place. It wouldn't require much imagination to make it happen.