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The city of Antwerp is located on both sides of the Schelde River on a vast alluvial plain. Known to have been inhabited since the 2d century BCE, it has been important commercial center since the 12th century. It flourished in the 15th century under Philip the Good of Burgundy, when a famous academy of painting was founded there. It is noted as one of world's major seaports. Its population by a 2003 estimate is 450,000 and it is the second largest city in Belgium.
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