The Antwerp Begijnhof -a catholic nunnery- was founded in 1544, at the beginning of Antwerp's famous 'Golden Century'. Similar nunneries exist in Bruges, Mechelen and Diest, but this one is among the finest in Belgium. With its beautiful houses, garden, church and statues of saints, it is an oasis of tranquillity, reflection and medieval splendour. In the old days, the nuns were strictly forbidden to have any contact with men, the punishment being a brisk session of flogging. But don't worry: even though a handful of nuns still live there to this day, the male sex is now welcome to visit as well.