City of Antwerp

De Nieuwe Antwerpenaar Online

Ils, the City of Antwerp’s Marketing and Communication director, asked how she could turn the city magazine ‘De Nieuwe Antwerpenaar’ into a web version. Prophets started with a conceptual stage, developed the platform and activated the website.

“ How do you move a paper city magazine over to the web? How do we address a young, interactive target group? ”

Den Antwerpenaar

The City of Antwerp invests heavily in communicating with its inhabitants. A while ago, the city newspaper ‘Den Antwerpenaar’ was turned into the city magazine called, ‘De Nieuwe Antwerpenaar’ (DNA). The paper version was delivered to the doors of about 350,000 families and was read by some 500,000 Antwerpers. DNA also had its own programme on the local TV channel, ATV. The paper magazine was about life in Antwerp through the eyes of its inhabitants as well as activities in the city. The city asked how this magazine could be turned into a web version and keep pace with current affairs. And how, by doing so, it could appeal to a younger audience. And finally, also maintain a dialogue with its citizens.

Concept and architecture

In a first and comprehensive stage, Prophets organised a series of six workshops for the City of Antwerp’s Marketing and Communication staff. Each workshop dealt with one specific theme: about information architecture, conversation and social media. Each workshop had a fixed structure: a short introduction, followed by a guest speaker who shared their own experience, ending in a facilitated discussion. Prophets prepared the workshops, led the debates and wrote a report afterwards. This process resulted in two documents: a concept note which described the vision and idea behind the website, and a functional document which contained the site concept, information architecture and wireframes for all the important pages and elements.


Design and development

The second stage was where Prophets developed the website further. Working closely with the City of Antwerp, two designs were developed and presented. Once the client had made a decision, one design style was developed for all the pages. The development was carried out in collaboration with Dot Projects. The website was based on a Drupal setup which runs the website. In addition to local articles , there are articles per district. An important element of the website is the integration of the events calendar ‘Uit In Antwerpen’. There is also the A-card, the Antwerpers RFID loyalty card which is linked to their profiles on the platform. This allows them to receive a newsletter, log in with their Facebook profile and submit reactions to articles. De Nieuwe Antwerpenaar Online is a complex site in structure, but which feels very natural for users.

Today, the editors of Uit In Antwerpen have switched to hybrid thinking and publishing. Paper and online versions of the magazine flow seamlessly together, complemented by social media channels. The website is driven by the magazine, especially by events which create visitor peaks. Meanwhile Prophets is integrating large and small campaigns into the same website framework. Pages for the Bollekes festival, Tulip picking or the Liberation celebrations are fully incorporated. With De Nieuwe Antwerpenaar, the City of Antwerp has created a communication platform through which it can stay in direct contact with its own citizens, thanks to stories about Antwerp and its inhabitants.


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