The Antwerp diamond quarter is nearby the Central Railway Station. The heart of the Antwerp diamond square mile consist of three traffic-free streets: Rijfstraat, Hoveniersstraat – where the building of AWDC is – and the Schupstraat. In this area, you can find the global centre of the diamond trade. Within these streets, 1,700 diamond companies are registered with over 4,500 diamond dealers, providing a living for more than 10,000 people. To clarify the role of AWDC in all of this, we have to go back to 2007.
In October 1973, the AWDC was established as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD), or Diamond High Council, at the initiative of the Belgian government and diamond industry representatives. Its stated mission was to protect and promote the diamond sector in Belgium. It also had a commercial branche for example to issue certificates. In 2007, the initial Diamond High Council was restructured and split up in two different enterprises.
The first, Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), a private foundation, is responsible for the representation of the collective interests of the Belgian diamond industry national and international, as well as the promotion of Antwerp as the global capital of the diamond industry.
The second enterprise, HRD Antwerp, a completely independent subsidiary of AWDC, is a commercial organization with six different branches: Diamond Lab, Precious Stones Lab, Research, Education, Graduates Club and Equipment.