The Antwerp diamond district is located near the Central Railway Station. The heart of the Antwerp diamond square mile consists of three traffic-free streets: Rijfstraat, Hoveniersstraat – where the AWDC building is located – and the Schupstraat. This condensed area is home to the global capital of the diamond trade. These streets house the 1,700 registered diamond companies and their 4,500 diamond dealers, and provide 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 branch to issue certificates, for example. In 2007, the initial Diamond High Council was restructured and split into two different enterprises.
The first, Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), is responsible for representing the collective interests of the Belgian diamond industry nationally and internationally, as well as promoting Antwerp as the global capital of the diamond industry. The second, 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.