Belgium: The New Hub

What is Europe's fastest-growing industrial hub? Frankfurt? Milan? London? No, by the reports of bankers and industrialists, it is Antwerp, the inland Belgian port 55 miles up the River Scheldt from the North Sea.

At Europe's third-busiest port (after Rotterdam and London), factories and tank farms are sprouting amid ancient cathedrals and guild halls. Foreign companies have invested $750 million in new plants since 1964, plan some $500 million more over the next three years in a city whose population (654,500) is smaller than New Orleans. This month General Motors laid the...