The rowing events were held closer to Brussels than Antwerp. They actually were contested in the Grand Canal, starting at Vilvorde, about five miles northwest of Brussels. The Field described the site as follows, “The surroundings were not picturesque. On the right bank (looking from start to finish) is a rough pavé road, bounded on the right by a dreary, dusty wall and an odoriferous ditch. On the left bank of the course is an almost continuous line of factories, some of which discharge streams of hot water from their condensers into the murky waters of the canal. The average depth of the water was from 15 ft. to 20 ft., and compared with the Thames, it was a little heavy to row on. From an artistic or a picnic point of view, it was unprepossessing. From the purely business point of view of boat racing, it was as good and as fair a test of the merits of competition as it is possible to imagine. There was never for one single instant the slightest advantage in either station.”
All the 1920 rowing events were contested over 2,000 metres on a perfectly straight course.