The history and usage of the name Schoten may have come from the name given to the wooden dividing walls (schot in Dutch) that were driven in the ground to separate private property. The Christianization of the area dates from the end of the 7th century, under the influence of Abbot Ursmarus, of Lobbes Abbey, which owned property here.
In the 12th century, the territory was under the political authority of the lords of Breda, then of the lords of Bergen-op-Zoom. Religiously, it was administered by the Villers Abbey.
Already by the beginning of the 16th century, well-off burghers and merchants from neighboring Antwerp built castles in Schoten as secondary residences. The local community succeeded, however, in maintaining its rural Campine character until well into the 19th century. Industry first developed on the border with Merksem, later along the Albert Canal. Much of the rest of the town’s territory was kept green and was again used by neighboring Antwerp residents for building extensive villas such as Koningshof and Schotenhof. Today about 30% of Schoten’s territory still consists of forested areas, a great achievement given its location only 10 km (6 mi) away from the center of Antwerp.
The Villers castle also dates from the 13th century, while the Gothic-style church of St-Cordula dates from the 15th century.
Schoten also has a number of nature reservations and wooded areas, such as the Peerdsbos, the Vordensteyn domain, 't Asbroek, Wijtschot or the municipal park.
Schotenhof is an area of Schoten located in the north-east of the municipality. It was created in the beginning of the 20th century, a time when in several wood-rich municipalities around Antwerp the local castles were divided into lots to allow for the building of residential houses and vacation cottages.