June 29, 2011

Academy exhibition

The last weekend of June, the art academies of Brussels open their doors to the public, very often family and friends of the students. I look forward to it every year. It is great fun to admire and absorb the results of a year of creativity, imagination, thinking and work by students who, in Brussels, come from everywhere. The different nationalities and backgrounds are reflected in the works.

June 27, 2011


Johan is the Photography and Graphic Design lecturer at "Rhok",  the Etterbeek (Brussels) Arts Academy. 
He is knowledgeable,  experienced, inspirational and .. extremely patient.  
The "one picture a day" assignment he gave the students a few months ago is my excuse for becoming a blogger.  

June 26, 2011

Gallo-Roman museum, Tongeren

"What follows is always intrinsically linked to what went before". These words by the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius are the motto of the Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren. 
Tongeren (Tongres in French), located near the border with the Netherlands,was founded in 15 BC and is one of the oldest towns in Belgium. In Roman times the city, inhabited by the Tungri, was a center of the administration. 
The museum won the "European Museum of the Year" award this year.
Next to the permanent collection, the museum provides educational programs,  shows films and has temporary exhibits which complement the story about the region. 
"The reason you should be sure to pay a visit? Nowhere is learning about the distant past as much fun as it is here. The distant past started some 500,000 years ago and continued until the early Middle Ages. Neanderthals, the first Homo sapiens, Celts, Eburones and, of course, Romans and Germanic tribes ..."

June 23, 2011

Looking back

After these ladies walked by me I hesitated for a moment whether to ask for permission to take their picture. I looked back and when I saw the rain gear that the first lady was wearing I thought I'd make a little publicity for the "Centre Athlétique Genève".

June 22, 2011


Pazzi is a Belgian artist, who makes marble statues and sculptures. 
Her workis poetic, evocative and moving. She lived and worked in Carrara, ITALY for many years but recently moved to a village near Aarschot in Flemish Brabant.  Pazzi did numerous solo and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad. Among her manifold achievements are commissions for the Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown (Washington DC), the statue at the entrance of the company Verelst in Belgium and many exhibitions in galleries in Belgium, England and Italy. In June 2005 she won the first prize for sculpture at the 1st Biennale of genovarte in Genoa, Italy.   
I had the pleasure of visiting her in her new atelier for her first "open house" earlier this month.

June 21, 2011

Chapel and windmill

If you drive from Brussels to the Belgian coast on a weekend when the weather is nice, the chances are great that shortly before Ghent you will be stuck in traffic and will be much better off leaving the highway and trying to find an alternative to waiting in a queue. On the secondary roads you pass through towns like Eeklo where the chapel will grab your attention because of the statues on its façade. 

The chapel, inaugurated in 1900, is an example of regional neo-gothic. It is situated accross the street from a cimetry. The three statues are archangel Michael and two angels with trumpets.

Just a little bit further this magnificent stone windmill catches the eye.

June 19, 2011

After class

After school scenes. exam preparation or dealing with exam stress, relaxing or waiting for the bus.

June 17, 2011

Pepermolen en De Goedendag, restaurants of Lissewege

Impossible to leave Lissewege without talking about some of its well known restaurants. One of the great pleasures for many tourists at the Belgian coast is to travel a very short distance inland to the wonderful little towns also known for their exquisite cuisine. 
The Lissewege restaurants are often run as a family business.  Several restaurants are worth a special trip. I took a photo of de Pepermolen (the Pepper Mill) and had the pleasure of trying out de Goedendag (the Good Day), a charming restaurant in an 18th century farm restored with knowledge and good taste. Chef Luc De Winter owns and runs this treasure together with two daughters.

June 15, 2011

Lissewege, the white town with the flat tower

Beautiful quiet Lissewege,  close to Bruges and the Belgian coast, is definitely worth a detour.
A lovely tranquil town, its streets are lined with white chalked houses grouped in a circle around the church and lined along the narrow canal.
The name Lissewege was recorded for the first time in 961 and the village owes its existence to the construction of dikes that served as a protection against the sea. 
It was textiles that made this village rich in the Middle Ages.
The church, Onze Lieve Vrouw kerk, is an early gothic brick-stone with a flat tower and was built between  1230 and 1270.
How is it possible that such a small village could build such a large church? There are several stories trying to explain it. Most likely to be true is that it was constructed under supervision of the Templer Knights. These knights had to protect the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, Rome and Jerusalem. For pilgrims coming from the North, their long journey began in Lissewege. Probably the church was financed by sacrificial gifts from the many pilgrims that passed this place. 
Today Lissewege is a very pleasant quiet little town with several nice restaurants (see tomorrows post).


June 14, 2011

Chocolates at la maison du lin

I would like to refer "This is Belgium" readers to the blog of Jerôme on http://mamaisondelin.blogspot.com/
Today, Jerôme has a very colorful posting on everything you ever wanted to know about Belgian chocolates, in particular Marcolini's
Enjoy !

Tapestry De Wit Mechelen

In Mechelen, a Flemish town between Brussels and Antwerp, De Wit Royal Manufacturers, founded in 1889, has been restoring tapestries for over a century. It is the world's leading restorer for museums. Unfortunately, one needs an appointment to visit the collection of antique tapestries and to see the people at work.  I tried without one but didn't succeed. Therefore, unfortunately, I can only show pictures of the outside of the premises, I had just a peek inside and glanced at thousands of colorful yarn neatly stacked up on shelves against a huge wall. More to be found on the following website:

June 13, 2011

June 12, 2011

On the church steps

I have never encountered as many people from Finland as in the last few weeks. At the end of April,  I posted  a portrait of Anna and her friend, both ex-au-pairs from Finland who returned to Brussels for a visit after ten years.  The two young women in the picture are also from Finland. Did a travel agency in Finland suddenly put Belgium high on its list of places for its clients to visit?   
Where are the young men from? No idea.  All I know is that they enjoyed the attention.

June 11, 2011

Opera and dance

"Je est un autre"  a sentence which literally translates as "I is an other". French poet Arthur Rimbaud used these words in a letter,  "Lettre du voyant" ("Letter of the Seer") to his friend Paul Demeny in May 1871 to explain his philosophy.  
The poster advertises the new season of La Monnaie / De Munt,  the Brussels Opera House.
Anne Teresa De Keersmaker is a Belgian choreographer. Her piece "Rain" ran until a few days ago in Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera house. De Keersmaeker and her company, Rosas, have been working together for twenty years. the last eleven in residence at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels.

www.demunt.be and www.lamonnaie.be

June 10, 2011


Svetalana is a native Russian who was educated in St. Petersburg and Leiden. She has lived in Belgium for over 10 years now. She is an exceptional woman. Her house near Leuven is filled with Russian decorative art and other treasures.
She created EsSAy, a project which promotes current Arts and Crafts inspired by the artistic and technical heritage of craft-masters of the past. She has an impressive collection of fine designer clothes in Russian Modern style which has been exhibited in various European museums. 


June 08, 2011


Yesterday the TV-news had an item about the desirability of having the Segway available for use in the city. The machine is shown here on a quiet Sunday morning a week ago in the Chancellerie street in Brussels. In order to make them very safe for the user, the organization renting them in Brussels has blocked the speed of the engines to 30 km per hour. Their use in some cities is apparently controversial. In Bruges, the person at city hall responsible for tourism is not a great fan. He is in favor of individual use of the Segway but is strongly against their use for group excursions. He thinks that in the city they hinder pedestrians, shoppers, tourists.

According to http://www.segwaybrugge.be/en/: "The Segway is very environmentally friendly. It is not only noiseless and energy-efficient, but it does not produce any harmful substances either.  Very convenient to ride around in the city, where enough emissions are produced already, as well as outside the city, where you want to harm nature as little as possible".

June 07, 2011

Lost wheels

An abandoned grocery cart in the middle of the city is a surprising sight - even more so because the orange handle bar carries the inscription "Sarma" which went out of business years ago. Sarma was a department store chain, and the letters stood for "Société anonyme pour la revente d'articles de masse" (corporation for the resale of mass articles). Funny how a cart like this just sits there years after Sarma ceased its activities. As the bike did not have a lock and was unattached, I decided that it too was lost.

June 04, 2011


Hannah, an American student in art history, on her student job.

June 03, 2011

Belgian Magnum photographers

As announced in my previous post, here are pictures of three of the four Belgian Magnum photographers. They engaged in an interesting exchange of ideas on documentary photography and the life and travails of belonging to the elite group of Magnum photographers.  The discussion was moderated by journalist Jef Lambrecht (photo 1), book signing by John Vink and Harry Gruyaert (photo 2) and Carl De Keyzer, shown here being filmed (photo 3).