November 27, 2013

How about Thanksgiving in Belgium?

I really like the idea of celebrating "Thanksgiving" and have always wanted to introduce this wonderful tradition in Belgium. Tomorrow I have invited friends to a typical meal of  turkey with all the trimmings (stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pecan pie and ... maybe Belgian beer and chocolates?).  The celebration is about giving thanks and enjoying family and friendship.   George Washington issued the Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789 and Abraham Lincoln turned this special day into a national holiday in 1863. Do you agree that it is worth giving it a try over here too ? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have another day off in Belgium also, just to say 'thanks' ? I wish you visitors who are celebrating tomorrow a very happy Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2013

People of Belgium

The sight of this charming woman, who had a special poise and presence about her, showing up in a Snack Express Bar in Brussels, spontaneously made me think of the hugely popular Humans of New York blog. 
I asked her if she would agree for me to take her photo and she asked me: "Why and what for?"  My answer - "not particularly sure and not a very specific reason" - made her smile as you can see.  On the way out, I did give her a little piece of sandwich wrapping paper on which I had written down the references to TiB. Since then I've followed the recommendation I've received from a number of you and printed TiB cards that I can give out on occasions such as this one.  Great tip!

November 21, 2013

David Claerbout


Not much time is left to go see Belgian artist David Claerbout in Paris. He is showing 3 videos and a series of preparatory drawings, storyboards of his films, in Galery Yvon Lambert, rue Vieille du Temple is Paris' Marais. 
Mr Claerbout, born in Kortrijk in 1969, studied in Antwerp and Berlin, he lives and works in both cities.

November 18, 2013

Guest blogger: "Mijn Nikon en ik, Photography a way to live" on Michiel Coxcie

details from two paintings

I am delighted to introduce you to Joke's blog "My Nikon and I" and her absolutely wonderful entry today on Michiel Coxcie, whose work in shown in M -  Museum in Leuven.  Check out what Joke has to say about this exhibit and make sure you also take a moment to admire Joke's wonderful nature photographs.

November 14, 2013

"Bleu de toi" Jewelry

Belgium has a large Filipino community and I like to put a special lady in the spotlight today. 
I have known this cute store in Brussels' Galerie Louise for many, many years and somehow - maybe because I am an earrings person? - it became a habit every time I walk by there, to stop and say hi to the lady who runs "Bleu de Toi". 
Originally from the Philippines, Belgium has been home to her for years now. Her daughter has the same age as my son, so we, moms, always have something to chat about and over the years, it became fun to compare notes.
I wish her well and hope her family and friends are safe.

Bleu De Toi (bijouterie)
113 Galerie Louise
1050 Ixelles / Brussels  +32 2 5138177

November 12, 2013

How to help the Philippines Typhoon Victims

                                                                photo de

Médecins Sans Frontières/ 
Artsen zonder Grenzen BE73 0000 0000 6060 84 0000 0001 5659 met vermelding ‘Noodhulpfonds Filipijnen’

Unicef,  BE31 0000 0000 5555 

Plan Belgique/ Plan België BE84 0000 0001 5659

Croix Rouge BE72 000-0000016-16
Rode Kruis  BE53 0000 0000 5353

November 09, 2013

"Fresco's then and now" by Els Hattink

For those of you in or near Tervuren, I'd like to let you know that my good friend and great artist, Els Hattink, will expose her paintings at Art Gallery Charlotte Van Lorreinen. Do go discover and enjoy her work if you can! Above is Els' self portrait, which I got from her website

November 04, 2013

Meet author Anne Grauwels.

Meeting author Anne Grauwels was both fun and very interesting. 
Anne was born in Ostend, from Polish Jews who left Warsaw to start a new life in Belgium. Anne  studied Economics and History in Brussels and while she was teaching in Ghent, she commuted back and forth to Brussels, city which she calls home.
"Humeurs judéo-flamandes" is a compilation of colums she writes in "Points Critiques, a publication of the UPJB (Union of the Progressif Jews of Belgium).  At the occasion of the launch of her book, a video was posted on youtube (link below).  Anne says that she writes to entertain her audience and that while doing so,  she explains to the French speaking part of the country what Flanders and Flemings are like. I imagine there is some explaining the other way around too. I particularly like the chapter entitled "Il y a belge et belge" about defining the word 'Belgian of Belgian origin'. Is the word reserved for a Walloon person from Wallonia or a Flemish one from Flanders, or does it include Walloons of Flemish origin and Flemings of Walloon origin?  How about the people from Brussels? Must one be of Brussels, Flemish or Walloon origin, etc etc If only the book was available in English, you readers could have fun getting immersed in the intricacies of what is means being Belgian. 
The book can be ordered in Belgium from Joli mai at
From abroad, the book can be ordered through

November 01, 2013

November 1, All Saints Day

Ixelles - Elsene (Brussels) has been my home for many years but as my family is not from here I do not have any November 1  "obligations" or family graves to attend to in the cemetery. 
Lots of activity was going on this All Saints Day in all the cemeteries in Belgium.
In Ixelles, because of its mixed population, all kinds of religions, traditions and burial practices are represented and one finds references to both world wars, to pilots, soldiers, resistance members.
Photo 1 shows the grave of Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers, famous for making sculptural objects from mussels, egg shells, etc. 
Did you ever see an official pet cemetery (last picture)?  For me that was a first.