April 28, 2013

Belgian draft horses

                                Photo taken by Alexandra Winand
We received a few wonderful Belgian related photos by Alexandra Winand and are so delighted that she is willing to share them on this blog as well as on This is Belgium's facebook group. I particularly like her Belgian draft horses.
If you want to find out more about this breed, originally from the Brabant region of Belgium, check out 
Alexandra has more to show, such as pictures from a school in Mons, another true beauty but closed since 1990... 
Stay tuned.

April 24, 2013

Ostend... just how long?

These folks are enjoying the warm temperatures at the coast in Ostend while they can; according to the weather reports there is only one more day left... That is Belgium for you !?

April 19, 2013

Secretaries - Personal Assistants

Catleya is one of the most gorgeous flower shops of the city. I wrote about it before: http://whatisbelgium.blogspot.be/2011/02/flowers.html
I happened to pass by there yesterday and it looked like one for their busiest day, business was definitely booming.
In the meantime I read that in the US 'secretary day' has been renamed "Administrative Professionals' Day" with two objectives in mind: to recognize "the secretary, upon whose skills, loyalty, and efficiency the functions of business and government offices depend," and to call attention "through favorable publicity, to the tremendous potential of the secretarial career."

April 15, 2013

Save the Villa Normande from demolition!

                                photo by Hans van der Saag

The "Villa Normande", built in 1923 and located on one of Brussels' most beautiful and prestigious avenues, Avenue W. Churchill, is now threatened with demolition.  The villa is surrounded by a beautiful park and more importantly,  it is one of the last examples of houses that were built at the time when the avenue was created.  Its interior remained intact till today.

The decision makers of the town of Uccle have been asked to decide on  the application by a real estate developer, requesting a demolition permit to build  an 8-floor apartment.

And of course, we here at This is Belgium,  believe this gorgeous, unique and exceptional villa should be saved. The neighbors have united and gathered forces; they want to defend the heritage and the city's history.

The "Commission Royale des Sites et Monuments" had advised already in 2004 that this beauty should be protected but unfortunately, it seems that the villa did not make it to the list of untouchables! 

Will the voices of the neighbors be loud enough to be heard?  If any of you, readers, would like to join this worthy cause and support them, help them fight for this valuable monument, please let the town authorities know and send a mail to the mayor at info@armanddedecker.be and to the person responsible for urban planning,  marc.cools@brutele.be

April 10, 2013

Freedom of street "art"

You can be for or against, like or hate this kind of colorful or black and white decoration, you can agree or disagree. 
What strikes me is that when the author wants the public to understand the message, English is used even in an almost 100% francophone area where the second picture was taken. I took the first one in Antwerp a few weeks ago. 

April 06, 2013

Patrick Gerola

I have no idea whether you, readers, are familiar with the most known of all Brussels' symbols? Manneken Pis is a famous landmark, a rather small fountain sculpture representing a naked boy urinating. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder and put in place in  the earlie 1600's. There are as many stories and legends about the little guy as you can imagine and if interested, you can have fun with them here:
A few months ago I met, in an art gallery at the Belgian coast, Patrick Gérola and his Japanese wife and singer Tomomi Hida. Patrick has made Manneken Pis his specialty. Patrick was born in Brussels in 1959, where he studied and graduated from the Academy of fine Arts.  He left Brussels to go live and work in Japan in 1983 but returned - temporarily, he told me- after what happened in Fukushima. 

April 02, 2013

Easter trip

While I am already back home in cold Brussels from my short Easter trip, hopefully this man is enjoying sun and warmth somewhere South of here. 
Such a colorful man can not go unnoticed. Indeed, when I left from Brussels airport last Friday he stood out because of the colorful combination of his clothes and accessories, not very common for a man like him, at least here in Brussels.