April 30, 2011

Finnish au pairs, 10 years later

When I asked the two attractive young ladies whether they were tourists, they said "yes, we are from Finland but we lived in Brussels before, 10 years ago". They must have seen my surprise because I thought they were young to be talking with nostalgia about times gone by.  So,  they added they were living here as au pairs and wanted to find out what had changed. 

April 28, 2011

Cinema Vendôme

When you go to the movies at cinema Vendôme in Brussels, you feel like you have gone back to the past. It starts when you buy the ticket at the booth in the street and it never ends, not even when you sink deeply into the red velvet chairs.  The infrastructure has been updated but the feeling of times gone by is definitely very present.  

April 27, 2011

World Wildlife Fund

The man working for WWF tried to talk this lady into contributing to the good cause. He did his best to attract people's attention by explaining elaborately and seemingly in a convincing way what he stood for and what the purpose of his fundraising was. The woman drew even more attention because of her unusual jacket, colorful striped bag and stuffed animals in a plastic bag she carried over her shoulder. She liked his story that much was obvious. I did not stick around long enough to see whether the man received the contribution he was trying so hard to get.

April 26, 2011

City sunbathing

It might be a dog, it might be a foot, it might be just about anything ... point is, everyone enjoys the deepening spring and gets the most out of it in his or her way

April 24, 2011

Easter in Brussels

A gift from Croatia's Koprivnica-Križevac region, this painted Easter egg is on display at Brussel's "Sablon" square. It is customary to give painted eggs at Easter in Eastern European countries. In Belgium the custom is, of course, to give chocolate eggs!  The Atomium, icon of Belgium and symbol of the 1958 World fair held in Brussels, appears on the egg.

The egg painters are Vladimir Dolenec, Branko Matina, Stjepan Pongrac and Ljerka Tropsek.

April 23, 2011

Easter chocolates

On holidays Brussels always lives up to its reputation as chocolate capital... you can not possibly miss it. People taking photographs of chocolates, guided chocolate tours, tourists relaxing in front of Wittamer. On the square "Sablon",  all brands are present :   Leonidas, Wittamer, Marcolini, Godiva, Neuhaus

April 22, 2011


Breakfast on Parisian terrace, Place de la Bastille.

April 21, 2011

...as if....

This couple makes a slow walk around the neighborhood every morning and afternoon to get a little exercise.  The man said that they looked in the picture "as if they were walking down the aisle to get married".

April 20, 2011

Easter holiday, hanging around

"Hanging around with friends"during Easter break - the concept changes with age

April 18, 2011

Front doors are open

As by chance, on Sunday afternoon, the front doors to these magnificent houses and apartment buildings were just standing wide open, inviting passers- by to have a peek inside and tempting this photographer to catch them on photo.

April 17, 2011

Motorized promenade

In a country where it rains so often, when the sun does shine it brings out the smiles and interesting vehicles.  I would never have noticed that Neil Diamond still comes over here to perform live had it not been for the shiny Harley Davidson, maybe a stunt from Neil's advertising team? The poster says Neil will perform on June 4 at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp, in case anyone is interested.

April 15, 2011

Visitors from Latin America

Quechua Indian probalbly from the area of Otavalo, North of Quito, Ecuador. She is wearing the typical "golden" necklace. In the old days the beads used to be made of gold but today they are glassbeads and very lightweight. Typical also are the blouse and colorful handwoven belt. 
Ladies from Lima having the time of their lives as tourists in Brussels.

April 14, 2011

à la Edward Hopper

While this young man was just sitting there minding his own business, reading or studying,  not noticing anything or anyone, he reminded me somehow of the painings of Hopper. It made me want to try out whether a bit of photoshopping would enhance this "Hopper" cachet of the photo.

April 13, 2011

Brasserie St Jean

Brasserie St Jean located in Oud Heverlee, south of Louvain, is a wonderful restaurant and bar with a fantastic garden. They do have a special eye for decoration as is shown here: this is the entrance to the  restrooms on the first floor.  

April 11, 2011


This picture of Alessandra, a young Dutch Italian, was taken a while ago... in my pre-blog days. Her colorfulness portrays perfectly the wonderful "Spring in the air" feeling. Today, Alessandra is a student in Cinematography in Brussels.

April 09, 2011

Tourists and Locals

It is not always easy or obvious to figure out who is a local and who is a tourist. Very often tourists are carrying clues such as cameras, but on my street photography trips I have noticed that they also very often have food with them.  I talked briefly to the first couple who turned out to be from Nottinghamshire and the second,  from Brussels,  and I decided not to ask the two men to turn around.

April 08, 2011

French Fries Revolution

The story about why French fries are not French will be the topic of another posting.
This contraption symbolizes the "French Fries Revolution". Belgium holds the record for the longest period without a Government. People decided a few months ago to hit the streets, launch a peaceful "revolution" to protest, but also - and perhaps mainly - to dance and celebrate...while free fries were distributed in honor of the country's well known dish. This fries carriage was put together by local scouts to be part of their annual spring parade.

more on this:

April 06, 2011

Sisters on way to theater?

Since I enjoyed talking to these two ladies in the Paris' metro, I thought I would post their picture here anyway even though they have no link with "This is Belgium".  They were counting the number of stops they still had to go, so I know they were on their way to the Bastille. I did not see any relationship when I took the picture but now I wonder whether they could be sisters?

April 05, 2011

Cogels Osy-lei, Antwerp

This unique street in the southern part of Antwerp dates from the the middle of the 19th century when the population boom in Antwerp made an enlargement of the city necessary. In 1866 Edouard Osy and John Cogels inherited farmland from their father Baron Jean Osy, The original idea to build new industry there because of the presence of the railroad to Holland, was given up.  New houses were built and by the end of the 19th century the main avenue was named the 'COGELS-OSY' Lei which became the heart of the new 'rich area' of Antwerp.
The multitude of architectural styles and decorations is breathtaking. One can find a house in neo-gothic style standing right next to a house in Art Nouveau style. All the houses were built at the time when all over Belgium the neo-styles were very popular (neo-classicist, neo-gothic, neo-renaissance, etc...).

The area is not very large, the best way to visit it is by walking around, taking a stroll through the streets and enjoying!


April 02, 2011

Chef takes break

Milo, the chef of the Ancienne Belgique taking time off just after lunch hour. The Ancienne Belgique is a fabulous concert hall where the most interesting and varied concerts take place. The goal of the AB is "to present contemporary music, made by people of today and about the world they live in. We want a positive press advertising the newest repertoire, the newest act, to fans and music lovers. In short: presenting interesting artists to a broad public of people living and thinking today".

April 01, 2011


Same balloon but different stories.