August 31, 2012

Summer of photography

The Horta building which houses BOZAR (Beaux Arts) is worth a visit in itself for its architecture of course but as this summer's major photography exhibition is closing on September 16 -there is still time to visit- I am showing you a few ambiance shots. The aim of Sense of Place is to look beyond the obvious. "Landscape occupies a central position in the history of art in general and of photography in particular. How we see it today is affected by the ecological requirements of the post-industrial society. Concern for the future has led us to reconsider our individual relationships with the environment and to take a closer look at its place in our traditions and our history".

August 30, 2012

On the tram

Always have found "people on tram" shots interesting. Do you agree that they say a lot about the times?

August 29, 2012

Belgian 'Palace' in Istanbul

These wonderful photos and articles (see below) tell the story of the history and renovation works of the building which houses the Belgian Consulate General in Istanbul. Author Nathalie Ritzmann kindly gave me the permission to re-publish on This is Belgium. Click on the links below and have a look at more photographs of this gorgeous 'Palace'. 

August 26, 2012

Paper costumes

These costumes out of paper are works by Isabelle de Borchgrave, a Belgian artist and sculptor known for her colorful paintings and painted paper sculptures. The summer is almost over, and I did not get around to showing this exposition of her work at the Egmont Palace, which took place during July.  The Palace is property of the Belgian Government and houses some services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while it is also used to receive foreign heads of state and dignitaries in its beautiful salons and prestigious settings.

August 24, 2012

View on infinity

Afterwards he picked up his newspaper and kept on contemplating infinity just like the man in the painting with that name by Belgian painter Suzanne Bomhals (1902-2000) shown in the Museum of Deinze and the Leie region.
This museum has a great art collection consisting exclusively of works made by artists from the region.  I love this area of Belgium between the towns of Deinze and Ghent. It was also a favorite place to live and work for painters in the first half on the 2oth century.
On your next trip to Belgium do go visit the museum, walk around the gorgeous country side,  take a boat trip on the Leie and enjoy like our man above!

August 23, 2012

Two important ladies from Mechelen

Walking through Mechelen is not only interesting from an architectural viewpoint, it can also be a fun history lesson. 
This building became the Palace of Margaret of York after the death of her husband Charles the Bold. It is now the City Theatre. 
Originally the Bishop Cambrai resided in the building when he was in Mechelen. Margaret chose the vast Court as part of her settlement when she became a widow. It is also known as the imperial court because Holy Roman Emperor Charles V resided here from 1500 to 1515. Just above the little door in the tower is her diamond-shaped escutcheon, alongside that of her spouse, Charles the Bold. 

The bronze statue in the last picture shows Opsinjoorke in full flight. "The original doll was made in 1647. It is carried in ceremonial and religious processions and thrown into the air by means of a large linen cloth. It was originally called Sotscop or Foul Bridegroom, a reference to inebriated husbands who maltreated their wives. Divorce was absolutely forbidden in those days, and so the doll was symbolically punished (thrown into the air) for the sins of these men.
The doll acquired its current name on July 4th 1775 when, during a religious procession, the doll went beyond the reach of the cloth and landed among the crowd. An onlooker from Antwerp put out his arms to ward off the doll, but was accused of trying to steal the Sotscop. After receiving a sound thrashing from the patriotic people of Mechelen, he sent a letter of protest to the Mechelen magistrate pleading his innocence. From then on Sotscop became known as Opsinjoorke, 'sinjoor' being the nickname of the people of Antwerp!

August 22, 2012


Mechelen is one of Flanders historical and beautiful art cities. It is located in between Brussels an Antwerp.

August 20, 2012

a Belgian in Kenya

I have previously mentioned the favorable winds that from time to time send a fantastic picture my way. The winds have favored me once again. Here is Ambassador of Belgium in Kenya,  Bart Ouvry, while he was visiting projects of  "Vétérinaires sans Frontières-Belgium / Veeartsen zonder Grenzen- Belgium" in the Turkana area, located in Northern Kenya. He was honored by the locals, who presented him with this stunning Turkana elders' hat, which I personally find very becoming to him.

August 19, 2012

Too hot...

It is simply too hot to do anything, especially for us folks living in Belgium who are not used to temperatures of 35°C or more!  We are probably experiencing the hottest day of the year today, and it certainly does not feel very comfortable to sit in front of the computer and blog.... Did you know that Grimbergen, which is the name of a town in Belgium, has the fist abbey beer museum in the world - and more importantly it has a room for tasting the beer.  Lots of other interesting things to visit in abbey and basilica... Wish all of you wherever you are could taste this deliciously refreshing Grimbergen!

August 17, 2012

Around Leonard Cohen's concert

Oops, I got busy today... but here is what I promised yesterday.. a few pre-concert shots. Some fans, myself included, came way early. Me too, I absolutely wanted to make sure I could get to my place :)
To close this chapter, a picture of the master leaving the scene... it was past midnight...and as he said himself "clooooosing time".

August 16, 2012

Ghent welcomes Leonard Cohen

Mister Leonard Cohen came to Ghent and I was one of x-thousand other lucky ones to get a ticket.
Glorious concert.
Tomorrow I plan to post some pre-concert people and street scenes photos in Ghent.

August 15, 2012

The Genval lake

As today, August 15, is a day off for most people on this side of the world, and as the sun is shining in Belgium, a trip to Genval, located South of Brussels offers all the R&R one can dream of. Around the lake are gorgeous Belle Epoque houses, and the Château du Lac houses a beautiful hotel which is often used as a conference center.

August 14, 2012

Essentiel, a Belgian brand

There are a zillion fashion blogs out there and when I started "This is Belgium" I thought it would be intelligent to leave anything fashion related up to those who are more qualified to talk about it than I am. 
I do want to make an exception though for Essentiel, a Belgian clothing brand with shops in various cities over the country. The above pictures were taken in the shop on Brussels's fashionable Avenue Louise. The sales girls are and look fantastic. Another reason why I like this shop is that they decorate the store with books, photography books... 

August 13, 2012

Bruges without tourists

The real charm of Bruges lies in its medieval history as a center and hub of the wealthy cloth and tapestry making industry. Its ornate houses, charming and picturesque canals and medieval heroes are witnesses to this rich past. 
Bruges became the birthplace of what is now known as the Flemish Primitives, of which Jan van Eyck (c. 1395 – 1441) and Hans Memling ( c.1430 − 11 August 1494)  were key representatives. Their presence in Bruges encouraged the imigration of more artistic talent. Bruges produced new art, answer to the early Renaissance painting. 
The statue of Jan Breydel, a butcher, and Pieter de Coninck, a weaver, faces the Belfry. These Bruges heroes led a popular uprising seeking more rights and freedom for the city and its inhabitants from the ruling overlords in France which culminated in the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302.