October 31, 2012

Guest post by Jason

Halloween-spirit inspired pictures taken this afternoon by Jason with his phone. He felt like sharing them on  "This is Belgium". 

October 30, 2012

Looking up

 So much happiness high up in the air in Leuven (Louvain). Next time I get an opportunity I plan on taking a stroll trough this magnificent university town to shoot for a posting with a title "never look down, only up!" or something like that.

October 28, 2012

Beer and bread in the university town

You readers know that very rarely I practice car-photography and yesterday morning, when I was driving into the city of Leuven (Louvain) next to the canal noticing a Jupiler truck in front of the Stella Artois facilities, I just had to shoot! 
"The history of Stella Artois is closely connected with the history of Leuven. The foundation of the university of Leuven in 1425, the digging of the canal Leuven-Rupel in the 18th century, two industrial revolutions and two world wars; all were events that played a fundamental part in the development of this beer town and... of the brewery Artois".
It also was the first cold morning and the Diestsestraat was empty, no clients in the bakeries yet.  This statue represents Dorre de Bakker, "a young, dynamic pre-war baker going to fetch the bread dough from his customers to put it in the oven. The statue shows that the bakers’ craft is a fine trade with a long tradition. It was made by Roland Rens at the request of the Association of Bakers and Pastry Cooks and the Friends of Baking and unveiled in 1979". 

October 25, 2012

Fall in the city

A jewel in Brussels!
"The Bois de la Cambre was designed in 1861 by the German architect Edouard Keilig. The style of the park is very English, a garden concept that originated in England at the beginning of the 18th century. These gardens try to imitate nature as closely as possible. The bushes and trees are planted in a very irregular way.
Nowadays, the Bois de la Cambre is a green lung in Brussels and one of the favorite parks for leisure activities. The park also has a manege where children can make rides on the back of a pony: the Brussels Poney Club".

October 23, 2012

Street theater

A while ago, after visiting a photography exhibition in downtown Brussels with a friend, we could not help but notice the beer cans nicely lined up on Pierre Marcolini's window sill and its consumer,  a man wearing a hat in the Belgian colors. I believe that at first he was not too thrilled to have his picture taken but when I explained what I had in mind, to publish the photo on This is Belgium,  he was all smiles.  The terrace of the café across the street was loaded with people enjoying a refreshing Belgian beer... and the unexpected interaction going on in front of them.

October 21, 2012

Girls and their phone

Whatever the mood - angry, happy, puzzled..... and whatever the weather - good or bad, girls and their phones ... inseparable ... always.

October 19, 2012

Eduardo Dargent in Lima

Once again a favorable wind blew a "Belgian abroad" story into my inbox. 
Happy to introduce you to Eduardo Dargent (photo 1), a Belgo-Peruvian historian, from Lima, author of a book on the  history of the Flemish in Latin America.
Eduardo's grandfather arrived in South America a century ago. He came from Flemalle in Belgium and married the Peruvian grandmother. Eduardo's dad was also born in Flemalle in 1919 (photo 2: dad and granddad).
The family has kept dachshunds (Salchichas, Sausage or Wiener dogs) ever since Eduardo's father at the age of 8 visited Belgium and his grandmother who had a teckel. Upon returning to Lima they got a teckel themselves and started a tradition which is still alive today.
Picture three shows Eduardo (about age 6) and his mother with their brown teckel "Pituca".  In the last one Eduardo and his two sons are holding from left to right "Stanley", "Ursula" and Ursula's two sons "Tiger" and "Chico". 
Copies of "Presencia Flamenca en la Sudamérica Colonial" can be obtained from the author by email upon request.

October 16, 2012

Guest post by Michelle Damiani - Three days Brussels

                             Pictures: copyright Michelle P Damiani
My guest blogger today is Michelle Pina Damiani.  I am not only happy to have discovered her blog but also, or even more so to have received her permission to share this absolutely fabulous article about Brussels with you! 
It starts like this: "Three days in Brussels is simply not enough. I feel like we barely scratched the surface. We saw enough to enamor, enchant, and enliven, but it was a wrench to leave. The food, the architecture, the pace of the city…we loved it all"    
and it ends like this: "And we haven’t lost sight of wanting to go back. We planned this trip with the intention that for each person’s birthday we’d  take a trip designed for them. Now we’re thinking that for each person’s birthday we’ll go to Brussels".
I know you want to read everything in between: http://www.ilbelcentro.com/2012/10/08/three-days-in-brussels/
Michelle is a freelance writer and food lover currently living in Spello, Italy for a year. A practicing clinical psychologist based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Damiani's short fiction recently was awarded first place by author John Grisham. 
She has been blogging daily since she arrived in Italy on July 27 about her experiences there with her family of five. The blog will be a chronicle to treasure of the special year in the life of her family. 
Michelle lived in Belgium when she was small and visited again for a couple of reasons, see more here:

October 14, 2012

Local elections day

Belgians had to - yes, voting is compulsory - go to the polls today in municipal elections. In my town these ladies were very tired but obviously also eager to see the results on TV tonight. 

October 13, 2012

Karen Renders passed away


I had the opportunity of meeting Karen very briefly only once and was so impressed by her warm, radiant, energetic and engaging personality.
PRESS RELEASE Artexis (Art Brussels)
"It is with a profound sadness and much emotion that we must announce the premature loss of Karen Renders. Despite her iron will and her immense joie-de-vivre, Karen was unable to win her battle against illness and passed away this Wednesday, 10 October 2012 at the age of 54.
An engaged and passionate woman, she was present at all the formative moments in the creation of Artexis, a specialist exhibitions organiser. As a partner in the business, she made a huge contribution to its development.
For more than 20 years, Karen provided a public persona and character to many trade shows, but her great passion remained Art Brussels.
With the invaluable assistance of the Belgian committee and the international collectors’ committee, a team that she knew how to motivate like no other, and numerous players in the worlds of art and of business, Karen Renders turned Art Brussels into an unmissable event in the world of contemporary art.
This exhibition has grown in the course of the years and today occupies an enviable position among contemporary art exhibitions in Europe and around the world.
A lady of natural elegance and with a sharp aesthetic sense, Karen will remain in our memories even if fate now compels us to say farewell. We have lost a partner, a colleague, a friend and confidante, a member of the Artexis extended family..."
(article and picture copyright Metropolism) excerpt from http://metropolism.com/fresh-signals/karen-renders-overleden/english

October 12, 2012

Photographers (4)

Photographers, you find them anywhere and everywhere in all forms, shapes and colors. Wishing you a happy weekend!

October 10, 2012

Photo op at Fotofever

In the margin of Fotofever (see previous post) and under the approving eye of Arno, a Belgian singer born in Ostend whose first name suffices to identify him, some visitors seized the opportunity to have their picture taken by a professional.

October 08, 2012


Fotofever, the first european photography art fair, took place in Brussels from  4 to 7 October 2012.  60 galleries mainly from Europe but also from New York, Tel Aviv etc showed contemporary photographic and video creations by young talents as well as well known artists. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not expect such an interesting abundance so for the next edition I will be sure to allow for more time to see it all.

October 06, 2012

Simply Brussels

Nothing special today... just Brussels on a dreary Saturday afternoon. For those of you who know the city a bit and have exceptionally good eyes, the last photo has the Atomium in it, right in the middle. For those of you who do not know what the Atomium is, it is the Belgian equivalent of the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty  -;) http://atomium.be/#/History.aspx "The Atomium was the main pavilion and icon of the World Fair of Brussels (1958), commonly called Expo 58. It symbolised the democratic will to maintain peace among all the nations, faith in progress, both technical and scientific and, finally, an optimistic vision of the future of a modern, new, super-technological world for a better life for mankind". 

October 05, 2012

Baptism in the park

These pictures are taken from far for obvious reasons. It is also the first time that I got a stern request not to take photographs. What's going on here is the ritual baptism of 1st year college students at the beginning  of the academic year. Baptisms can take several forms and formats, can be fun or not... Unfortunately they also can rather easily get out of hand. As far as I could see, these groups had things under control. They did make initiates get on their knees and consume a disgusting looking mixture of mayonnaise and flower straight off the ground.