November 23, 2017

The art of negotiation

Such wonderful photo opportunities on a grey day. Can't wait to return. 
"The Jeu de Balle Flea Market is a sociological representations of the area. It gathers antique lovers, collectors, occasional visitors and people who are simply headed out for a stroll. Here you can find almost everything and anything you’ve ever wanted in a lively and entertaining atmosphereThe market is composed of dealers selling pieces strewn out on blankets and sheets or off the back of their trucks and cars. There are also stands crammed with objects, from antique porcelain and pictures to 19th-century crossbows and tiny tin objects made from the 20th century, parchment, fabric, vintage clothes, etc. Most of these stands offer a variety of different objects, but here and there you can find sellers dedicated to only one specific kind of treasure".  and more :

November 16, 2017

Open air markets

Open air markets, like this one in Brussels' Saint-Gilles,  combined with the autumn foliage provide pretty colourful photo ops.

November 03, 2017

The Raft, conversation with Ostend

I have not yet seen this exhibition but glimpsing through the splendid catalogue has me all convinced... till April 15,2018. 
"The Raft. Art is (not) Lonely’ is not only an exhibition, but also a conversation with Ostend, the City by the Sea with its own distinct history and scent. The baseline of the dramaturgy of Mu.ZEE’s exhibition, which will be presented in various locations spread across the Belgian seaside resort, is the thorough research conducted into ‘The Raft of the Medusa’ (1818) by Théodore Géricault and Jan Fabre’s utopian raft ‘Art is (not) Lonely’ (1986). Although there is an unmistakable 170-year time difference and a completely different historical origin, both works tie in with each other thanks to their visualisation of the expedition and the destination of the artist, which is a theme acting as a metaphor of the condition humaine.

October 19, 2017

To live, breathe, eat and drink on water in the city.

 The "mini living breathe' installation, at the occasion of the Brussels Design Days in September, near Place St Catherine, Brussels 
 "An island in a large water feature on the Vismet in the centre of Brussels which encloses a large round sharing table for inhabitants to use. The installation uses its own natural materials to filter and clean the surrounding air in order to revitalize the people and the city. This piece of work embodies the idea of shared city living within a compact footprint"

October 09, 2017

The Viaduct by Paul Delvaux -

  Photo by Graham
 Museum Thyssen - Madrid 

"This work was painted in March 1963, a period in which Delvaux again felt strongly attracted to the subject of trains and stations, which he discovered very early on in his career. Towards 1920, at the time when he was attending the Académie, he got into the habit of painting at the gare du Luxembourg in Brussels. Later, he drew inspiration from the little foresters' station in Boistfort, the borough of Brussels where he lived. Evoking Delvaux's world without referring to trains is impossible, since it is a recurring theme in his work. Here he reveals himself as a painter of reality, of a meticulous reality. In Delvaux, no detail is left to chance, and each element is studied in depth. In fact, he ordered scale models of trains and trams which reigned over his studio, next to a skeleton, another important source of inspiration. That way, every time he wished to do so, he was able to copy them carefully and integrate them in his works. The Viaduct is a very interesting piece, because it gathers in a single, very dense composition, all the elements which constitute the artist's world: the suspended lamps found in his childhood homes, the magical and unusual atmosphere of the stations at nightfall, the mysterious train passing and covering the horizon with its strange smoke, the mirror reflecting another world, another reality. And absence, too. Everything is fixed, inanimate, waiting for an event which does not take place. The work frightens and at the same time fascinates, since it is inhabited by poetry. The houses are lit, but no human being seems to live in them. No life animates this composition constructed like a theatrical scene".

September 30, 2017

Jozef Cantré in Mudel, Deinze

             the curator of the exhibition, Mr Peter  J.H. Pauwels

the catalogue, exceptional, interesting, a treasure 

 by Leon De Smet, 1920

the artist Jozef Cantré at work

The Belgian weather this weekend might offer you the perfect excuse to travel to Mudel,  Deinze's Museum aan de Leie, near Ghent, to admire and enjoy this exceptional exhibition dedicated to artist Jozef Cantré, expressionistic wood engraver and sculpturer. The catalogue by Peter J.H. Pauwels that accompanies this exhibition is itself a work of art - beautiful, evocative, instructive and scientifically documented.

September 20, 2017

Colm Tóibín at Passa Porta in Brussels

The International House of Literature,  Passa Porta,  located in the center of Brussels regularly organises unique encounters and invites writers of national and international renown to talk about their work. I had the great pleasure of listening to Mr Colm Tóibín  yesterday. The author read from his most recent book, House of Names, talked about his oeuvre and answered questions. I thoroughly enjoyed this interesting, fascinating evening. 
See the schedule for the coming season here:

September 14, 2017

Brussels Art Deco Birds

Alberto De Fransisco was inspired by the Art Deco birds which This is Belgium published on its Facebook page. Alberto's drawing shows his interpretation of the detail found on a fireplace in a house in Brussels built at the end of the 1920s.

September 13, 2017

A pleasure?

Only a few days left to see "What did Brussels look like 50 years ago? .... Since 1977 this Brussels publishing house 'Plaizier'  has built up an image library including vintage postcards, prints, calendars and books. Architectural gems and urban transformations are all portrayed, together with items that illustrate the resolute path pursued by the publishing couple Wijnand and Mieke Plaizier. Their love for the Belgian capital is evident from every image".  
Baudelaire, on the other hand,  unequivocally voiced his thoughts about Belgium in a rather unflattering way. More on the Baudelaire exhibition in my next post.

August 17, 2017

Rain and cobblestones

It doesn't always have to be beer and French fries. Cobblestones and rain will sometimes do too.

August 09, 2017

Too much info- too many questions?

Too many questions in one picture: who is Sammy Moore? What about the orange-reddish shoes. Why is the sidewalk broken up, once again? Does the passenger have a headache or is she bored? ...

July 18, 2017

Belgian Academy of Culture and History

I am delighted to introduce the readers of This is Belgium to a very special  and interesting lady, Mirella Marini.
Mirella is an historical consultant, researcher, author, speaker and founder of the Belgian Academy of Culture and History, she also is a blogger, organizer of events, cultural programs ...
"..... I believe history is the ideal instrument to explain the underlying cultural motives of a people or of a country. It’s important to translate this history into the ‘language of the other’, to bring history from the perspective of the outsider. When these underlying motives, or the Belgian Culture and Identity, are analysed in this way, I believe it will help people to understand Belgium and the Belgians better...".
You can get to know her better, learn about her mission and dreams here

July 07, 2017

Tour de France

Just wanted to show you not everyone is in front of the TV watching the Tour de France.

July 04, 2017

National holiday

                                              photo Els Hattink 
At the occasion of July 4, the American national holiday, I am sending best wishes to all who are celebrating whilst sharing the Belgian Tricolore and  ... a typical refreshment to mark the day. 

June 20, 2017

Cooling down

Who does not enjoy ice cream given the unusual temperatures of the last few days? It offers temporary refreshment for young and old! TiB's crew spotted these two gentlemen enjoying ice cream near the abbey of Averbode. 

May 12, 2017

Starry starry night


The Last Time That I Saw The Stars
by Jay Harold

The last time that I saw the stars
They spun at record speed
Propelled by popped prosecco
Between roses, buds and trees

The last time that I played guitar
I rocked at record speed
I heard my conscience echo
And its sound was bittersweet

The last time that I saw my crew
We crossed some party lines
With Jack and Hen and Tanqueray
Tequila, salt and lime

The last time that I caught the blues
They faded space and time
I had to run so far away
To get them off my mind

The last time that I lost myself
I knew not where to look
My friends pointed the way for me
But oh, the time it took

The last time that I lost myself
I knew where not to look
And now it’s crystal clear to me
But oh, the time it took

May 10, 2017

Europe by night

European Union headquarters
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat Brussels with the 

May 06, 2017

Let there be light

Two men hard at work finalising the renovation of a grocery store.

May 04, 2017

House of European History

The House of European History is located in the beautifully renovated Eastman Building in leafy Parc Léopold. Its exhibits will be available in all 24 official European Union languages and entrance will be free. Tailored resources will be available for schools, families and groups, offering a fascinating experience for all. More here:

May 01, 2017

The first day of May, revisited

I am kind of sorry to have to revise my original May 1 post because the photo (in its original version), in my option at least, clearly illustrated the May 1 spirit of sending out good luck wishes.
Sunday night I received a request from the person photographed to remove the picture. I promptly obliged, of course.
I did however not receive an answer to my permission request to publish this cropped version.  Let's see what happens .. according to the good old quote "Silence is Acquiescence".. no reaction equals approval.
Does this happen to you fellow bloggers?
original text:
This happy lady on a Brussels' tram last night seeemed to be in the right mood for the long May 1 weekend.
On the first day of May, a holiday (Labor Day), the tradition is  to give a bouquet of  a few Lily of the Valley  (" muguet" in French -  "meiklokje" in Dutch) to mark spring and to wish good luck to your loved ones, family and friends.  
Today, the flowers are everywhere; street vendors offer them at a not so interesting price.. only today, idem in flower shops. They are on tables in restaurants and street cafés,  in peoples hands, hats or hair or in men's lapels. 

April 29, 2017

.. a long weekend!

We celebrate Labor Day on May 1 and most people will have a day off from work.
Hope you will get plenty of R & R and enjoyment. 

April 27, 2017

South station Brussels

How I wish I'd had my camera with me because these two looked so precious and photogenic. 

April 25, 2017

Library inspired by Magritte

This is NOT Belgium but Lourmarin (Luberon, France).
Certainly Magritte would have enjoyed this library. 

April 19, 2017

"Doel: the ghost town that's a paradise for graffiti artists"

Pictures by Pol De Witte

How did a 400-year-old Belgian village now threatened with demolition become a magnet for the world's best street artists? Doel's last 25 residents explain why they're fighting for their extraordinary town 

"It's noon in a cafe in a small Belgian town. People are eating sandwiches, popping in for a chat or to read the paper. So far, so normal. But the view from the window tells a different story. The cafe overlooks a square full of boarded-up shops and homes. Graffiti covers almost every available surface, including a forlorn children's playground. In the neighbouring streets, row upon row of vacant and abandoned houses are covered in eye-poppingly colourful doodles or large murals by street artists. To add to the dystopian feel of the place, every so often a large pile of rubble shows the spot where a house once stood, and the giant smoke-billowing cooling towers of Belgium's first commercial nuclear-power station loom on one side......"

April 07, 2017

Spring, train, country

Springtime at the Countryside 
by Jay Harold*

the smoggy streets of the city struck my fancy for a week
but now it’s time
to say good-bye
and i take a train to the countryside
listening to jazz
but all i hear is drum and bass

a crooner sings of a spring day and it washes over me
i’m feeling good
the sun is high
as a train takes me to the countryside
contemplating jazz
and the poetry of place

i savour the sweet smell of the countryside; i disembark
and as i walk
through this small town
i think i’m feeling good, therefore i am
digging all that jazz
as the sun shines on my face

*Jay Harold is studying Creative Writing
at the University of Essex.

March 09, 2017

Gorgeous Brussels houses, they are everywhere

Very frequently, I (have to) stop the car, get my telephone, take a quick shot and think "wow".  Guillaume Macau street near the Ixelles/Elsene ponds. 

More about these jewels: