BRUSSELS BELGIUM EUROPE
JUNE 1-14 2012 ISSUE 19 â‚Ź4.95
Expats, have your say Why you should register for the Belgian local elections CULTURE
High end, low returns: A trio of art fairs the current state of come to town Belgian fashion
Organic food: the smart choice or a great big rip-off?
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DEPOT BRUXELLES X
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Contents p24 Connections
p36 Bio food p32 Tram Experience
p54 Art fairs/BRUNEAF
Politics & Business
Lifestyle & Community
Culture & Events
9 News In Brief
29 Lifestyle In Brief
54 Art fairs The Brussels Ancient Art Fair, the Brussels Oriental Art Fair and the Brussels Non-European Art Fair come to town
14 Local elections Expat turnout at the last local elections was pretty dismal. Will this time be any different? 18 Know-how How to get around Brussels by bike 20 Belgian fashion For decades, Belgium has produced some of the world’s best fashion designers but is creativity enough to sustain the industry? 24 The Brand Belgian travel company Connections 27 Your Money Investing in gold
34 Love at First Bite Chinese tea shop owner Hélène Lacour shares her foodie favourites 36 Organic food We ask: what exactly is bio food and is it really any better for you or the planet? 40 Travel There’s more to Dunkirk than its wartime history 44 Up my Street Rue Royale in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode 46 Digital Father’s Day special 48 Behind the Scenes Amerikaans Theater
58 Brussels Film Festival Ten years of the much-loved film festival 60 14 Days The Bulletin’s cultural highlights for the fortnight ahead – in Brussels and beyond 68 Film Cinema reviews and recommendations 71 Property 76 Classifieds 80 Jobs 82 Capital Life Reggae musician Joshua Alo opens his diary for The Bulletin
Editeur Responsable /Verantwoordelijke uitgever: John Stuyck, A. Gossetlaan 30, 1702 Groot-Bijgaarden. Opinions expressed in The Bulletin are those of the authors alone. For reasons of space, street names in Brussels are given only in their French version.
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Politics & Business
NUCLEAR SHUTDOWN WILL MEAN BLACKOUTS Power cuts are likely from next year and a certainty from 2014, according to an energy ministry report warning of the dangers of the planned shutdown of Belgium’s three nuclear power plants. The three power stations are due to close in 2015 – two smaller reactors in Doel, East Flanders (pictured) and a larger one in Tihange in Wallonia. In 2014, three coal- and gas-fired plants will close, putting more pressure on the grid. Energy minister Melchior Wathelet has insisted that the 2003 law setting out the timetable for closure of the nuclear plants will remain in place.
10 POLITICS & BUSINESS
BELGIUM In Brief
National coach quits to take over at Club Brugge
Georges Leekens (pictured) has announced his decision to quit his role as Belgium coach to take over the vacant post at Club Brugge. The Jupiler Pro League runners-up have been without a manager since the departure of Cristophe Daum, and Leekens returns for his second stint in charge at the club. The Belgian football association said it was surprised at Leekens’ departure, and had been counting on him to lead a talented Belgian squad to the World Cup finals in Brazil in two years’ time. Leekens’ assistant, Marc Wilmots, has been appointed interim coach. Anderlecht coach Ariel Jacobs, who led his side to the title this year, has also quit, as has Standard Liège’s José Riga.
Colsaerts wins golf’s World Match Play Championship
Mother arrested for murder of four-year-old daughter
Schaerbeek-born Nicolas Colsaerts captured golf’s prestigious Volvo World Match Play Championship in Casares, Spain, boosting his chances of making Europe’s Ryder Cup team. The win, worth €700,000, helped him climb from 51st to 32nd in the world rankings. “I can’t feel anything at the moment,” he said. “To have my name next to so many major winners is a dream come true.” It lifted Colsaerts into 10th place in the Ryder Cup points table, the last automatic spot for the European team to face the US in September. It would be Colsaert’s first Ryder Cup appearance and would cap a season in which he has grabbed seven top-10 finishes in 11 events — the most of any player so far.
“My hands are clean! This kind of fundamentalist attitude, connected to a certain perception of religion and women, profoundly troubles me”
A woman in Châtelineau, near Charleroi, has been arrested for the murder of her four-year-old daughter. Juliana Santana Duran has admitted strangling daughter Diana, cutting her up and putting the pieces in plastic bags, which were then placed in the freezer. The remains were found in the house three days after Diana was reported missing.
Six in court over fatal exorcism of Muslim woman The trial has opened in Brussels of six people charged in connection with the 2004 murder of a 23-year-old Muslim woman in a deadly act of exorcism. The woman, Latifa Hachmi, was reportedly deceived into believing that she could not have children because she was possessed and that she had to be exorcised. The detainees – two selfappointed exorcists, the victim’s husband and three female members of a radical Muslim group – are standing trial for three weeks and facing charges of torture leading to death. If convicted, they face up to 30 years in prison.
Strauss-Kahn faces gang rape probe after Belgian woman complain An alleged gang rape involving Dominique StraussKahn is now being formally investigated by French prosecutors following claims that a Belgian prostitute was attacked by the former International Monetary Fund chief in a Washington DC hotel room. Described by three judges as a possible ‘gang rape’, it is expected to form vital evidence in the case against an alleged prostitution ring working out of the Carlton Hotel in Lille involving Strauss-Kahn, 63. The alleged crime, said to have taken place at the W Hotel in Washington in December 2010, involved highly paid young women flown to the US to take part in ‘sex parties’. Referring to Strauss-Kahn, the 25-year-old Belgian prostitute identified only as Marie-Anne S said: “He used force. He was holding my hand, he pulled my hair, he hurt me.”
Deputy prime minister Laurette Onkelinx after an Israeli Orthodox minister refused to shake hands with her
Average amount of salt consumed by Belgians each day, twice the recommended daily dosage
Tonnes of waste treated annually by the incinerator plant in the Brussels commune of Neder-Over-Heembeek
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Billions needed in cuts as recovery slows Billions of euros will have to be cut from Belgium’s budget over the next three years to meet EU targets, the Federal Planning Bureau has warned. The bureau, which makes official economic and borrowing forecasts, said €11 billion would be needed in the coming years, of which nearly €3 billion next year. “Without additional measures, the public deficit will be 2.8 percent of GDP in 2013,” it said. “However, Belgium has pledged to limit its deficit to 2.15 percent in 2013 and to balance the budget by 2015.” The warning came as the European Commission said Belgium’s economic recovery had ground to a halt owing to the slowdown in the global recovery and a revival of the eurozone debt crisis. Gross domestic product is set to stagnate in 2012 and grow a modest 1.2 percent in 2013, according to the latest forecast.
60% in Belgium will have foreign origins by 2060 By 2060, three in five people in Belgium will have at least one parent who was born abroad, up from one in four now, according to think tank Itinera. “Belgium has become a real migration country, and the government should adapt its policies accordingly,” it says. Itinera adds that currently 10 percent of Belgian residents have a foreign passport, 7.5 percent are Belgians of foreign descent and 7.5 percent are second- or third-generation immigrants.
Business Change wage index system, says OECD Belgium’s automatic wage indexation is hurting competitiveness and should be adapted, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. With rising inflation and a higher cost of living, Belgium’s current high wages are threatening the recovery, it said.
House prices may fall by 15% Property prices could fall by up to 15 percent from 2014, according to ING, which warns that it could be accompanied by a rise in mortgage rates and registration fees. The rise comes as consumers avoid risking capital on the stock exchange or low-interest savings accounts.
Go-ahead for Heysel plateau plan The planned NEO project to overhaul the Heysel plateau has been agreed by the Brussels city authorities. The project to repurpose the 67-hectare site involves a conference centre and a shopping centre. Percentage of Belgian men who are overweight
That sinking feeling
Belgian politicians have been following events in France very closely. But what about closer to home, wonders Kristof Dams
here’s not been too much news coming from the Belgian government lately. The most popular diversion in the country, at least south of the language border, was the French presidential elections. Béatrice Delvaux, editor-in-chief of Belgian French-language daily Le Soir, admitted she forgot for a while which country she was living in. “It’s like we all went Reynders went through two electoral rounds in the past month on to attack ourselves,” she wrote. Some politicians seemed to feel the same fellow liberal way. Foreign minister Didier Reynders started and former a small row after spotting prime minister Elio PM Guy Di Rupo in the front row at a François Hollande Verhofstadt for political rally in Lille. The PM should always be speaking too non-partisan, he declared. Too much French kindly of the TV must have gone to his head: the president of new French the Fifth Republic is supposed to stand above parties (at least symbolically), but nothing in president the Belgian political tradition forces the PM to take on such a role. This is somebody else’s job (and quite a busy one in recent years): the king’s. Reynders next went on to attack fellow liberal and former PM Guy Verhofstadt for speaking too kindly of the new French president. By all means, let’s have it out over the French. But meanwhile, what about Belgian public affairs? Things are still critical. The government is pressing ahead, point by point, with its thankless task. Austerity measures have been decided on, pensions and unemployment have been reformed. A plan against fiscal fraud is on the table. And a few big ones are coming up this year: nuclear energy, the railways, CEO salaries… They are doing the job they set out to do. With nobody’s blessings, and with a sinking feeling, induced by the monetary chaos and those damned polls telling them that all their efforts are in vain, and that nothing will stop the rise of Bart De Wever’s Flemish-nationalist N-VA party. The scenario for the next two years looks written. First, at the municipal elections in October, De Wever will brush aside the coalition formed against him and have Antwerp as a starter. An absolute majority in his hometown is within reach. Next: at the 2014 regional elections, he will seize power in Flanders. Third: at the federal elections of the same year he will finally render a new Belgian government quite impossible. Where to go from there, nobody knows. But instead of picking on Di Rupo, ReyKristof Dams is nders might soon find himself having it out a Ghent-based with the French president directly, as a member journalist and of the French Assemblée Nationale for Liège. historian
Number of people employed, directly or indirectly, by the atomic energy sector in Belgium
Highest price paid for a villa last year in Uccle, Brussels’ most expensive commune for property
18 POLITICS & BUSINESS
Biking in Brussels
s it feasible to become a cyclist in Brussels, a city whose traffic seems, staying true to the local spirit, rather surrealistic? Well, yes: you can, and many locals do, use bikes to commute to work, to run errands across Brussels or even travel across cities, despite the occasional hurdles. Biking is not only cheap, it’s also an incredibly flexible way to move around the occasionally mazelike streets. It’s also good for you, and a truly sustainable means of transport.
Where to buy There are great affordable options for those who have just started out or who are on a budget. Decathlon has a wide selection for all purposes – be it for the city, for long-distance travelling or for tougher terrains – and Carrefour carries its own brand in the chain’s hypermarkets. There’s also no shortage of bike shops for seasoned cyclists ready to make a more significant investment, though equipment can be costly in Brussels. Ciclissimo is a bike store in the Montgomery area
that has been around for 25 years, and it also offers bike fittings. VéloSofiets offers second-hand and recycled bikes, though you should be wary of buying secondhand in Brussels, for reasons that will be detailed later. www.decathlon.be www.ciclissimo.be www.velosofiets.be
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No strings attached If buying a bike seems like too serious a commitment, there are several options for rentals, whether for a quick hop or trying out cycling for a month. The most prominent option is Villo!, a short-term rental option that allows you to hire bikes from stations scattered across the city. Charges are higher if a bike is taken out for more than half an hour, so the service is more appropriate for quick errands – getting from A to B, rather than two-wheeled day trips. Longer-term options are offered by organisations like ProVelo, who run the Brussels Cyclists’ House on Rue de Londres, and Cyclo. Together they operate a service called Point Vélo/Fietspunt, a social initiative that promotes cycling and public transport. There are threePoint Vélo/ Fietspunt points at North, Midi, Central and Luxembourg stations. As well as renting, you can also park your bike safely at these locations, and get it repaired. www.cyclo.be www.provelo.be
Warming up There are plenty of resources to assist you in becoming a fully fledged cyclist. Once a month, cycling organisation Gracq offers Vélo-Trafic, a three-hour biking session that provides beginners with the essentials on traffic rules and safety tips, with practical exercises. BikeExperience is a yearly event that gives drivers the opportunity to try biking for two weeks. And Brussels Mobilité publishes a cycling map of Brussels, which can be bought at locations listed on their website www.gracq.be www.bikeexperience.be www.bruxellesmobilite.irisnet.be
Security is key The importance of protecting your bike against theft in Brussels cannot be emphasised enough, and investing in a sturdy lock is an absolute necessity. U and O-shaped locks are reliable and easy to carry around; chains and wires are breakable in seconds. When your bike is not in use, it should be locked to a fixed object, regardless of how long it is to be left unsupervised. In Brussels, this goes even when keeping bikes indoors, whether behind the front door or in a garage. Thieves are known to sneak into homes when the front door is left unlocked, and they will also break into office garages. In the Brussels region, it is possible to have your bike engraved with your national identification number. This service is performed free on designated dates at police stations and communes, as well as at ProVelo stations.
Cut your losses If, due to distraction or bad luck, your bike still ends up being stolen, there are a few options. One is to file a complaint at your local police station or online. Even if your bike can’t be found, reporting helps to improve the accuracy of local statistics on bike theft, which is significantly underreported. It helps to keep an eye on local second-hand shops, the Sunday market at Midi station, local classified ads and websites such as eBay, as your bike may just turn up there.
Get on your bike Drivers in Brussels are known to be rather laissez-faire when it comes to following traffic laws, and cyclists are no different. To stay safe, and out of respect for pedestrians and the vehicles you share the road with, it’s best to follow the rules. Cyclists are required to follow the same rules as cars – giving priority to pedestrians and vehicles entering from the right, and following street signs. Bikes have the added flexibility of being allowed to ride in both directions on most streets. Do not compromise on your safety, no matter how angrily you get honked at to hurry along. The most frequent cause of accidents is the doors of parked cars being opened in the path of unsuspecting cyclists. For that reason, bikes are allowed to travel about 80cm away from parked cars to the right. There are also indispensable accessories to protect you on the road. They may not be the most glamorous accessory, but helmets are essential; wearing them is a better alternative to a head injury. Another necessity is a bell, critical in drawing attention to yourself, especially to distracted pedestrians.
Make yourself seen
As a cyclist, it is important not only to see but to be seen. In Brussels, bikes must be equipped with a white light at the front, a red light at the back and yellow or orange reflectors on the wheels and pedals. It is mandatory to keep your lights on at night. Many cyclists also use reflective vests to improve their visibility.
Expanding your options For those with a longer commute, combining cycling and public transport may be a good option. Most metro stations have units where bikes can be secured, and in theory bikes can be taken on metros and trams, except during rush hour. As most stations underground are exclusively accessible through stairs and escalators, however, this may only be feasible for those with foldable bikes, or particularly strong upper bodies. If your commute goes beyond the Brussels region, or if you wish to take your bike along for a trip somewhere in Belgium, it is possible to take bikes in trains. A bike ticket can be bought at stations for about €5 for a single and €8 for a return.
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Lifestyle & Community
GOD BLESS YOU, MA’AM Those lacking Anglophile tendencies may find the coming months rather trying. Before the Olympic circus rolls into London in July, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 60 years on the throne with her Diamond Jubilee. Although Her Majesty was actually crowned on June 2, 1953, her father, King George VI, died in February 1952, which is why 2012 has been declared a Jubilee Year, with the public holiday weekend in the first week of June providing a focal point for some of the highlights. The British Embassy in Brussels is holding a series of Jubilee events between June 1 and 6, including an invitation-only reception on board HMS Edinburgh in Antwerp and a special event at Châlet Robinson in Brussels. If you want to get involved, Sir Simon Rattle will be holding a concert at Bozar on Wednesday, June 6 (see page 60), or you could channel the spirit of the 1953 coronation street parties by holding a Big Lunch with friends and neighbours on Sunday, June 3. www.biglunch.com
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LOVE AT FIRST BITE The inside scoop on foodie favourites Hélène Lacour
élène Lacour is the founder of CHÁ MAN, a tea shop and cultural space at 49AParvis de Saint-Gilles, where she sells a selection of natural tea leaves from the six families of tea. It’s a unique selection, put together by her with her partner during their five years in China, where Lacour worked as a translator. CHÁ MAN sells quality loose-leaf teas as well as some other Chinese products, which you can taste in their colourful and welcoming shop. Tea, for Lacour, is all about diverse natural flavours and a healthy lifestyle. www.cha-man.com
White tea (bai cha), is without a doubt my favourite drink. I couldn’t live without it! We advertise it a lot in CHÁ MAN, and offer no fewer than six types: ‘white silver head’ (bai hao yinzhen), the most refined one, is made of buds that are available only two days out of the year and is full of antioxidants. I generally like to drink it towards the end of the morning when I can best appreciate its delicacy. Then there are three types of ‘white peony’ (bai mudan), a mixture of buds and leaves in different proportions. I drink this type of tea as soon as I wake up for its invigorating aromatic properties. And, finally, there’s ‘long-life eyebrows’ (shou mei), composed of long leaves only, which is pleasant and smooth at any time of day.
“My favourite tea is made from buds that are available only two days out of the whole year”
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The very rock’n’roll LiBrE AiR, in front of CHÁ MAN, is known for its live gigs, often wild atmosphere and good selection of rum. It’s easy for me to pop in there after work for some fun. There’s always an eclectic mix of people from all over, but it’s a place where everyone is equal.
Le Vieux Mila, a Cameroonian restaurant not far from CHÁ MAN, is the first place I go to get in a whole new mindset, it’s almost like travelling to another country. They have excellent food at reasonable prices. The owner’s name is Parfait, which is the perfect name to represent the level of culinary performance accomplished by his family team. They specialise in things like fried bananas, n’dolé chicken, grilled goat meat, prawns, a variety of fish and world wines.
Ginger! I use it a lot in my cooking, but just the fresh roots, not the powder. It also helps me keep healthy in the winter when I add it to tea with a spoonful of honey. Ginger also gives a nice flavour boost to my homemade green iced tea, which we serve at CHÁ MAN. It’s well-known for its health benefits and energising powers.
We say: LiBrE AiR is hip all on its own, but even more so with a stage that’s fully booked almost every night with the best rock, pop and alternative bands from across Brussels and beyond. Search for LiBrE Air on the Zone02 website for the long list of upcoming shows: www.zone02.be LIBRE AIR 26A Parvis de Saint-Gilles 1060 Brussels Tel 0479.09.11.65
We say: Reviews of Le Vieux Mila all agree on one thing – come with a big appetite, for the portions are generous and the food delicious. Discover some exciting new spicy flavour combinations and soak up the warm atmosphere from a spot on the lively terrace LE VIEUX MILA 28 Rue de Moscou 1060 Brussels Tel 02.850.28.14 Tue-Sun, 12.00-23.30
I usually buy food (and ginger root, of course) early on Sunday mornings at the Parvis de Saint-Gilles market. Before I even open CHÁ MAN, I sell tea leaves there, just in front of the shop. This market is famous and crowded, offering lots of goods and pesticide-free products. It conveniently runs until 14.00, so people can get their needed lie-in and still make it on time to buy some groceries. We say: The Parvis de Saint-Gilles market is an impressive three blocks long and has everything you can imagine, from farm produce and ingredients from around the world to clothing and bargain furniture. For more information on markets in Brussels, visit this handy blog: brusselsmarkets. blogspot.com
Serves 4 people • 1 whole duck • 100ml olive oil • 1tbsp salted butter • 100ml vegetable stock • 1kg carrots, peeled and chopped • 450g honey • A bunch of fresh mint • 400g tinned artichoke hearts, drained • 2 garlic cloves, chopped • Salt and pepper • 125ml red wine
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the duck in the sink and pour two kettles of boiling water over it. Remove any stray feathers and pat dry. Place the duck on a trivet over a roasting pan, season with salt and pepper and rub with two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the artichoke hearts to the roasting tray and cook in the oven, with the duck, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, parboil the carrots until soft. Drain and stir in the butter, two tablespoons of honey and finely chopped mint. Make a glaze with the remaining olive oil and honey, remove the duck from the oven after 30 minutes and baste with the mixture. Turn the oven down to 160°C and cook for another 30 minutes. Then lift the duck from roasting tray and keep warm. Remove the trivet and pour away the fat, place the tray on the hob over medium heat and add in the wine. Reduce by half and pour in the stock. Reduce again until you get a rich gravy, then strain. Serve with the minty carrots and rice
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Up my Street
Botanique, éclectique Writer Geert Kliphuis is fond of the diversity in his Rue Royale neighbourhood, in Saint-Josse, Brussels’ smallest and poorest commune by katrien lindemans photos by sander de wilde
riginally from Amsterdam, 57-year-old Geert Kliphuis came to Brussels in 1974. Three years ago, he moved from WatermaelBoitsfort to Saint-Josse. “I felt at home in Watermael, but once I get too comfortable, it’s time to move on,” he says. “Saint-Josse has more than 150 nationalities. And even though after all these years, this city is where I consider myself to be a local, I often feel a bit like an expat in my area. It’s an interesting feeling.” Geert shares his apartment with his son and spends most of his days behind his computer, writing. He has just finished his latest novel, Mirror City (published by Alhambra), about an imaginary Madrid. “If I weren’t living in Brussels, I would probably live in Madrid, my favourite city.” In Saint-Josse, Geert lives in a building with lots of Polish families. “They help me out whenever I need some plumbing or electricity works done, and I teach their children more about the Dutch language,” Geert explains. “These kids are so keen on learning new things; they really want to be a part of this city. For example, they know all about the Belgian football league.” The immigrant families in the area work hard to make ends meet, and for Geert, this explains why there isn’t much nightlife in the area. “All the bars close at around 23.00, because people need to get up early the next day to take their children to school and get to work.” For a drink, Geert grabs a seat at Le Capitain (9 Chaussée de Haecht) or at Café Bota at Le Botanique (236 Rue Royale), the cultural centre for the French-speaking community in Belgium. “I spend hours in the botanical gardens or inside the bar, reading a book. The staff are a mix which reflect the area’s cultural diversity. I often go to their concerts and exhibitions as well; they have a great agenda every month.” From one of the benches in the garden, you get a very varied view. “It’s such a beautiful park, but you’re surrounded by these ugly buildings. You could be looking at a palm tree, and the next thing you see is one of those horrible tall office buildings.”
The area around the botanical gardens, Le Botanique and busy Chaussée de Haecht is often referred to as Little Istanbul. Many of the shops, snack joints and driving schools have Turkish names, although Geert has noticed a difference compared to a couple of years ago. “Some of the Turkish shops are now being taken over by Bulgarian families, a new big group of immigrants in the area.” Inspired by his many Turkish neighbours, Geert tried to learn the language. “It’s very difficult though, and Turkish people talk so fast,” he says. “I often have long conversations with Mr Bey from the bookshop Le Petit Botanique (16 Chausseé de Haecht). We don’t speak French, but talk in Spanish about nearly everything. I find the Turkish community incredibly open-minded.” Another shop with a friendly Turkish owner is photography studio Akpinkar (169 Rue Royale). “The owner really takes his time to take your picture, and while waiting you can look at his incredible collection of old cameras as well as the framed pictures of his ancestors with stunning curly moustaches.”
otanique may not be an area with trendy boutiques or popular bars, but a couple of years ago Hotel Bloom opened at 250 Rue Royale. With its fancy restaurants and bar, it’s definitely brought a new vibe to the neighbourhood. For a more authentic view, have a peek at Art Deco swimming pool Saint-François (27 Rue Saint-François). The pool is closed for renovation but is one of the prettiest in Brussels. “Or visit the many local food shops,” Geert suggests. “You’ll see the oranges piled up, you’ll hear the many different languages, but you’ll unfortunately also notice how careful people are over here when it comes to spending money. Saint-Josse may be the smallest, most diverse and most densely populated commune, but it’s also the poorest in the city.”
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION HOUSES
Large houses along Rue Royale and Chaussée de Haecht, smaller ones on the side streets. Most houses are divided into several apartments. Buying property will cost around €2,000 per square metre, renting a two-bedroom apartment starts at around €650 TRANSPORT
Get off at Botanique on metro line 2 and 6, tramlines 92 and 94 or one of the many De Lijn buses connecting Zaventem and Leuven to Brussels MEET THE NEIGHBOURS
The area is home to 153 different nationalities, with very large Turkish, Moroccan and Polish communities
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4 IN & AROUND
Photography studio with a fascinating collection of old cameras 169 Rue Royale
A stylish recent addition to the neighbourhood with restaurant and bar 250 Rue Royale
Busy street at the heart of the quarter, full of snack bars and small food stores
Friendly local tavern a short walk from Le Botanique 9 Chaussée de Haecht
CHAUSSÉE DE HAECHT
Rue Royale 1.
Rue Roy ale
Geert says : “The area is so diverse, in every possible meaning of the word. Yet somehow it’s a very stable neighbourhood as well, with a lot of tolerance and solidarity among its inhabitants. It’s exotic and a bit messy, which makes it a charming commune that everybody seems to love.”
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53 THE BULLETIN
Culture & Events
FOR 20 YEARS, Brussels’ EuroFeria Andaluza has stuck rigidly – and passionately – to a triumvirate of non-negotiable values easily remembered as the Three Fs: folklore, food and fiesta. Over three days, around 200,000 visitors are expected at the foot of the Atomium, where they will visit the many casetas (marquees) spread around five large patios (called Andalucía, España, Atomium, Bruselas and Infierno), offering artistic performances, culinary delicacies, arts and crafts and activities for children. Along with the flamenco dancers and singers, the stars of the show are the magnificent Spanish thoroughbred horses. Their grace, like the range of entertainment on offer, is truly baffling. This constitutes an essential component of EuroFeria’s enduring popularity: it caters to all ages. But then again, you wouldn’t expect anything less from the biggest European feria outside Spain. From June 1 to 3. www.euroferia.net
58 CULTURE & EVENTS
Focus - Brussels Film Festival
Long live cinema The Brussels Film Festival marks its 10th anniversary with a retrospective of work by Peter Greenaway by ian mundell
eter Greenaway has been proclaiming the turn cinema into an autonomous, self-respecting art death of cinema for more than a decade now, form, Greenaway argues that four tyrannies must be so he seems an odd choice to preside over a overthrown. The first is the tyranny of the frame, the film festival jury. But his presence in this fixed rectangular shape that has nothing to do with capacity at the Brussels Film Festival means we get a how we see the world. The second tyranny is writchance to hear his views at first hand, and ing. “Every film you’ve ever seen started also to revisit some of the films that made ESSENTIAL INFO life as text,” Greenaway says. “We have a the British director one of the biggest names June 8 to 16 at text-based cinema, we don’t have an imagein European art cinema during the 1980s. Flagey; some based cinema.” Greenaway’s masterclass, called Cinema screenings at Bozar is Dead, Long Live Cinema, takes place on Outdoor screenings he third tyranny is the performer, at Place SainteJune 15. When he has spoken under this Croix the actors and actresses who have banner in the past, he has argued that cin- www.brff.be become a dangerous obsession ema has failed to live up to its artistic ambi- Tickets: Pass €25 for for the cinema and yet whose tions and, after little more than a century, five films; €7.50 for potential is rarely exploited to the full by one film (from has reached a dead end. “It has basically Flagey) film makers. Finally, there is the tyranny used up all the tropes and paradigms, and TENTH ANNIVERSARY of the camera. “The camera is a very stupid has created a whole series of genres with Party at Flagey on instrument, however bright the camera opwhich we have become excessively famil- June 9. US band erator,” Greenaway says, contrasting it with will play, iar,” he told an American audience in 2010. Chromatics the more interpretive way of recording the plus DJ sets from This is not a recent death. “I think the ex-Libertine Carl world practised by painters such as Picasso. last really true cinema was made by the Barât and Saul In recent years Greenaway has been doGermans in the mid-1970s,” he explains, Williams ing his best to overthrow these tyrannies name-checking directors such as Werner Herzog, with his own work. This has made his conventional Rainer Werner Fassbinder and French exile Jean- filmography rather sparse, since work with alternative Marie Straub. “For me these would be the last people screens is better suited to galleries than the cinema, who actually practise some notion of what celluloid and sprawling, form-busting projects such as The Tulse cinema was all about.” In order to move forward and Luper Suitcases make more sense online or on DVD.
Competition line-up All of the tyrannies Greenaway wants to overthrow are firmly in place for the 12 films his jury will see as part of the film festival competition, although several push the limits of conventional cinema. Among the most provocative is Clip, from firsttime director Maja Miloš. It concerns a teenage Serbian girl who pursues an unresponsive older boy from her school, filming her every move on her mobile phone, capturing raw images of the abusive relationship into which she is falling. Another female director exploring a sexually charged theme is Angelina Nikonova, whose Twilight Portrait follows a Russian woman’s journey into the underworld after she witnesses a rape and then becomes a victim of rape herself.
For a less traumatic time, choose Voice of My Father by Orhan Eskiköy and Zeynel Dogan. Poised somewhere between fiction and documentary, the film shows a young Kurdish man trying to recall his father at the moment he is about to become a father himself. It’s also worth seeking out Faouzi Bensaïdi’s Death for Sale, a rambling but intriguing tale of three friends on the fringes of Morocco’s criminal underworld. Part film noir, part romance, the film makes particularly good use of the landscape around the city of Tetouan.
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J UNE 1 - 14 2012
British director Peter Greenaway, who will be presiding over the jury at the Brussels Film Festival
However, he has had huge success exploring iconic works of art by projecting images on to them (or on to carefully constructed replicas). This began with Rembrandt’s The Night Watch in Amsterdam and has gone on to include Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Veronese’s The Wedding at Cana, with six other paintings waiting in the wings. Greenaway’s last mainstream feature, Nightwatching, was a spin-off of the Rembrandt project. The festival’s retrospective sensibly sticks to the more conventional feature films that brought
Greenaway to the public eye, beginning with The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982) and continuing with A Zed and Two Noughts (1986), the excellent Drowning by Numbers (1988) and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989). It concludes with Prospero’s Books (1991), in which Greenaway explores the possibilities of using computers to compose and manipulate images.
Festival highlights Woody Allen
There are two chances to see Woody Allen on screen, first as a character in his own film To Rome with Love, then as himself in French rom-com Paris Manhattan, in which a lovelorn Parisian pharmacist has imaginary conversations with the great New York wit.
New this year is a programme of pop and rock documentaries, ranging from Shut Up and Play the Hits, about LCD Soundsystem’s farewell concert, to The Libertines: There are No Innocent Bystanders. The band’s guitarist, Carl Barât, is expected to attend. Meanwhile for a local connection, there’s a film about Marc A Huyghens’ trio Joy.
Open-air cinema There are only four open-air screenings this year. Two are film concerts: Parisian trio NLF3 and experimental guitarist Erik Minkkinen provide a soundtrack to Paul Wegener’s silent film Golem, while NeirdA and Z3ro accompany an episode of cult TV series The Prisoner. The others are Belgian movies Les Géants and Hasta la vista.
Winterbottom and Davies Sneak previews at the festival include Trishna, Michael Winterbottom’s Indian take on Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, based on a play by Terence Rattigan. Both are expected to attend.
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CAPITAL LIFE Your city, your agenda Joshua Alo, 31, is a Hawaiian reggae singersongwriter Did you always know reggae was your style of music? I’ve always wanted to play reggae. Many people in Hawaii love reggae music and it is dominant on the airwaves. The reggae groups in Hawaii have some of the strongest vibes. The only problem is that we are geographically isolated, so it is harder for them to be discovered.
Most people associate Hawaii with the ukulele or surf music. Have you ever felt compelled to use either in your music? I have felt compelled to use my ukulele on stage in Europe to introduce more of my culture. But even then, some people don’t know what a ukulele is and think it’s just a small guitar with a higherpitched sound. But the ukulele is my first instrument and I have a sentimental attachment to its sound. It can sweeten up reggae music so nicely.
What are your impressions of Brussels after four years? I appreciate the cultural diversity. I love the fact that speaking different languages is heavily promoted, however unpopular it may be to some. The weather is horrible but we can’t have everything. I remind myself that even though we can’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. We must shine the light from within. You can watch Joshua performing live at this year’s Couleur Café festival on July 1. www.couleurcafe.be
My diary SATURDAY JUNE
Museum of Musical Instruments
We are so fortunate in Brussels to have access to this corner of nature. I intend to have a walk with my daughter – weather permitting, of course www.soignes-zonien.net
ASSEMBLÉE DE DIEU
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS MUSEUM
If I am in town, Sunday is synonymous with church services for my family and me. This is the one we usually attend, in Tubize 147 Rue des Forges, Tubize www.moneglise.be
FORÊT DE SOIGNES
I will have a walk with my family in this in Woluwe park. There’s a great playground for children Square Meudon www.ecli.net/rbc
It’s about time I had a look at this museum; everyone keeps telling me I have to go – and that I must have a drink at the rooftop café! 2 Montagne de la Cour www.mim.be
L’HORLOGE DU SUD
I’m meeting my friends to eat grilled fish in this restaurant near Midi station 94 Avenue de Stalingrad
The presenters of this show on Radio Kif, Clarisse Lula and Selecta Supa, will be interviewing me at 20.00 97.8FM, www.radiokif.com
This culture-oriented cafe-restaurant has African specialities and there is a really good vibe 141 Rue du Trône, www.horlogedusud.be
LE MONDE EST UN VILLAGE REGGAE
The host of this Belgian radio show, Cédric-Jean, plays excellent roots reggae every Friday 96.1 FM, www.rtbf.be/lapremiere
Joshua will be featured on TV Brussel’s Brussels International programme on June 3. Tune in at 18.15, catch it every 30 minutes after 19.30 or watch it online at www.tvbrussel.be