BRUSSELS BELGIUM EUROPE
SEPT 8-21 2011 ISSUE 1 €4.95
At home with would-be prime minister Elio Di Rupo 9/11, ten years on. Belgian victim’s parents remember
Neville Marriner at the Klara Festival
Tasty tips from Goûter Bruxelles founder
Brussels goes Design DEPOT BRUXELLES X
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ou’ve got a voice,” said Monique Ackroyd in The Bulletin’s first issue in September 1962. This is still true in 2011 as The Bulletin enters its fiftieth year. What was valid then when the international community numbered some 5,000 people and the Common Market rented a suite of offices in the centre of Brussels is even more valid today. There are over 250,000 foreign residents in Belgium who use English as a first or second language and we want, more than ever, to be their voice. This issue of the magazine marks the beginning of a new format, full of news and views, of politics and culture, of lifestyle and leisure. We will publish every fortnight to help you better understand the country you are living in, its people, its habits. We’ll talk to those who make this place tick, who carry the flag in the worlds of business, fashion, design and arts, who contribute to your well-being. We’ll listen to you, to your concerns about the environment and security, about health and mobility. We’ll strengthen the links with the international community by assisting clubs and associations in attracting new members and event participants. Every other week we’ll bring you information on what’s happening in Brussels, Belgium and Europe in our new politics and business section. You’ll hear insightful opinions on news developments from our columnists and read analysis in our focus pages on social and economic issues affecting all our readers. The culture and events pages will feature the best of Brussels’ arts and culture scene with a preview of art exhibitions, concerts, opera, theatre, dance and festivals in the city and across Belgium. And the lifestyle and community section will shine a light on the most interesting shops, restaurants, bars and hip spots opening in Brussels and around the country. An interview at home with Elio Di Rupo, the tireless broker of this country’s political situation, heads this first issue. Also, conductor Neville Marriner, performing at the Klara Festival in Brussels, shares his thoughts with Joel Blocker while Veerle Devos offers an insider’s guide to the capital’s Design September. All of this of course would not be possible without the support of our parent company Corelio and the work of the whole Bulletin team. We’ve been mulling these changes for the last few months, hoping to bring you the best. Our website xpats.com has also been re-launched together with thebulletin.be, offering new features, more interactivity and additional services. It will also seek to strengthen its leadership on the local market by providing immediate access in English to the latest local news and events. We at The Bulletin are proud to be part of the international community. We hope to reflect its diversity, its interest in this country and its desire to contribute to the future.
There are over 250,000 foreign residents in Belgium who use English as a first or second language and we want, more than ever, to be their voice John Stuyck Publisher
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Contents p58 - Design September
p18 - 9/11, ten years on
p42 - Alina Szapocznikow
Politics & Business
Culture & Events
Lifestyle & Community
29 Events In Brief
51 Lifestyle In Brief
30 14 Days The Bulletin’s cultural highlights for the fortnight ahead – in Brussels and beyond
56 Food - Love at First Bite Goûter Bruxelles founder Malika Hamza gives us the inside scoop on her foodie favourites
News In Brief
12 Portrait – Elio Di Rupo In the throes of negotiating a new government for Belgium, Elio Di Rupo took time out from his busy schedule to talk to Leo Cendrowicz about life in the political hot seat – and Mons 18 Focus – 9/11, ten years on The parents of the only Belgian victim in the terrorist attacks on New York on September 11, 2001 remember their lost son 21 Know-How Our guide to public transport in Brussels 22 Your Money 24 The Brand – Ice Watch How a Walloon entrepreneur hit the big time with some very cool watches 27 Digital What’s new in the virtual world
35 Reader offers 38 Interview - Neville Marriner Ahead of his appearance at Klara Festival, the distinguished British conductor Neville Marriner talks to Joel Blocker about Mozart and requiems
42 Exhibition - Alina who?
At Wiels, a show dedicated to the astonishing work of the late Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow opens soon. Sarah McFadden looks at her life and legacy 46 Film Reviews of the latest films to hit the big screen, plus cinema highlights not to miss 49 TV Essential viewing on the small screen
58 Focus - Design September Brussels’ month-long design extravaganza has begun. We meet six of the top talents to look out for 64 Up My Street TV presenter Tomas Teetaert takes us on a tour of Rue du Page 66 Travel The Bulletin pops into Poperinge, home of the Hops Festival 68 Behind the Scenes 72 Community 75 Property 82 Jobs 85 Classifieds 90 Capital Life A member of the international community opens up their 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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SEPTEMBER 8-21 2011
Politics & Business
The big picture BORLÉE’S BRONZE Kevin Borlée (left), celebrating here with his twin brother Jonathan, secured Belgium’s only medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea: a bronze in the 400m. Kevin – the current European champion – finished behind Grenada’s Kirani James and the American defending champion LaShawn Merritt, to become the first European runner to make the top three over one lap of the track at the World Championships since France’s Marc Raquil’s silver medal eight years ago. Into the bargain, brother Jonathan came home fifth. The two were both in action again a few days later as part of Belgium’s 400 relay team, but they trailed in fifth behind the US, South Africa, Jamaica and Russia. Nonetheless, Kevin’s bronze represented a rare success for Belgium: the country has only ever won four medals, all bronze, at the World Championships. The brothers will next hit the track at Brussels’ Memorial Van Damme games on September 16.
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BRUSSELS In Brief
Bike events open
Do you want to discover Brussels in a different way? If so, you’re invited to join cyclists this Sunday (September 11) during the city’s first-ever ‘Cyclovia’. A route of 10km through Brussels will be reserved exclusively for use by cyclists, joggers and skaters from 11.00 to 16.00. Organised by Brussels Region and Ville de Bruxelles, streets from the canal area to Cinquantenaire Park, via Rue de la Loi, will be partially closed and open only to non-car users. Bruno De Lille, Brussels state secretary for mobility, said, “We want to emphasise to both visitors and local residents that, whether by foot or bicycle, moving about Brussels really can be pleasant.” More info from Jelle Boone on 04188.8.131.52 or www. brunodelille.be. Meanwhile, the Villo bicycle scheme is participating in the ‘20 million km campaign’ which aims to encourage people to swap their car for a bike. The overall target is for all participants to ride or walk a total of 20m kilometres in four months. To join the campaign, you first need to create an account, either on Facebook or via email. www.20millionskm.be
The lighter side
Church to sell fruit and veg?
Plans have been revealed to possibly turn the city’s Saint Catherine’s church (below) into a market hall for fruit and vegetables. The move comes after a separate proposal to convert two thirds of the church into a residential tower block were rejected. The church, which is located on Place SainteCatherine and is best-known for its fish market, has suffered from falling attendances for several years and was saved from demolition in 1982. Emir Kir, secretary of state for monuments and sites, is currently in negotiations with the church authorities over its future use. Conversion into a cultural center is also under discussion.
The future of Mini Europe, one of the city’s top tourist attractions, is under serious threat from plans to build shops and offices on the Heysel site it occupies. The proposals mean the attraction, which showcases miniature models of famous landmarks from the EU’s 27 member states, is likely to close by the summer of 2013. The move has incensed its owner Thierry Meeus who says the cost of finding an alternative site is prohibitive. “Sadly, it looks like I will have no option but to close Mini Europe, which will be a crying shame,” said Meeus, who has run the attraction since its launch in 1989 when it had models from just 12 member states. “If I had the choice I would remain here because this is the ideal site but the issue has been taken out of my hands.” The site has steadily grown in popularity and now features 300 miniatures from 80 European cities, including Brussels which, at €375,000, is its most expensive model.
Threatened with closure in 2013
Eco train rolls into town A touring environmental exhibition, called the ‘Train of Ideas’, has rolled into Brussels. The exhibition, opened by Environment Minister Evelyne Huytebroeck, presents visionary environmental projects from throughout Europe on a train which is stopping at 18 European cities. It arrived at Place SainteGudule, near Central Station, on September 7 and will remain there until next Tuesday. Visiting the exhibition is free of charge.
Lion king A Flemish village plans to replace the cockerel weather vane sitting atop its church by a lion, the symbol of Flanders. Roesbrugge-Haringe in West Flanders has decided that the cockerel sign, popular on churches since the 12th century, is too Walloon. “The lion is the king of the animal kingdom. A cockerel is only a male chicken,” said church president Paul Recour.
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SEPTEMBER 8-21 2011
EUROPE In Brief Headliners
Those were the days, my friends
The former head of German employers’ organisation BDI, Hans-Olaf Henkel, has called his support for the euro “my biggest professional mistake”. He told the Financial Times that Austria, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands should leave the eurozone and create a new currency.
EURO DEBT CRISIS
Back to business While the majority of Brussels took off to pastures greener for the month of August, those charged with sorting out the eurozone’s financial crisis were given no respite. But last week, after a summer of financial turmoil, Members of the European Parliament got back to work on the issue. Debt and deficit dominated politics in the EU, too. Christine Lagarde, new head of the International Monetary Fund, said European banks need urgent recapitalisation. Her comments did not meet with widespread approval. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet told MEPs : “There is no liquidity or collateral shortage for the European banking system.” Elsewhere, the Italian government announced major changes to its austerity package. The government plans to raise revenue by clamping down on tax evasion. In Spain, trade unions are calling for a referendum on the Spanish government’s plans to introduce deficit and debt limits in the Constitution, while in France, wealthy citizens have written to the government asking to be taxed more. The letter begins: “We, chairmen of companies and business leaders, business men and women, finance professionals or wealthy citizens, call for an exceptional levy that would target France’s richest taxpayers.” Greek banks, meanwhile, move towards consolidation with a merger between Eurobank EFG and Alpha bank.
Marvellous Merkel German Chancellor Angela Merkel has topped the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, beating Hillary Clinton and the beleaguered EU foreign representative Catherine Ashton. Forbes described Merkel as the ‘undisputed’ leader of the European Union.
Oh no Sarko! New reports have revealed that France’s unemployment rate is at the highest it has been since Nicolas Sarkozy became president and has now gone up for three months in a row. The number of jobseekers registered at employment offices at the end of July was 2.76 million.
The European Commission was once an institution that served Europe’s interests first and foremost. Today, it seems to serve only the member states. By Emily von Sydow
here is a sense of nostalgia for the good old days in Brussels. Those were the days when young Europeans, also from the old member states, dreamed of working in the institutions, and constructing a continent based on peace, justice and economic strength. Those were the days when we knew the names of all the commissioners and their heads of cabinets and when the European Commission press room was a dreaded place to enter for any one presenting a new legislative proposal on sugar reform, a free trade agreement No British with Malaysia or the new security rules tabloid would for playgrounds. The head of the Commission was called today dream Jacques Delors. He used to shave in the of spending morning listening to the BBC radio news, creative power hoping, in vain, that he’d pick up some of on a front page the pronunciation. His chef de cabinet like The Sun was Pascal Lamy and the two were the with its ‘Up most fearsome duo that the Commission Yours, Delors’ has ever had. They bullied the member countries and the little parliamentarians into subordination and whipped the internal market legislation through the system with a growl. No British tabloid would today dream of spending creative power on a front page like The Sun with its ‘Up Yours, Delors’. In fact, the Commission today is a victim of Delors’ success. When he was replaced at the end of 1994, the member states wanted not another pitbull, but a nice poodle with no bite. They got Jacques Santer from Luxembourg and then il professore Romano Prodi, from Italy, who was replaced by José Manuel Barroso in 2004. The Commission has subsequently become a service institution for the member states, and not an independent power house making sure Europe’s interests are served above those of the individual member states or special interest groups. In an excellent interview with the German website Mittelweg 36, the octogenarian Emily von Sydow Jacques Delors laments the situation tois a Brusselsday, and seems rather nostalgic for the based Swedish good old days himself. If only he hadn’t journalist, been so successful, the Commission specialising in EU would still carry its weight today. affairs.
In the swim This summer the European Union’s annual bathing water report showed that 92 percent of beaches and 90 percent of rivers and lakes meet the EU’s minimum standards for cleanliness. The top rankers for crystal clear waters are Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and Greece. Bottom of the pile are Romania, Poland and Belgium.
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SEPTEMBER 8-21 2011
The kingdom-maker Tipped a year ago to be the country’s next prime minister, the Bulletin went to meet Elio Di Rupo at home in Mons – and found a man whose optimism for the future of Belgium remains undimmed by leo cendrowicz Photos by Bart Dewaele
lio Di Rupo is looking immaculate in his slimline charcoal suit, crisp new shirt, rimless glasses, but without signature bowtie as he opens the door to his house in Mons, the Walloon city where he is mayor. He is merrily welcoming, ushering me into his cosy dining area, where a breakfast table has been laid out. “Many governments have been formed around this table,” he says, recalling times when the likes of former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt would come and visit. He pauses for a second, nostalgic for an era not so long ago when Belgian politicians could come together and hammer out a government coalition in weeks, if not days. He is currently leading a much, much, more painfully drawn out version of such a negotiation – but more of that later.
It’s still early, but Di Rupo is bounding around like a Duracell bunny, offering coffee and insisting I make myself comfortable. He has, he says, already been up for a few hours, although he is as often as not a night owl, going to bed at 3am. It is a working routine that brings to mind Winston Churchill, and prompts Di Rupo to meander into a parenthesis about his visit to the Churchill War Rooms in London. We had originally scheduled a lunch in a Mons restaurant, and Di Rupo had chosen his favourite local haunt, but duties in Brussels prompted a change in plans: as head of the francophone Socialist Party (PS), the biggest political force amongst the country’s French-speakers and the second overall, he has been intricately involved in the seemingly interminable government coalition
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it is 14 months since the Belgian elections, and the country’s squabbling political parties still appear light years away from a coalition accord. Is it possible that the eternally argumentative Flemish and French-speakers have come to the end of the line and will be unable to live together anymore? What went wrong, and how much is it due to the francophones – in particular, the PS that Di Rupo heads? And does he personally feel any shame at the deadlock? Di Rupo has had ample time to deal with such questions. “I feel a frustration that it hasn’t gone faster,” he says, before drawing a deep breath. “I understand how foreigners are perplexed, but this is not a drama.”
“For the first time in Belgian history, we have to make a government with a party that seeks a Flemish republic as a EU member state”
and state reform talks that have endured since the elections last year. In May he was named the ‘formateur’ – or prospective prime minister – of the next government. By the end of July, he had secured a breakthrough with eight parties on negotiating a broad reform package, and is currently cautiously upbeat on prospects of an eventual agreement. But the breakfast is generously laid out on his dining table, and Di Rupo seems delighted to have a change of pace before leaving for the capital for more negotiations. Even if his irrepressible enthusiasm appears to be fuelled by the coffee he dunks his croissant into: he makes himself five cups during our conversation. Our chat is dominated by an issue that could be beyond even Di Rupo’s charm and hospitality: how can he explain the political impasse that has seen Belgium break every record for a modern democracy when it comes to forming a government? By the time of writing,
ny attempt to explain Belgian politics requires context. The June 2010 federal elections made Di Rupo’s PS the leading party amongst francophones, and made the Flemish nationalist N-VA – led by charismatic bruiser Bart De Wever – the top party in Flanders. Their respective visions of Belgium and government are poles apart, yet they spent much time together over the past year seeking common ground. Indeed, although the N-VA is not taking part in the current eight-party talks, one of the reasons for the long impasse is that Di Rupo and others have vainly tried to involve the recalcitrant De Wever in negotiations. Di Rupo carefully leans his elbows on the table and weaves his fingers together in front of his chin before giving his explanation, which takes in the long-term overhaul of political institutions. “Every time Belgium has gone through institutional reforms, it has taken years and years of debate. But we were always able to put a government in place. Now, instead of trying to form a government in parallel with institutional reform, the Flemish parties want to do the institutional reform first. And for the first time in Belgian history, we have to make a government with a party that has as its primary objective – it is the first line of the party’s constitution – to seek a Flemish republic as a European Union member state,” he says. De Wever characterises the francophones as intransigent over reform, but Di Rupo says this twists the facts. “Yes, we need to remodel, renew our country,” he says. “But De Wever wants to break it. His reality is not the same as mine. I have aims that are more social and altruistic.” Di Rupo sees some bright spots nonetheless. He says Belgium’s consensual traditions and supporting institutions – strong regional governments, healthy employer/union relations – have carried the country along rather than add to the crisis. “This is all a sign of political maturity – to ensure the country still functions well and their situation is under control. Having said that, if there is a government tomorrow, I would be the happiest man in the world,” he says. While Di Rupo and De Wever have very different characters and personalities, the PS leader insists their relations are fine. “The man is intelligent, he has a good sense of history, and when we don’t talk about current politics, we can have good discussions,” he says. “But when it comes to our end results, we are completely opposed. I am for an open society, tolerant
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SEPTEMBER 8-21 2011
“We’re a very tolerant people. As long as you do your job well, people don’t bother with your private life. I have never felt it, in any case”
and multicultural, intelligent, educated, with an economic dimension. I think that communities that are closed in on themselves will face problems.” A major reproach of the Flemish, and not just the N-VA, is that the francophones are unable to pull their weight economically: Wallonia has been performing below Flanders for almost half a century, and has a reputation as a region of industrial decline, local government corruption and welfare dependency. But Di Rupo is keen to shake off what he says is a crude stereotype. For example, on corruption, he admits there have been problems, but insists the cases that came to light were overstated. “There are bad apples everywhere,” he says. “In chemistry, you can have the clearest water, aristocracy that lorded over Antwerp, Ghent and Brusbut if you put in the tiniest drop of coloring, the entire sels a century ago also exploited the Walloons. “The water is stained. It’s the same in politics.” Walloons are also angry about this – but because they What about Wallonia’s reputation for living off state spoke French, it is less potent for them than it is for subsidies? Again, Di Rupo moves swiftly to rebut what Dutch-speakers,” he says. he sees as a lazy caricature. “Just because some Flemish Will Belgium still be around in 20 years time? “Yes, say so, doesn’t mean it is the case. For 136 years, it was because the vast majority want to keep it,” he says. Wallonia that was feeding the rest of the country, from “What is happening is something that has never been 1831 to 1967. Wallonia had all the essential resolved. Part of the Flemish community BIOGRAPHY industries,” he says. was always unhappy that certain things Nor are francophones today milking Born 1951, in were never resolved.” handouts from the hardworking Flem- Morlanwelz ish, he says, pointing out that in France, o how does Di Rupo himself fit into the biggest transfers between rich Paris 1986 the Belgian equation? In a country GRADUATED AT and other departments are four times that UNIVERSITY OF where language and land history MONS-HAINAUT IN between Flanders and Wallonia. have become so fiendishly sensiCHEMISTRY But the biggest lie Di Rupo wants to nail tive, Di Rupo’s story is a reminder of the is that Wallonia is an economic basket case, 1987 influence of immigration on Belgium’s culDEPUTY OF THE MONS which ignores the changes over the past ARRONDISSEMENT tural fabric. His father came from Abruzzo decade. “We now have Google based two to work as a miner after World War Two, 1991 kilometres from here, the first Microsoft in- SENATOR part of a wave of Italian immigration that novation centre, Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, settled in the coal and steel regions of 1992 H&M, TNT, and I could go on,” he says. “We EDUCATION MINISTER Wallonia. Elio was born in Morlanwelz – have amazing figures on business creation, between La Louvière and Charleroi – in 1994 on exports. Charleroi airport had 300,000 DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER 1951, the last of seven children born over a passengers ten years ago but has five mil24-year period. And on the day of his eldest 1999 lion now. All this to say that the image of PRESIDENT OF THE PS brother’s wedding, when Elio was one, his Wallonia as poor and a lost cause is not true father was killed by a truck while cycling 2000 historically or objectively. But politicians BURGOMASTER to a nearby farm. have made this argument for ages. This is OF MONS “Since my father did not die in the mines, the image, but it is a cliché.” we did not get a miner’s pension, just a 2005 MINISTER-PRESIDENT OF ‘survivor’s pension’, which would be €7.5 THE WALLOON REGION ndeed, he points to a study by Flemish a month in today’s money. We had to put KBC forecasting growth in Wallonia three of my brothers in an orphanage,” he surpassing Flanders soon. The region is actively says. “It was a difficult childhood. My mother made it building a strategy for research and innovation, through because three of my brothers started working, covering university places and dedicated business two of them in the mines.” Di Rupo saw his mother as parks: technology now accounts for around one in a reference point for love and affection, whose sheer ten jobs, and the region has successfully developed will got the family through even though she couldn’t niche sectors like sciences, aerospace, life sciences, read or write. She died in 1988, just a year after Di Rupo and information technology. “It’s not a question of a was first elected MP. virtuous side and a carefree side. Wallonia is making But it was Di Rupo’s academic achievements more a spectacular rebound,” he says. “Foreign investors – than his politics that made his mother most proud. He Americans and Japanese – say there is no difference studied chemistry at the University of Mons-Hainaut, in productivity. And there are more days of strikes in where he also earned his PhD in physio-chemistry, or Flanders per worker than in Wallonia.” neo-ceramics, while fitting a teaching stint at Leeds Di Rupo acknowledges cultural factors in the ten- University in between. sions between Dutch and French speakers, including At Mons he became a student leader, was elected the collective memory of Flemish subservience in Bel- student president, joined the university’s administragium’s early decades. But he says the French-speaking tive council, and from then on moved into local politics.
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“Is it possible that the eternally argumentative Flemish and French-speakers have come to the end of the line and will be unable to live together anymore?”
It was only when he was poised to leave for a research post at the University of California in Berkeley – having actually bought his plane ticket – that he chose politics, taking up a position in Mons city council. His rise was steady from then on: he was elected MP in the Chamber of Representatives in 1987, MEP in 1989, senator in 1991, Education Minister in 1992, Deputy Prime Minister for five years from 1994, PS leader since 1999, Wallonia Minister-President (1999–2000 and 2005-07), and mayor of Mons since 2001. In many ways, his achievement is quite remarkable: as well as being from an Italian family, and an atheist in a Catholic country, he is also the most prominent Belgian politician to come out as gay. But Di Rupo insists none of these factors were handicaps. “I had to come out fifteen years ago, but there was no prejudice,” he says. “We’re a very tolerant people. As long as you do your job well, people don’t bother with your private life. I have never felt it, in any case.”
He is particularly proud of his record in Mons, which is set to take the mantel of European Culture Capital in 2015. From now until then, the city will invest €300 million in public works to restore Mons’s cultural heritage, build a Santiago Calatrava-designed railway station, and numerous other new buildings. After breakfast, he takes me on a short tour of the city, relishing details of the rich history of all the nearby buildings, from the 15th-century town hall to the restored belfry that is now a youth hostel. Behind the town hall, we climb up to a small park with a view of the city, with slag heaps and wind turbines further towards the horizon. It’s a fabulous panorama, and offers a sharp contrast to the cheerless conference rooms that await him in Brussels. Di Rupo sighs as he takes it all in. “I love it here,” he says, wistfully. But it is only a moment. For all his cheeriness, Di Rupo is still trying to resolve a most intractable political crisis. He gives it one last glance, and then starts strolling back down the hill.
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14 DAYS The best of Brussels Events
Hi-tech meets fine craftsmanship at Design September
Brussels is the design capital of the world this month, or at least it seems that way. A list of the special attractions – exhibitions, open studios, talks, conferences, you-name-it– of this year’s edition takes up the space of a small telephone directory, so we direct you to the full story on page 59 and to the festival highlights on page 62. The plexi and wood chairs pictured here are by Israeli designer Hagit Pincovici; you’ll find them in a big show at Pierre Bergé Associates.
Poland’s EU presidency goes into cultural high gear this fortnight. The gala opening event is a concert performance of Karol Szymanowski’s opera Król Roger (listings Sept 9); flagship exhibition The Power of Fantasy (listings Sept 8) highlights the imaginative force of the country’s PostWar art; solo show Alina Szapocznikow (listings Sept 10; article on page 42) presents work by a national treasure hardly known in the rest of the world; Fossils and Gardens, a handful of art installations in public spaces (through Sept) reflect their young Polish makers’ views of a united Europe. At Bozar, Polish conductor Antoni Wit leads the Belgian National Orchestra with special guest soloist Rafal Blechacz (listings Sept 15); and at the Royal Music Conservatory on Sept 21, Polish violinist Alina Ibragimova teams up with French pianist Cédric Tiberghien – they have put out a CD together– in a programme of 19th and early 20th-century music. Much more to come. Sept 8 listing
THURSDAY SEPT 8 MÉDÉE UNTIL SEP 22 20.00
Revival of Krzysztof Warlikowski’s 2008 superb staging of Cherubini’s opera. As then, Christophe Rousset conducts Les Talens Lyriques. Description above La Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie, www.lamonnaie.be THE POWER OF FANTASY UNTIL SEPT 18
Big show of Post-War art from Poland accentuates the humorous and colourful, highspirited and critical. Bozar, 23 Rue Ravenstein, www.bozar.be MUSIQUE ET LUMIÈRE 22.30 UNTIL SEP 30
Sound and light show to music by Polish composers. Grand’Place, www.brupass.be
MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ 20.00
KRÓL ROGER UNTIL SEPT 10 20.00
What a writer! The 2010 Prix Goncourt winner, in person, in French. La Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie, www.lamonnaie.be
Szymanowski’s 1926 opera is the gala opening event of the Polish EU Presidency. Hartmut Haenchen leads La Monnaie Orchestra. La Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie, www.lamonnaie.be
DEZ MONA 20.00
Antwerp rockers’ new concert opera Saga owes something to the eponymous Norse goddess and a lot to the Baroque musicians of the outfit known as Box. Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix, www.klarafestival.be FRIDAY SEPT 9
ROLLER BIKE PARADE 19.00 UNTIL SEPT 23
Weekly Friday evening roller parade and party in city centre. Leaves from Place Poelaert, www.belgiumrollers.be SATURDAY SEPT 10 TUXEDOMOON 22.00
SILVIA ABALOS - CANTANGO 20.00
Traditional tango music from Argentina . Art Base, 29 Rue des Sables, www.art-base.be
Historic reunion of a maverick American (dis)band that called Brussels home in the ’80s. Description above Magasin 4, 51b Ave du Port, www.magasin4.be
BRUSSELS ART DAYS 12.00 TO 19.00 SEPT 10 & 11
Contemporary art galleries greet the rentrée with a synchronised mega-opening. Free shuttle service (uptownto-downtown only). Hitch a ride, enjoy the shows. www.brusselsartdays.com BOOKSHOP DAYS UNTIL SEPT 11
Lovers of the printed word take note: a dozen independent book stores stage authors’ talks and signings; present new collections, niche publishers and … themselves, the very people who run the business. A nice opportunity to meet them in the flesh. Theophile’s Papers/Abilene Gallery, (info point), 163 Rue de la Victoire, www.bookshopdays.com
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Music LA MONNAIE
A Médée for the 21st century
Tuxedomoon The seminal avant-sleaze collective Tuxedomoon formed in 1970s San Francisco around a core of electronic music students and performance artists. Reagan’s inauguration was their cue to decamp for Brussels, a low-rent beachhead from which they directed their international operations. Continental audiences were taken by these vagabond Americans and their funhouse-mirror reflection of European influences, from classical to übermodern. But by the end of the ’80s centrifugal forces pulled the group apart, scattering its membership. They are reformed now and, Skype being no substitute for the flesh, convened once again in Brussels to write a new album-- as good an excuse as any to treat the locals to a show. GV Sept 10 listing
Euripedes’ ancient drama is reset in the present, and 18th-century composer Luigi Cherubini’s instrumentation is restored to its original brilliance in this revival of Polish stage designer Krysztof Warlikowski’s searingly memorable production, which premièred at La Monnaie in 2008. The original cast and musical formation are returning too: German soprano Nadja Michael is the exotically beautiful, unjustly shunned and wildly enraged Médée; American tenor Kurt Streit is Jason, her faithless husband and father of her children; and Christophe Rousset conducts his ensemble Les Talens Lyriques. They will keep you on the edge of your seat. In French. Sept 8 listing
ALINA SZAPOCZNIKOW: SCULPTURE UNDONE UNTIL JAN 8
First major exhibition outside Poland for the art of this pathbreaking sculptor (1926-73), whose shocking, eye-poppingly critical work and experimental materials are opening up an unexplored chapter in recent art history. Article on page 42 Wiels, 354 Ave Van Volxem, www.wiels.org ENTRE FRÈRES MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL UNTIL SEPT 11 11.00 TO 24.00
African, Caribbean, European and Latino music plus kids’ painting and sculpture workshop and a tent village with global cuisine and handicrafts. Cinquantenaire Park, www.action-adj.com
FÊTE DE LA BANDE DESSINÉE SEPT 10 & 11
Comic book fans turn out in droves for the annual comic book market at St-Gery, the comic book park on Mont des Arts, the exhibitions at the Comic Strip Museum, the parade of gigantic balloon likenesses of comic strip figures (14.00-17.00), massive 3-D video projections (Place Royale, 22.00), free tours of Brussels’ famous outdoor murals (Sept 11, reservations required), and much else. www.fetedelabd.be SUNDAY SEPT 11
JAZZ MARNI UNTIL SEPT 16
10km cycle tour that’s open to skaters and hikers too. Rue Dansaert to Cinquantenaire Park, www.bruxelles.be
Some of the world’s handiest squeezebox operators are appearing at this festival, dedicated this year to the accordion. It ain’t all jazz, and there’s a lot more to it than tango. Description above Théâtre Marni, 25 Rue de Vergnies, www.theatremarni.com
LA VIE DEVANT SOI 20.30 UNTIL OCT 22
Romain Gary won the 1975 Prix Goncourt for this life-affirming masterpiece about family ties and racism. Staged by Michel Kacenelenbogen (in French). Théâtre le Public, 64-70 Rue Braemt, www.theatrelepublic.be MONDAY SEPT 12 LIEBESLIEDER 20.00
Procession (9.30), ball (14.30) and concerts (17.15 to 21.00) commemorating the liberation of Brussels in 1944. Grand’Place, www.brupass.be
All-Schumann lieder recital by Marlis Petersen, Anke Vondung, Werner Güra and Konrad Jarnot. La Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie, www.lamonnaie.be
TUTANKHAMUN UNTIL NOV 6
Reconstructions of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb chambers and replicas of their contents. Brussels Expo, Hall 2, Place de Belgique, www.kingtutbrussels.be Full listing on www.thebulletin.be
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TV HIGHLIGHTS for the forthnight More TV highlights on www.thebulletin.be SPORT RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011
FILM LES BARONS
One of the world’s top four sporting competitions kicks off on September 9 with the New Zealand All Blacks facing Tonga in Auckland’s Eden Park stadium. The event is scheduled to be played over seven weekends and will culminate in the final on October 23. Twenty teams will play in 12 different venues and while some countries are natural contenders given their rugby traditions others like the United States and Russia are emerging competitors. Don’t miss the opening game when the All Blacks perform their controversial Haka, a mesmerising traditional Maori war chant featuring fierce shouting and aggressive stomping. Opening ceremony, TF1, Fri, Sep 9, 9.20 followed by the opening game 10.20-12.20. 1
Hassan, Aziz and Mounir are three unemployed friends who lead a life of pleasant apathy loafing around modern-day Molenbeek, Brussels. But, as is so often the case, when real life crashes unpleasantly into their dream world, the three young men are forced to deal with life, love and the future. Lots of insider references to Belgium’s complex mix of languages, ethnicity, and regions by local director Nabil Ben Yadir. La une, Mon, Sep 12, 20.20-22.15.
Bittersweet comedy which focuses on the growing tendency of Eastern European young people to migrate West. Three stories unfold – closely overlapping in terms of time, place and characters – to build a snapshot of Romania at the beginning of the post-Ceausescu era. Starring Alexandru Papadopol (Luci) and Anca– Ioana Androne (Sorina). Directed by Cristian Mungiu. Canvas, Sep 17, Sat, 00.20-2.00. Nature. 5
FILM WORLD TRADE CENTER
On September 11, 2001, after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the building collapses over the rescue team from the Port Authority Police Department. Will Jimeno (Michael Peña) and his sergeant John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) are found alive trapped under the wreckage while the rescue teams fight to save them. Oliver Stone directs. één, Sat, Sep 10, 22.20-00.25. 2
DOCUMENTARY 11 SEPTEMBRE: DANS LES TOURS JUMELLES
Richard Dale’s docu-drama, 9/11: The Twin Towers recreates a minute-by-minute account of what happened inside the twin towers of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks. Narrated by Jean Reno. France 2, Sun, Sep 11, 22.4500.20.
FILM LAYER CAKE
A cocaine dealer named XXXX (Daniel Craig) has earned a respected place among England’s mafia elite and plans an early retirement from the business. However, big boss Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) wants him to do one last job – find the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy’s old pal Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon). Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Ladeux, Tues, Sep 13, 20.0521.50. 3
ATHLETICS MEMORIAL VAN DAMME
Live coverage of the 35th edition of the annual international athletics competition at the King Baudouin Stadium, Heysel. Runners include Kenyan world record champion Milcah Chemos, Ethiopian world record holder Kenenisa Bekele, Jamaican sprint champion Usain Bolt, Belgian brothers Kevin and Jonathan Borlée and Frenchman Christophe Lemaître. Guest of honour will be Ukrainian athletics legend Sergey Bubka. The meet will be followed by a concert with Soulsister. Ladeux, Fri, Sep 16, 19.20-21.55. 4
2 YELLOWSTONE TALES FROM THE WILD
Episode one of a three-part series focusing on the wildlife of America’s Yellowstone National Park. A World Heritage site with an area of 3,400 square miles, Yellowstone boasts lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges, and is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. Set against a backdrop of stunning scenery and majestic panoramas, this series follows the lives of Yellowstone’s wolves, grizzly bears, antelope and buffalo. Canvas, Sun, Sep 18, 21.0021.50.
QUIZ HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU
More edgy humour in the satirical, current affairs quiz with long-standing teamcaptains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop. The latter’s constant political sniping seems to complement Merton’s surreal, deadpan wit. Presenters and guests change every week but it’s definitely Merton and Hislop who make the show the success it is. Wed, Sep 21, BBC 2, 23.0023.30. 6
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LOVE AT FIRST BITE The inside scoop on foodie favourites Malika Hamza
alika Hamza likes food, which is a good thing considering the fact that she lives, breathes and yes, eats the stuff. She is the founder of Innovative Cuisine, a company specialising in culinary development, food styling and gourmet experiences. Since 2007, this French émigré has also been the chairperson of Karikol, the Brussels Slow Food association which organises Goûter Bruxelles, a week-long celebration of slow food in Brussels. As well as over 60 participating restaurants, this year’s event takes place between September 19 and 25 and features cooking classes, tastings, gourmet food walks, picnics and film screenings. In preparation for Goûter Bruxelles, Malika tells us where you can experience slow food and good food all year round. www.gouterbruxelles.com
I don’t have a favourite restaurant in Brussels but if pressed to choose one, I’d say Selecto. I like the atmosphere – it’s really cosy. The food, brasserie-style fare based on seasonal farm products, is just delicious. And the wines are all organic or natural, very reasonably priced with a professional sommelier who comes to your table to help you choose the best food and wine pairing. A real feast! SELECTO 95-97 Rue de Flandre, Brussels, www.le-selecto.com
We say: Selecto only opened this June but it’s already causing a stir with its slowfood bistronomie. Check out upcoming issues of The Bulletin for a full review
“I couldn’t live without fresh herbs. They are my signature ingredient”
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I really like Zinnebir from the Brasserie de la Senne. It’s a malty, bitter and refreshing ale that goes well with spicy food (which I cook very often). The name ‘Zinnebir’ refers to the Brussels word Zinneke which means ‘little bastard’. Brasserie de la Senne also opened a new brewery in Brussels on Chaussée de Gand last year. I salute the braveness of the two owners, Yvan De Baets and Bernard Leboucq, who opened a micro-brewery in a very competitive beer industry managed by a few giant companies selling tasteless sweet fizzy drinks they call ‘beer’.
La Fleur en Papier Doré (Het Goud Blommekein Papier in Dutch) is one of the last Brussels estaminets. This tiny and cosy café is linked with the artistic history of Brussels as it was the place where artists from the COBRA movement used to meet. I like to go there and have a Faro or a Kriek from the brasserie Girardin (just outside Brussels) and share a plate of Brussels delicacies such as pottekeis on bread (local cheese spread), kipkap (assorted cold cuts), bloempanch (black pudding) or cervolat (sausage).
The organic market at the Tanneur building. You’ll find a good range of local farm products such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, bread, juices and also organic Sicilian products such as pasta, olive oil, wine, cheese and cured meat. Good products and good prices.
Endives au gratin is a simple dish that reminds me of a friend who studied in Brussels before moving back to Paris. It’s also a good way to make the little ones eat their vegetables.
BRASSERIE DE LA SENNE
53 Rue des Alexiens, Brussels, www.goudblommekeinpapier.be
565 Chaussée de Gand, Brussels, www.brasseriedelasenne.be
We say: This small artisan brewery, one of only two in Brussels, is punching well above its weight
LA FLEUR EN PAPIER DORÉ/HET GOUD BLOMMEKEIN PAPIER
We say: It’s the size of a shoe box but whatever Papier lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in charm. Magritte and his Surrealist peers used to meet here for drinks and it’s still a favourite with arty types today
I couldn’t live without fresh herbs. They are my signature ingredient. I use them fresh and mix them in a non-conventional way. The combinations are infinite. To prepare a quick, healthy starter, mix three of your favourite fresh herbs with hand-peeled North Sea shrimps and a little dot of homemade canola oil mayonnaise. ORGANIC MARKET, LES ATELIERS DES TANNEURS 58 Rue des Tanneurs, Brussels
We say: The organic market is held on Wednesdays from 12.00 to 19.00 and Sunday mornings from 10.00 to 16.00. The market is organised by Mandala Organic Growers
ENDIVES AU GRATIN (FOUR SERVINGS) • 8 slices of farm cooked ham • 8 whole organic endives • Olive oil • 45g organic butter • 35g organic flour • 60ml organic whole milk • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper • Freshly grated nutmeg • Cayenne pepper • 120g grated Gruyère cheese • 2 organic egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 180°C while slowly braising the endives with 1 tsp of olive oil. Turn regularly. Once done, roll a single braised endive in a ham slice, and repeat with the remaining endives. Arrange the ham rolls in a lightly buttered baking dish and melt remaining butter in a saucepan. Add the flour, stirring to avoid lumps; when blended, slowly add the milk. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Cayenne pepper. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring quickly. Then add two-thirds of the cheese and stir until melted. Pour the sauce on top of the ham rolls and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown
More food guides on www.thebulletin.be
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Up my Street
Turning the Page TV journalist Tomas Teetaert takes The Bulletin on a trip down Rue du Page Text by Katrien Lindemans Photos by david widart
ucked between the roaring traff ic of Chausseé de Waterloo and the hustle and bustle of Place du Châtelain lies Rue du Page. Teeming with independent shops, bars and restaurants, it’s not hard to see why this trendy Ixelles street is so popular with young expats and families. Tomas Teetaert, a 28-year-old reporter and newsreader for tvbrussel, lives above newlyopened French restaurant Les Fils à Maman just round the corner on Rue Fourmois. “I’ve been living here for about three years now, with my roommate Maxim,” he says. “I’ve moved around quite a bit in Brussels, from Molenbeek to Ixelles, then Etterbeek and now here. Rental prices in the area are rather high, but in exchange, I get to live in a busy neighbourhood with many bars and restaurants. On top of that, it’s within walking distance of work.” Rue du Page has a remarkable range of restaurants, from Indian and Pakistani cuisine at La Vallée du Kashmir (number 49), French food at Le Hasard des Choses (31), a quick slice of pizza at Mamma Roma (5) to Basque bites at El Vasco (34). “For a great Italian meal, I go to Gusto (on the corner of Rue du Page and Rue du Fourmois),” Tomas says. “You can also find me at Le Bistro des Restos (39), referred to by locals as ‘Le Bistro des Artistes’. I go there to read the newspapers or for an after-work drink. I like the interior, where every chair has got a golden label with the name of a restaurant in the area. The place is also open until late, which is a big bonus.” Besides places to eat, Rue du Page offers a fair amount of shopping opportunities too. “All the shops in the area are little boutiques,” Tomas explains. “The owners are very passionate about their business, and that makes a big difference. I often visit Mon Amour (36) to find a gift for one of my little cousins. The shop sells all sorts of toys, colourful clothes and homeware items.” Another great spot for browsing is second-hand
book shop Nijinski (15). The store got its name from the previous owner, who was an admirer of the Polish dance revolutionary Vaslav Nijinsky. “It has a lot of English and French novels, as well as many coffeetable books,” says Tomas. “The shop is located in a stunning mansion, the prettiest one in the street,” although strolling through the area, you’ll notice a lot of competition. Most of the houses in and around Rue du Page date back to the beginning of the 20th century and feature Art Nouveau references.
or a shopping break, there are plenty of places where you can put your feet up. “Tea or coffee at Eden (27) is always a delight,” Tomas says. “Choosing is difficult, as they have so many varieties, but they let you smell and taste before committing to any purchase.” Rue du Page is also home to one of the first cupcake stores in Brussels. Baking friends Leila and Vanessa opened Lilicup (65) about two years ago and their shop quickly became popular. “It’s a very girly place,” Tomas laughs. “But I’ve been there a couple of times with my girlfriend, and the cakes are delicious.” Restaurants, bars, boutiques – what more could you want? “A real butcher or bakery would be nice,” Tomas admits. “Luckily the popular Wednesday market on Place du Châtelain has a few of those. I like to visit the market as early as I can, and stack the fridge with fresh produce. After the grocery shopping, I meet friends for drinks at The Duke (111 Rue de l’Aqueduc), or on the market itself.” Besides a wine and bubbly bar, you’ll also find lots of snacks on sale: organic fruit and vegetables, olives and nuts, homemade Thai or Vietnamese cuisine. The market’s open every Wednesday from 13.00 to 20.00.
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION PROPERTY
Expect to spend around €1,000 a month to rent a two-bedroom apartment. To buy a similar property in the area, prices per square metre go up to €2,500, according to estate agents louisedechatelain.be TRANSPORT
Trams 81, 83 and 92 run near the start and end of the street as does bus 54. You can get there on bike via Villo stations 109 and 112, or there is metered parking for cars on Place du Châtelain. MEET THE NEIGHBOURS
Rue du Page attracts a mix of trendy, young singles and families. It has a strong international flavour too, with Belgians living alongside French, Scandinavian and British expats.
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Tomas says: “The street feels like a village but the different languages you hear give it an international feel, too. It’s located close to the city centre, as well as to the green Parc Tenbosch and Bois de la Cambre – perfect, as not many houses have a garden or terrace.”
Af r Ru e
IN & AROUND
Rue du Page 1.
Whether you want a plate of oysters or a basket of organic veg, this is the place to be on an early Wednesday evening
Popular neighbourhood watering hole where the after-work eurocrat crowd clinks glasses with locals. 111 Rue de l’Aqueduc
It’s not cheap but it’s worth rooting around this excellent second-hand bookshop for a literary gem or two. 15 Rue du Page 3.
A haven for tea-lovers, especially those fond of the Japanese variety. 27 Rue du Page
In the home of Victor Horta, one of the founders of the Art Nouveau movement, lies a fascinating museum dedicated to his life and works. 25 Rue Américaine
More of Brussels on www.thebulletin.be
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CAPITAL LIFE Your city, your agenda Florinda Boschetti, 34, from Milan, works for the European Cyclists’ Federation Where do you come from, and how did you end up in Brussels? I was born in Italy to Hungarian parents, and have family in both countries. I came to Brussels two years ago as a project manager at the European Cyclists’ Federation. It’s my job to promote cycling – we’re the voice of cyclists in Europe. I’m here by chance, really, but I love my job and I like Brussels’ cultural agenda.
My diary THURSDAY SEPTEMBER
Would you call Brussels a cycle-friendly city? Compared to Italian cities, definitely. There’s some infrastructure in place: bike lanes, parking outside stations, contraflow cycling... There’s also a bit of a cycling culture – for example, bus drivers are trained to be aware of cyclists. What do you do with your free time? I travel a lot for work, so I can’t often make plans to see the shows I might want to in Brussels. And it means I do all my shopping at Zaventem! Though I do like to browse in Saint-Catherine and Dansaert when the shops open late. When I first moved
LES INVASIONS BARBARES
A comedy about a dying man who seeks to make amends with his friends and family Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix, www.flagey.be
Italian wine bar and bookshop with regular readings and live music 66-68 Rue Franklin, www.piolalibri.be
STREET MARKET IN PLACE JOURDAN
I’ll be meeting some Slovenian friends for our monthly brunch 11 Rue des Sablons, www.lepainquotidien.be
There’s a small Hungarian stall where I like to have a lángos (Hungarian snack)
here, I was couchsurfing, and there are regular get-togethers of other couchsurfers at Monk in Saint-Géry. It’s a great way to meet people. I love the cinema; I go two or three times a week. Cinematek and Flagey are best for classics, Vendôme for dramas and comedies, and Stockel for Italian movies. I also plan to buy a subscription to La Monnaie this season. For me, the new year in Brussels begins in September, not January, and one of my new year resolutions is to try zumba. I should do more sports, but I do lots of cycling and that’s enough.
LA BRACE PIZZERIA
Opera relating the vengeance of a humiliated woman La Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie, www.lamonnaie.be
Alternative American indiefolk band (pictured above) Ancienne Belgique, 110 Boulevard Anspach, www. abconcerts.be
It’s very near our offices and we often have their pizzas for lunch on a Thursday 1 Rue Franklin, 02.736.57.73
I like to drop in here when I’m strolling around town 15 Rue Ravenstein, www.bozar.be