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OCT 21-NOV 3 2011 ISSUE 4 €4.95

Tintin’s in town His new film launches right here where he was born

Tips on renting and buying-to-let



Meet the vintners: Belgium’s wine scene uncoveredS

In conversation with the EU’s counter-terrorism czar


Ardennes adventures DEPOT BRUXELLES X





ne hundred years ago, Brussels was the world’s physics capital. Ernest Solvay, the founder of the Solvay soda ash empire, organised the first Conference on Physics in the plush surroundings of the city’s Métropole hotel. The leading physicists of the day, including Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Max Planck, discussed quantum mechanics, marking a break with the old classical physics. The conference reconvened 23 times over the years and is celebrating its centenary in Brussels as we go to press. Speakers include Nobel prize-winners David Gross, William Phillips and Frank Wilczek. Our cover points to a major cause for excitement: the new Steven Spielberg movie, The Adventures of Tintin, is opening in Brussels on October 26. Anyone of any age will want to see the intrepid Belgian boy reporter as he sets out on the high seas in this high-tech adventure in filmmaking. Chris Craps interviews Jamie Bell, the British actor who plays Tintin, and gives us Spielberg’s thoughts on the iconic cartoon character said to be an inspiration for his Indiana Jones adventures. Ian Mundell tells us about Tintin’s father Hergé and asks Tintinophiles for their opinions on the film. Those of you predicting unanimity are in for a surprise. Sarah Crew takes us on a tour of the burgeoning Belgian wine scene. The Megavino wine fair held this weekend in Brussels will feature some of the world’s finest vintages, but local production is rising in quantity and quality on gentle slopes in Flanders and sunny hills in Wallonia. We tell you about the best of the crop and where to buy it. Moving to Brussels’ European Quarter, we talk to Gilles de Kerchove, the man in charge of counter-terrorism for the EU, on matters of global security and what is being done to prevent the worst from happening. And we take a tour of Square Ambiorix, a lively neighbourhood with a unique blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture. As usual, our community pages inform you of the best of the many events that make Brussels such an exciting and diversified international city. Have a good read.

The Megavino wine fair will feature the world’s finest vintages, but local production is rising in quantity and quality on gentle slopes in Flanders and sunny hills in Wallonia

John Stuyck Publisher

Cover: Tintin and Snowy above the Lombard publishing house in Brussels Photographed by Natalie Hill General Manager Joske Plas Managing Editor Deborah Forsyth Section Editors Sarah McFadden (Culture), Sarah Crew (Events), Kathleen Cagney (Film & TV), Tamara Gausi (Lifestyle & Features), Sally Tipper (Community), Deborah Forsyth (Politics & Business) News Leo Cendrowicz (Belgium), Martin Banks (Brussels), Jennifer Baker (Europe)

Contributing Editor

Thomas Buytaert Art Director Patricia Brossel

Contributors Paul Ames,

Martin Banks, Emma Beddington, Joel Blocker, Leo Cendrowicz , Sabine Clappaert, Marcel Croës, Kristof Dams, Claire Davenport, Pierre-Michel Doutreligne, Oonagh Duckworth, Marie Dumont, Philip Ebels, Nicholas Hirst, Alan Hope, Shada Islam, Harlan Levey, Patrice Lieberman, Katrien Lindemans, Cleveland Moffett, Ian Mundell, Nikolaj Nielsen, Georgio Valentino, Emily von Sydow

Founder Monique Ackroyd OBE Publisher John Stuyck Advertising Helena Vreedenburgh

(Sales Executive), Evelyne Frégonèse (Account Executive), Ros Burnaby-Atkins (Real estate ads & classifieds) advertising@

Accounts Patricia Banza Events and distribution Annika Strasser

UK representatives

Stuart Smith, SSM Global Media Ltd, First floor, SSM House, 1 Cobden Court, Wimpole Close, Bromley, Kent BR2 9JF, tel 0044/208.464.55.77 or email


Belgium 1 year €90 / 2 years €165. You can pay by bank transfer (ING 310-0883533-46 or KBC 432-2012231-12), or by sending a cheque or your Visa/Eurocard number and expiry date to Ackroyd Publications sa/nv. Contact us for details. Ackroyd Publications, A. Gossetlaan 30, 1702 Groot-Bijgaarden, fax 02.375.98.22



p16 Brussels gay pride


p38 - Jamie Bell


p54 - Belgian wine


Politics & Business

Culture & Events

Lifestyle & Community

7 News In Brief

25 Events In Brief

47 Lifestyle In Brief

12 Portrait – EU counter-

26 14 Days The Bulletin’s cultural highlights for the fortnight ahead – in Brussels and beyond

52 Food – Love at First Bite Vino! editor Dirk Rodriguez gives us the inside scoop on his foodie favourites

31 Offers to readers 34 Film Reviews of the latest films to hit the big screen, plus cinema highlights not to miss

54 Focus - Belgian wine Thanks to an intrepid new generation of vineyard owners, Belgium’s littleknown wine scene is beginning to blossom. We take a look

37 TV Essential viewing on the small screen

59 Behind the Scenes 60 Up My Street

38 Focus – The Adventures of

62 Travel Don’t know where to head this half-term? We’ve plenty of suggestions in our guide to family breaks in the Ardennes


Gilles de Kerchove, chief coordinator of the European Union’s anti-terrorism measures, talks to us about Al Qaida, body scanners and the perils of being a busy man 16 Focus - Homophobia North African immigrants have been blamed for recent violent attacks on the gay community in Brussels. Homosexual Muslims here give their side of the story 18 The Brand – Solvay The world-renowned Solvay physics conferences celebrate their 100th anniversary this month. We look at the man behind them and the chemical empire he created 22 Digital What’s new in the virtual world 23 Know-how Our guide to the rental market 24 Your Money


Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited film adaptation of the Tintin cartoon books comes to Brussels. Chris Craps catches up with the lead actor Jamie Bell in Mexico; Tintinophiles talk to Ian Mundell, and Tintin’s creator, Hergé, is profiled

64 Community 69 Property 74 Classifieds 78 Jobs 82 Capital Life A member of the international community opens up her 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.




Politics & Business


DEXIA RESCUE DEAL.The Belgian state has rescued the embattled Dexia Group, na-

tionalising its Belgian banking division. Under the terms of the rescue, Belgium will pay €4 billion to buy Dexia Group’s largely retail Belgian division, which has 6,000 staff and deposits totalling €80 billion from 4 million customers. Dexia also secured state guarantees of up to €90 billion over the next 10 years: Belgium will provide 60.5 percent of these, France 36.5 percent and Luxembourg 3 percent. Dexia Chairman Jean-Luc Dehaene (above), a former Belgian prime minister, said the banking group was a victim of the ongoing Eurozone crisis: it is weighed down by an estimated €23 billion exposure to sovereign debt issued by Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. One of the consequences of the rescue deal is that the Belgian state is now the owner of Dexia’s art, which – with 5,000 items – is the country’s biggest private collection.




At the heart of the anti-terror web EU counter-terrorism czar Gilles de Kerchove coordinates his plans for safeguarding personal freedom within the European Council matrix. We sought him out in his Brussels office by emily von sydow photos by dieter telemans

Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, is based in the European Council building



‘Terrorist acts’ mean intentional acts which, given their nature or context, may seriously damage a country or international organisation and which are defined as an offence under national law. These include: 1. Kidnapping or hostage taking; 2. Causing extensive destruction to a Government or public facility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility; 3. Seizure of aircraft, ships or other means of public or goods transport; 4. Manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport, supply or use of weapons or explosives, or of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; 5. Participating in the activities of a terrorist group, including by supplying information or material resources, or by funding its activities in any way, with knowledge of the fact that such participation will contribute to the criminal activities of the group.



he shockwaves from the terror in Oslo this summer have subsided in Brussels. It is not the lone wolf right-wing extremist who is considered the main threat to EU security. In the EU and Nato corridors of power, the main threat is still AQ, the acronym for Al Qaida. In the balance between security and fundamental freedoms, it is rare that the fundamental freedoms get the last word in counter-terrorism work. Be prepared, therefore, to pass through body scanners at Brussels airport. According to Gilles de Kerchove, the EU counter-terrorism coordinator, these machines are simply too efficient at revealing swallowed explosives to ignore. De Kerchove doesn’t particularly enjoy untying his shoes and his belt when he goes through the metal detector at the airport security, and he would not be pleased to find his scanned body image posted on YouTube. However, the latest generation of scanners, says De Kerchove, does not generate body pictures and is essential to counter terrorism. “The new generation neither harms your health, nor invades your privacy, and is effective.” Counter-terrorism is becoming an increasingly complicated game of outsmarting the criminals. This is because terrorists can profit from the freedom to move across the EU’s internal borders to gather and share information with international crime networks. Weapons and explosives are also easily found via the internet, which explains European Commission proposals to stem and control the sale of fertilisers and other chemicals which can be used for bomb-making. Today, counter-terrorism has become smarter, not only at collecting data, but also at connecting the dots. According to De Kerchove, if the authorities had connected the dots 10 years ago, they could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. A number of plots have been successfully aborted, several of which were hatched in Brussels, but there are still a number of lessons to be learned. Those lessons are coordinated in Brussels and the spider in this web is the Belgian lawyer and political animal Gilles de Kerchove.

From 1989 to 1995 he was head of cabinet to the former minister for justice, Melchior Wathelet, who had to resign amid public rage over the handling of the Dutroux child-murder case (Wathelet’s name is noticeably absent from De Kerchove’s CV). It would be hard for terrorists to find De Kerchove in the maze of the corridors of the Council building. His assistant leads us up and down hundreds of flights of stairs. For 10 minutes we feel utterly lost in the internal labyrinth of the Justus Lipsius complex. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of a window and the outside world as we pass endless meeting rooms on our way to De Kerchove’s office. There is nothing even remotely James Bond-ish about De Kerchove, except that the aristocratic 55-year-old probably looks quite at ease in a dinner jacket. Javier Solana, the former EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, appointed De Kerchove in 2007. He reports directly to a fellow Belgian, the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.


ccording to Annegret Bendiek, senior associate of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, SWP, this gives De Kerchove a stronger position than his predecessor, the Dutchman Gijs de Vrijs, who did not wield the same independence and power and left his office after two years. Gilles de Kerchove and Herman Van Rompuy have very close contact, and De Kerchove has pretty much free rein to be as active as he wants. But as this is the postLisbon treaty EU, nothing is quite as clear as that. De Kerchove also reports to the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton; however, he doesn’t sit in Ashton’s External Action Service building but rather, as Bendiek is at pains to point out, in the Council building instead.


This lack of clarity has led to grumbling in the European Parliament. The liberal Dutch MEP Sophie in ’t Veld has produced a report in which she demands greater transparency over the nature and costs of De Kerchove’s activities. The report has been put back in the drawer for the time being. It was up for a vote just around the 10th anniversary of 9/11; questioning counter-terrorism in a frank tone of voice, demanding clarity on financing, was not deemed appropriate by MEPs. “If the security hawks are so convinced that the strategy is good why are they so afraid of transparency?” she asks. In ’t Veld calls De Kerchove “frank and dedicated” but she also questions his incessant demands for more data collection, when he “never shows any justification for the privacy infringements”. He defends himself by saying that in order to uphold his key aim of safeguarding personal freedom, he needs to ensure authorities receive more information and implement more controls. There is plenty of data collection in his office. A minor rainforest’s worth of documents is piled up around the room. On the wall hangs an ancient sabre, but there is no bulletproof vest slung over his desk chair. This is the office of an overworked professor, rather than that of an anti-terror czar. Judging by the piles of documents in his office, he is very active, although, frankly, many of them look untouched and unread. “Ah,” he says gesturing towards the documents and with an air of despair, “I’m a very busy man.”


e’s just come back from a trip to the US and is clearly suffering from a nasty cold and jetlag. There is a line of visitors outside his office and the Bulletin interview will have to wrap up quickly. After Anders Breivik’s terror rampage in Norway this summer, right-wing terrorism is included in counter-terrorism discussions. At the most recent Council meeting for justice ministers, the Norwegian Knut Storberget was invited to share his views on the prevention of terrorism. There was strong agreement on the need for strengthened transnational cooperation and exchange of information. However, it is clear that in the corridors of power, right-wing extremism is not considered counter-terrorism’s main concern. A lone wolf actor, like the Norwegian terrorist, is notoriously difficult to keep track of.


“Diplomats have to find a way to accommodate differences without antagonising each other”

“The AQ threat is higher,” says De Kerchove. “It’s their appeal we have to reduce.” Especially in northern Africa, where the Arab spring is raising many hopes but is also creating fertile ground for extremist solutions. De Kerchove is hoping for some sort of demobilisation of weapons in the area as well as a programme of economic aid and support for civil society to restore hope for ordinary civilians. “This is all backyard work,” says De Kerchove.


art of this backyard work entails a new programme to fight radicalisation, which was inaugurated in September. The idea is to raise the awareness of teachers, youth councillors and others who work with young people. Unlike some, De Kerchove isn’t intimidated by the Americans. He wants to cooperate very closely with the US Department of Homeland Security. Studying at Yale Law School in Connecticut following his degree from the Catholic University of Louvain probably provided a platform for solid proAmerican views, although he still sounds like Maurice Chevalier when he speaks English. At a recent seminar on terrorism and privacy in Brussels, De Kerchove even said that he wanted to see the creation of a common EU-US anti-terrorism agency within the next 10 years. His pro-American views are also expressed in diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks. “The WikiLeaks cables did not do any real harm to counter-terrorism efforts, as the undercover agents were not revealed. On the contrary, it had a positive effect. It proved that the US is fighting breaches of human rights. But I don’t agree with publicising diplomatic reports. Diplomats have to find a way to accommodate differences without antagonising each other,” says De Kerchove, as he prepares himself for lunch with the French ambassador. 




by Ronald Meeus

Bookmarks Our web favourites this fortnight brusselsblog Excellent blog on EU news, by the Brussels bureau chief and several EU correspondents of the Financial Times. Most stories are focused on economic and political issues, but offer some lighter-hearted insight as well.


Unleash your sounds

When you’re relaxing outdoors or taking a break during a hiking trip, you might want to use the mp3 player on your Smartphone to play your music out loud. Only problem is, the built-in speaker won’t deliver nearly the kind of decibels you’d like to make it a pleasant listening experience. That’s where sound company Bose comes in: its transistor radio-sized SoundLink Wireless Mobile Speaker wirelessly connects with practically any device through a Bluetooth connection. It remembers its last six connections, making the device easily transferable between friends, and broadcasts your playlist through its four speakers. A version of the SoundLink speaker in a leather cover retails at €349, the same device in a corduroy jacket comes at €299.

bruxelleslabelle. com A ‘professional wanderer’ with a soft spot for Brussels guides the readers of her blog through her preferred hangouts, from top Lebanese takeaway dinner outlets to shops selling the best croissants on a Sunday morning.



Firefox speeds past all other browsers

Which internet browser do you use? Most of them have more or less the same functionalities: they allow you to keep several web pages open at a time, offer your favourite pages in a preview window, and offer similar security features. The only element in which they really still compete is speed, and the winner in that regard is Mozilla’s Firefox browser. It beats Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari in the annual Browser Grand Prix review on the renowned tech website Tom’s Hardware.

Insightful blog on Belgian lifestyle, art and everyday life by British hypnotherapist Antonia Harrison. There are lots of stories trying to create buzz for her own group therapy sessions, but you’ll also find a great foreigner’s view on cultural hangouts.


Watch your home TV on the go Your favourite TV channels at home aren’t available via satellite? Not a problem if you’re a Mac user. Install an EyeTV tuner on your Mac at home, and enjoy your home TV experience anywhere on an iPhone, iPad or Mac. You can even record programmes to watch at your own convenience. The device, sold by hardware company Elgato, can simply be plugged into the USB port of your computer at home; at the other end is a separate plug for your cable TV connection. From then on in, every television programme you would normally watch at home is available through a special app on the devices you use while in Belgium.


Microsoft cleans its Hotmail slate Back in the early days of the internet, Hotmail was the first service to offer email from any device with an internet connection. Upon its release in 1996, it garnered 323 million users, but eventually ran into trouble: Hotmail became a magnet for unsolicited spam mails, was slower and offered less storage space than competing services. It also didn’t work properly on a mobile device. Microsoft recently relaunched the brand to fix all that, and added some new features: for instance, there’s a filtering system for newsletters, allowing you to unsubscribe to the ones you no longer need without any fuss.

Trending snapshots from the Twitterverse


Furious Twittering helped shares in the bank to plunge on Euronext Brussels, according to a ULB professor.


Historian Alwyn Collinson started tweeting the events of World War Two in August, and still has a few years to go.




Lousy landlords? Reduce rental stress by checking out our guide to tenants’ rights


orror stories abound of aggressive and negligent landlords preying on unwitting expats ignorant of the country’s rental system. From outrageous fines for breach of contract to end-of-lease inspections leading to bills for thousands of euros for damages, the catalogue of disputes appears never to abate. The system is already complicated for Belgians, but for newly landed foreigners it can be even more perplexing due to language barriers and ignorance of local law. Prospective tenants are advised to bone up on the rules and regulations surrounding rental agreements and the rights and responsibilities of each party before signing a contract. Spare a thought also for landlords – the most common problem for property owners is non-payment of rent and it is notoriously difficult to evict a recalcitrant tenant.

Contracts & law

There are two rental contract possibilities: a standard flexible lease for a period between three and nine years, and a rather inflexible short-term lease for contracts up to three years. The first and more common option can be broken with three months’ notice and penalty payment (if you leave in the first, second or third year, you pay an indemnity of three, two and one month’s rent respectively). The second is set for up to three years and cannot be broken by either owner or tenant. It may be renewed once only, up to a maximum of three years. Don’t forget that rent is subject to an indexlinked annual review. A landlord will always prefer more than one name on the lease for payment security reasons but this is not an obligation. A rental agreement, ‘bail de location/huurovereenkomst’, is governed by Belgian law. The onus is on the individual citizen to know the laws of the land (published in Moniteur Belge/Belgisch Staatsblad); in practical terms, this means informing yourself via local media, consumer magazine Test-Achats/Test-Aankoop and the estate agency organisation Institut Professionnel des Agents Immobiliers (IPI)/Beroepinstituut van Vastgoedmakelaars (BIV).

More guides to Brussels on

Deposit & inventories

Repair & responsibility

A security deposit of two months is When signing a rental contract, the tenant normally required, usually blocked in promises to maintain all of the property’s the tenant’s bank account. The sum will internal installations, including electricity be released by the owner following an exand heating. The owner is responsible for amination of the property at the end of the the structure and external fittings. lease. An inventory, ‘état des lieux’/’staat van de woning’, is drawn up at the start of Disagreements & disputes the lease. Make sure all defects are noted to If there is one message from Belgians and avoid being charged for them when movexpats alike, it is to avoid a lengthy, costly ing out. If you want the landlord to repair and inevitably stressful legal process. Seek any defects, note them in the inventory or an amicable solution, with help where posrental contract. The tenant is sible from your estate agency, bound to return the property which can advise but does not CONTACTS in the condition in which it have legal responsibility. ComBRUSSELS TENANTS was leased, barring everyday plaints, depending on their ASSOCIATION wear and tear. Otherwise the nature, can be lodged with the BELGIAN JUSTICE landlord is entitled to use some police, commercial tribunal, loSYSTEM or all of the deposit to cover cal court or IPI/BIV. A Justice OFFICE DES the cost of repairs. Inspection of the Peace (Juge de paix/VrePROPRIÉTAIRES experts (géomètre/landmderechter) is the first point of (including judicial eter) are often designated to contact with the justice system service) ESTATE AGENTS’ carry out the inventories; and primarily focuses on conPROFESSIONAL BODY their reports are the source of ciliation rather than a lengthy more misery to tenants than lawsuit. You should consult the PROPERTY AGENCY WITH A 70 PERCENT EXPAT probably any other legal docujudge with jurisdiction over the CLIENTELE ment. To avoid being stung for commune in which the rented damage that equals the deposit CONSUMER WATCHDOG property is situated. Test-Achats or in some cases skyrockets to thousands, get an objective assessment by selecting your own agent for the check-in and check-out. Estate agencies can also nominate a neutral expert and the cost is usually shared between owner and landlord. A tenant has to provide written agreement to any expert designated by the owner and it is possible to appeal an expert’s report.



BEYOND BRUSSELS Belgium-wide highlights Exhibitions UNTIL JANUARY 8

Rodin, Rops These two giants of late 19th-century art, one a French sculptor, the other a Belgian illustrator and engraver, were friends and mutual admirers with a shared interest in representing women as voluptuous, sexual beings. They broke moral taboos and formal conventions and, each in his own way, contributed to the advent of modernism. Co-organised with the Rodin Museum in Paris, the exhibition Rodin, Rops: Les Embrassements humains charts the personal acquaintance and shared aesthetic affinities of Félicien Rops and Auguste Rodin. Musée Felicien Rops, Namur


Dirk Braeckman Mysterious, haunting, sensual, engulfed in atmosphere so dense that it shrouds the subjects, the photographic images of Belgian artist Dirk Braeckman stay in the mind long after you’ve seen them. This survey of 25 years’ work includes early, monumental black and white photographs taken in dusky interiors and concludes with surprising recent work: digital images, some in colour, with landscape subjects. For the record, Braeckman’s subjects include members of Belgium’s royal family, but those pictures are in the palace, not in the show. Museum Leuven, Leuven


Imperial Treasures People from around the world travel to Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum to see the famed Flemish paintings collection amassed by the art-loving Hapsburg dynasty, which ruled for centuries over much of Europe. For the next three months, the cream of that collection – 54 works from the 15th and 16th centuries by the likes of Jan van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes, Hans Memling, Gerard David, Joachim Patinir, Pieter Brueghel and Frans Floris I (Portrait of a Messenger, above) – is on view in Bruges, which was the hub of the Flemish Renaissance and is an art destination in its own right. This occasion makes it doubly so. Groeninge Museum, Bruges, OCTOBER 22-JANUARY 22

Europunk Auguste Rodin: ‘Succube’, in ‘Rodin, Rops: Les Embrassements humains’

Loud, fast and aggressive, punk music was calculated to disturb, and it succeeded brilliantly in scandalising millions. The first exhibition of punk’s visual expressions in Europe – the album covers, posters, fanzines, fashions, spikey haircuts and tattoos created between 1976, when the Sex Pistols made their first TV appearance, and 1980 – presents some 460 objects that shout ‘counter-culture’ while reminding us how thoroughly their aesthetics have been absorbed into mainstream culture. BPS 22, Charleroi,



BOOK NOW Performance

Our future favourites


Amperdans 2011 This annual cutting-edge festival of dance and performance is proof, if proof is needed, of this country’s knack for attracting and cultivating top young talents in the hybrid art of movement. The programme features six new works, two of which – Fabian Barba’s solo A Personal yet collective history and Sarah Manente’s Faire un four – are premièring here. Other presentations are by Charlotte Vanden Eynde, Benjamin Vandewalle, Gaëtan Bulourde and Franziska Aigner, who presents dance without dancers in Fields. Amperdans Monty, Antwerp,

Events OCTOBER 24, 26 & 30

Spectres Brussels artist Sven Augustijnen’s feature-length quasi-documentary follows a Belgian former official of the colonised Congo as he accumulates purported evidence and old-boy testimony intended to acquit the Belgian government of responsibility in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. The film is as complex and controversial as its subject – an artistic tour de force. Augustijnen will attend the screening on October 24. STUK, Leuven, NOVEMBER 1-5

Charleroi bis-ARTS Banish half-term boredom at Charleroi’s annual autumn festival of street theatre and arts. Rain will not dampen the high spirits of cabaret, clowns and children’s entertainers performing in a big top and city venues. French cabaret Idéal Club returns for a Monty Python-style music-hall show, and the French-speaking Community’s circus company Théâtre d’un jour performs a tribute to contemporary Belgian sculptor Jephan de Villiers. Music, after parties and DJs complete the fun. Palais des Beaux-Arts and L’Eden, Charleroi,

Just for laughs in Charleroi

Leaping Lippizaner from Vienna’s Spanish Riding School NOVEMBER 8, 9 & 10

Spirit of the Dance Celtic culture appeals to all, as this award-winning, popular show proves. The mesmerising rhythms of Irish dance tap their way across the country in a three-show tour that fuses the style of Riverdance with passionate tango, powerful flamenco and hot salsa. November 8, Le Forum, Liège; November 9, Cirque Royal, Brussels; November 10, Aula Magna, Louvain-la-Neuve,, NOVEMBER 9

Conservamus Gala benefit concert for Brussels Royal Music Conservatory, whose physical plant is in ruins. Concert hall, classrooms, library, corridors, staircases, storage, washrooms – everything needs shoring up. Attend this concert and see for yourself. Conservatory professor Paul Dombrecht conducts students in concertos by CPE Bach and in extracts from Italian opera. Tickets €30/€50; donations to the cause are welcome. Royal Conservatory, Brussels 02.507.82.00 More on


Cesena Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s new production with early music ensemble Graindelavoix had its world première at dawn one fine morning this past summer in Avignon, where the changing natural light, contemporary dance and medieval song intermingled magically. Brussels audiences have the luxury of sleeping in before seeing this much-heralded work in a more conventional but still marvellous setting. La Monnaie, Brussels NOVEMBER 16-20

Lippizaners The mightiest dancers on the planet perform in Brussels once every few years, and they’re heading this way. Impeccably bred and trained white stallions, called Lippizaners (above), from the Spanish Riding School of Vienna will perform the most remarkable dressage acts and equestrian choreographies known to man or beast. Started by Emperor Maximilian II, the 430-year-old institution is a UNESCO World Heritage treasure. Belgium’s Federal Mounted Police are the support act on Nov 16 and 20. Forest National, Brussels



Up my Street

Two squared in Etterbeek Marte Borhaug and Willem De Goede show The Bulletin around Square Ambiorix by katrien lindemans photos by dieter telemans


lace Ambiorix, named after the famous Gaul, is a lovely green square at the heart of the European district. It’s a few hundred metres from the Berlaymont building, home to the European Commission, and Place du Luxembourg, home to the European Parliament. Marte Borhaug from Norway and her partner Willem De Goede from the Netherlands, both 25, live just off the square, in an apartment that looks out onto the Commission. The couple met during their Master’s studies in London and came to Brussels a year ago to work as interns. Both have now managed to find fixed jobs, Marte working for The Brussels Office, Willem for the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers. “After visiting apartments in Ixelles and Etterbeek, we chose the one near Ambiorix because it has a lot of light and space and a nice kitchen,” Willem says. “The location wasn’t that important, although it’s convenient to live so close to work.” Willem is one of thousands working in the area, which explains the high density of restaurants and bars on Rue Archimède, the street connecting Square Ambiorix to the Schuman roundabout. “La Brace (1 Rue Franklin) has friendly waiters and good pizza,” Marte says. “You can also find us at Piola Libri (66-68 Rue Franklin), an Italian book shop, where you can also have a glass of wine and some tapas.” Willem continues: “For good pub food, we go to The Old Oak (26 Rue Franklin). They serve burgers, nachos and spring rolls.” The Old Oak is an Irish pub that also serves Irish fry-ups and Sunday roasts. The street has two specialised food stores, with Spanish treats at Sabores de España (66 Rue Franklin) and a small selection of Scandinavian and British products at Gourmet Food (59 Rue Franklin). For a taste of Belgium, head to brasserie SteakFrit’ (65 Rue Archimède). “As we often eat out for

lunch at work, we like to cook our own dinner rather than eating out again,” Marte says. “We have a large supermarket around the corner, and I find fruit and vegetables in Brussels so much better than in Oslo.”


ith so many pubs around, the area reminds the couple of their stay in the UK. “The Old Oak is one of our favourite pubs, and The Hairy Canary (12 Rue Archimède) has got much better since the smoking ban. Its carpets no longer stink of smoke,” Willem says. “Kitty O’ Shea’s (42 Boulevard Charlemagne) is a good one too, and they organise regular pub quizzes.” But living in an area with so many pubs makes Marte a little nostalgic for her former home town. “When I lived in London, getting out of the tube on my way home, I used to walk through a very multicultural neighbourhood and meet street musicians on every corner. Where we live now is a lot neater but it is more culturally homogenous.” This part of Etterbeek is humming with activity during the week, but at the weekends it’s the opposite. “On weekdays we often get traffic jams up our street. We also know by the amount of police and helicopters around when there’s something’s happening on the European political agenda,” Willem jokes. “But on Saturday and Sunday the neighbourhood becomes quiet and residential. It would be nice if there were a lounge café around where you could sit and read the newspapers.” But with not much to do in their own area, the young couple spend most of their weekends exploring. “Willem always goes for a morning run at Cinquantenaire Park,” Marte says. “Afterwards, we head down to Flagey or Saint Boniface, or we go to visit another city like Antwerp or Bruges. That’s what I love about Brussels, everything is so close by.” 


Rent of a small studio starts at around €650 a month; a two-bedroom apartment usually costs up to double that amount. To buy a house, expect to pay around €2,600 per square metre (Trovit Immo) TRANSPORT

The heart of the ‘heart of Europe’ is home to a large transport network with metro lines 1 and 5, buses 12, 21 (to the airport), 22, 60 and 79, and a taxi stand at the roundabout on Rue de la Loi all serving the area. Metered parking is available MEET THE NEIGHBOURS

Internationally diverse during the week, but once the expats have left on Saturday and Sunday, mainly older Belgian people populate the area



Marte and Willem say: “There’s a lot more to the area than rich people dressed up in suits, working for the Commission. The neighbourhood is a bit too quiet during weekends, though. Luckily we have bikes and a range of transport options nearby, which allows us to discover different parts of the city and the country.” Square Ambiorix








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1 Rue Archimède

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Blvd. Charlemagne

Square Marie-Louise

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Parc Cinquantenaire



Square Ambiorix




Popular Italian bookshop, restaurant and deli with live music and free wifi. 66-68 Rue Franklin

Home of the European Commission, nicknamed the ‘Berlaymonster’




The neighbourhood’s older Belgian population come out to play at the weekend


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For real Italian pizzas just like mamma used to make – if your mother is Italian and has a wood-fired oven... 1 Rue Franklin




CAPITAL LIFE Your city, your agenda Canadian Alison Cornford-Matheson, 34, is exhibiting her work at Brussels’ Accessible Art Fair What do you like about Brussels? How international it is. I have friends here from Germany, France, Latvia, Czech Republic, Britain, Norway, the US... that just doesn’t happen in eastern Canada. Belgium has also turned me into a foodie. I love eating my way around the globe as much as meeting people from around the world.



What do you do for a living? I’m a travel photographer. I sell my work to travel magazines, tour companies and book publishers as well as the public. I also run a website about Belgium, in English, called We look at all the great things about this crazy little country: food, museums, shops, beautiful drives etc. We also write about travel, for those times you need to escape. I live to travel. When I’m not on the road, I’m planning my next trip. I also love food. I’m often in my kitchen preparing a new recipe, or researching restaurants I want to sample.

Brazilian photography on show at Bozar





I love seeking inspiration from the travel books here 39-40 Avenue des Arts



This little Lebanese spot is a favourite hang-out. Its falafels and hummus are magical! 86 Chaussée de Louvain



After showing my own art, I’ll visit this exhibition about my favourite architect. Maison Autrique 266 Chaussée de Haecht





Part of the Europalia Brazil festival Bozar, 23 Rue Ravenstein


What’s special about the Accessible Art Fair? A few years ago, I started creating digital art collages from my travel photographs. People who saw them online were interested in them, so I wanted to try showing them to the public. I heard about AAF from a friend and I liked the concept, where artists are on hand for the entire weekend. While it’s a bit nerve-wracking to watch people react to your art, it’s also interesting to see which pieces they respond to and to be able to answer their questions.

Admission is free and the champagne will be flowing, so come and meet the artists Conrad Brussels Hotel 71 Avenue Louise







Talented photographers showing Brussels in a way you’ve probably never seen it Maison Fraymen 67 Square Marie Louise

Picking up last-minute supplies for the weekend art fair at Brussels’ best art supply shop




The French food here is divine and you can’t beat the atmosphere 5 Rue du Couloir