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NOV 4-17 2011 ISSUE 5 €4.95

Bye Bye Belgium Yves Leterme’s farewell interview

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker talks music & dance


Our guide to executive education


World War One battlefield tours in Flanders


Bling in Brussels DEPOT BRUXELLES X





t is early November and the international community is wondering aloud about the new Belgian government that is soon to be sworn in, ending more than 500 days of political crisis. Leo Cendrowicz talks to Yves Leterme, the outgoing prime minister, as he packs his bags to join the Paris-based OECD. His time in office has been marked by the 2008 financial meltdown that saw leading Belgian banks rescued with massive injections of public funds, and more recently with the sovereign debt crisis that led to the takeover of Dexia bank by the state. Yet Leterme leaves the country in comparatively good economic health, with growth among the highest in Europe and unemployment down. Oonagh Duckworth takes us to meet choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who talks about her latest production, which won rave reviews at the last Avignon Festival for its combination of 14th-century music and cutting-edge dance. Cesena opens in Brussels next week as the flap over pop star Beyoncé’s ‘recycling’ of two early De Keersmaeker pieces simmers on. Executive education is booming in Brussels, and the number of schools and universities offering MBAs in English is increasing. Sabine Clappaert talks to some of the main players in the field and finds out from a handful of graduates whether their investment was worth the effort. Early November is also a time of remembrance, of those departed and of those who gave their lives for their country. Denzil Walton takes us to the historic battlefields of Flanders to help us better understand what happened there nearly 100 years ago. And we take a peek at jewellery brands in the run-up to the annual holiday celebrations. An interview with Yemeni Islah Al Ashwal tells us how she swapped computer programming for haute couture jewellery design, as her brand Shania celebrates its first anniversary. Have a good read.

Yves Leterme leaves the country in comparatively good economic health, with growth among the highest in Europe

John Stuyck Publisher

Cover: Yves Leterme Photographed by Bart Dewaele

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,

Emma Beddington, Joel Blocker, Leo Cendrowicz , Sabine Clappaert, Marcel Croës, Kristof Dams, Claire Davenport, Katy Desmond, 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, Thandi Renaldi, Georgio Valentino, Emily von Sydow

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

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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



p12 Yves Leterme


p42 - Cesena


p56 - Love at First Bite


Politics & Business

Culture & Events

Lifestyle & Community

7 News In Brief

29 Events In Brief

51 Lifestyle In Brief

12 Portrait – Yves Leterme Caretake Prime Minister Yves Leterme reflects on his premierships and his private passions ahead of his departure to Paris

30 14 Days The Bulletin’s cultural highlights for the fortnight ahead – in Brussels and beyond

56 Food – Love at First Bite Cupcake maker extraordinaire Ashley Peeler gives us the inside scoop on her foodie favourites

18 Focus – Executive Education More and more professionals are enrolling in business administration courses in a bid to get ahead. We talk to MBA graduates for their tips on where to register in Belgium 22 Your Money 24 The Brand – Netlog Belgium’s precursor to Facebook is battling to break into new markets in the Middle East before the US social networking giant gets there first 27 Know-how Our guide to best business lunch restaurants 28 Digital What’s new in the virtual world

35 Offers to readers 38 Film Reviews of the latest films to hit the big screen, plus cinema highlights not to miss 41 TV Essential viewing on the small screen 42 Focus – Anne Teresa De


The preeminent choreographer tells us about her new production Cesena before it opens in Belgium 46 Focus – Philippe


A private man but a passionate conductor, Philippe Herreweghe talks about his love of music

58 Focus - Jewellery A year on from its opening on Avenue Louise, the Shania jewellery store is going strong. We meet its charismatic founder 61 Behind the Scenes 62 Up My Street 64 Travel We head to Ypres to give you a guide to the best battlefield tours in the region 66 Community 71 Property 76 Classifieds 80 Jobs 82 Capital Life A member of the international community opens up his diary for the Bulletin

Editeur Responsable /Verantwoordelijke uitgever: John Stuyck, A. Gossetlaan 30, 1702 Groot-Bijgaarden. Opinions expressed in The Bulletin are those of the authors alone. For reasons of space, street names in Brussels are given only in their French version.




Let’s get down to business studies In a cut-throat job market where every qualification counts, both young and senior professionals are embarking on MBAs to further their careers. We take a look at Belgium’s management schools by sabine clappaert


urope is a paradise for those wanting to further their studies well into their career: it counts no less than 27 executive management schools that are among the world’s top-ranked facilities*. With many leading business schools in cities such as London, Barcelona, Lausanne and Paris, why do students choose to pursue executive education in Belgium and which schools do they favour? We asked four recent graduates. In 2010, four Belgian business schools were ranked among the top 75 in Europe**. Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School (13), Solvay Business School (35), IAG-Louvain School of Management (45) and University of Antwerp School of Management (54). Nancy Murphy, 48, completed a master’s degree in Leadership at Boston University in Brussels this past April. She has since moved to Dubai, where Standard Chartered Bank employs her husband. Prior to their move, the family lived in Belgium for 12 years. While Nancy was employed here as a project management officer at the financial messaging network SWIFT, she undertook an in-house MBA course. “My undergraduate degree is in computer science and finance, which had been augmented by several in-house courses offered by SWIFT. When I decided to take my education a step further to get an external perspective and to find out what the trends were in leadership and communication, I enrolled in the Master of Science of Leadership programme at Boston University. I chose this university for several reasons: in my opinion, the courses are more interesting than those at other institutions; it was one of only a few institutions that offer courses in English in Belgium, and it was conveniently located.” To Nancy the advantages of studying in Brussels are clear: “The classes at Boston University offer a broad mix of people of all ages and nationalities. Aside from

Belgians and Americans, there were students from Turkey, Romania, Norway, Italy, Congo, Greece – the list goes on. The students are mostly aged between their mid-twenties and late forties. Such a diversity of views made the learning experience richer and more applicable in today’s international business environment.” Nancy goes a step further: “I wish I’d done it much earlier. Studying in Brussels offers a multi-cultural perspective and leads to a good understanding of the EU. Had I started earlier, I would have done many more courses.” Nancy is convinced that completing the Master’s in Leadership has enhanced her career options. “Leadership is a buzz word in the current economy. Being able to say that apart from my degree and extensive experience that I also have the latest in leadership training offers significant added value. I am confident that I now have the knowledge to succeed in very senior management roles.”


enjamin Vandorpe, 40, chose Vlerick Management School in Ghent for his executive MBA. “During the screening process I looked at a few other institutions but chose Vlerick quite quickly,” he says. “I immediately liked their approach: it was an executive MBA that required participants to have at least five years’ work experience and the lecturers were all professionals with extensive experience in their fields. So it wasn’t just a theoretical course. I also liked the fact that the students came from all over the world. This brings interesting international perspectives on discussions. “I definitely believe an MBA still helps to advance one’s career prospects,” adds Benjamin. “It gave my career a boost – both financially and in terms of the responsibilities I was accorded. I was offered a senior


NOV EMBER 4 - 17 2011

Done deal: an MBA can help you move up the career ladder

“An MBA helps to be selected on paper, but I still believe that the real test is before the interview panel” management role at a company called Dynamo. It also opens one’s eyes to all facets of business. I’ve now been running my own business for five years and what I learnt from doing my executive MBA definitely helped.” Victoria Tregub, 24, an American with RussianUkrainian roots, has lived in Belgium since she was four. She completed a BA in Communication at Vesalius

College and after several months spent working in the US, returned to Belgium to enrol in a master’s programme in business administration at the Antwerp International Business School (AIBS). Today, she works at Nato’s Public Diplomacy Division, press and media section. “Even though I could have studied in the US, I chose to do both my undergraduate degree and my master’s in Belgium. I immediately chose AIBS because of its flexibility. I never even considered other schools. AIBS allows students to step in to their chosen programme at any time. Additionally, it offers courses in English, has very small classes and focuses heavily on the use of technology. Students all have to use a laptop in class. We



were constantly making PowerPoint presentations or going online to research topics. I also liked the fact that many case studies we discussed were real-life projects or Harvard case-studies.” MBAs are notoriously intense courses that place significant ‘real-life’ demands on students. “A lot of emphasis is placed on project management,” says Victoria. “For one of the projects I worked on we were given the option either to create a complete business plan for the development of schools in Turkey or to create a women’s television network in a country of choice. Working in teams is crucial. You also need to be able to conduct research and present the end product in front of an audience. The challenge of a full-time MBA definitively lies in being able to combine writing your thesis and still focusing on your day-to-day coursework.”


nd finally, after months (or years) of hard labour: graduation day. “Since AIBS has campuses in various countries around the world, our graduation ceremony was held in Barcelona, with graduate students from all the campuses gathered together. That is when you really get the feeling that you have studied in an international environment that has prepared you for the real world,” she says with a smile. Victoria believes an MBA alone is not enough to make a difference, though. “The competition to get a job at Nato is very stiff. Everyone has stellar CVs, went to renowned universities and speaks several languages. While I think an MBA helps to be selected on paper, I still believe that the real test is before the interview panel. No degree or MBA can compensate for ‘that little extra’ that they look for in people.”


riven by an exponential increase in technologies that help to share information, the face of executive education is rapidly changing. Increasingly, business schools are combining face-to-face classes with e-learning tutorials to provide ‘blended learning’ – a more cost- and time-efficient way of training that limits the travel and accommodation costs of off-site courses. Since the onset of the financial crisis, ‘blended learning’ programmes are proving increasingly popular. Furthermore, social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are ever more used to collect and share information efficiently between locations around the world. Short courses are also gaining increasing popularity over the traditional full-time MBA. As Rotterdam School of Management’s Executive Director of Executive Education and Organisational Development Josette de Goede said in a recent interview with “We are getting a lot of programme participants who just a few years ago would have chosen a two-year executive MBA format. Those programmes are great, don’t get me wrong, but not every manager has the time, the money, and the sympathies of their boss when it comes to engaging in a full-blown MBA.”

“More people are taking shorter courses and part-time MBAs than before, because they can’t take a full year or two off from their jobs”

Karen Lindquist, of Management Centre Europe (MCE), which specialises in shorter courses, agrees: “I think more people are taking shorter courses and part-time MBAs than before, especially mid-career managers. They can’t take a full year or two off from their jobs. I see some people now having difficulty getting a job even after having graduated from a full-time MBA programme. On the other hand, young people who are having difficulty finding work after doing their undergraduate degree often just go straight on to do a master’s degree, hoping that the job situation will have improved by the time they get out.”


CE specialises in short courses, with programmes like the ‘5-day Mini MBA’. Lindquist adds: “While our 5-Day Mini MBA doesn’t replace a full-time or long-term part-time MBA, people attend it because it’s a quick way to get an MBA overview and provides functional tools you can put into practice right away. Some people take the Mini MBA to decide whether they want to go for a full MBA later. “Another trend we are seeing is managers requesting customised industry-specific mini MBAs so they can focus more on the management issues and tools specific to their own industries, for example, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and chemicals. Right now we are also developing one for the banking industry.” The conclusion is clear: while taking time off to do a full-time MBA is a luxury that most professionals cannot yet afford, mixing and matching shorter, flexible courses that broaden their knowledge-base, teach new skills or help build on strengths, ensure that they continue to develop. And that, ultimately, is how one stays ahead of the game in today’s fast-paced business world.  * **



BEYOND BRUSSELS Belgium-wide highlights Music


‘The Enchantress’ director Tatjana Gürbaca casts her spell

Paris during the Commune, in ‘Le Temps des Cerises’


Le Temps des Cerises. La Commune en Photographies The title of this show conjures the voice of French singer Yves Montand , but the subtitle recalls the 19th-century origins of the tender lament he made his own. The Paris Commune in Photographs engages the histories of France and of photography, showing the aftermath of violence and the technical limitations of a medium which could not yet picture violence itself. Paris, in modern yet Romantic ruin, staged scenes of heroism, tragedy and resistance, and these photos document the popular civil uprising and its brutal suppression in those days of obligatory long-exposure photography, before the dawn of mass media instantaneity. A superb show, any way you look at it. Photography Museum, Charleroi, More on


Le Modèle a bougé “The model moved again,” 19th-century French artist Edgar Degas is said to have remarked upon seeing yet another blurry portrait by his peer, the painter Eugène Carrière, who made smudging something of a trademark. This fascinating, wide-ranging exhibition examines ways in which 33 artists over the past 170 years have sought to capture movement in their work. And not just physical movement, which was Edward Muybridge’s focus in his pre-motion picture photographs, but also notions of fleeting time, changing moods, shifting interpersonal relationships and all other manner of instability. Six themes, 90 works in traditional and new media by great artists you’ll recognise and contemporary practitioners you soon will if you don’t already. Bam, Mons,


The Enchantress New production of Tchaikovsky’s four-act opera first performed in St Petersburg’s Marinsky Theatre in 1887. Passion, jealousy and political rivalry yield a rich royal drama in which a king is driven to kill his own son and the queen to murder the woman beloved by both her husband and her son. Flanders Opera musical director Dmitri Jurowski conducts the opera’s orchestra and chorus plus a superlative cast of Russian and Ukrainian singers; Tatjana Gürbaca, head of Germany’s Mainz Opera, returns to stage her third Tchaikovsky production in Flanders. Flanders Opera, Ghent until Nov 8 Flanders Opera, Antwerp, Nov 16-26

Henri Laurens’ ‘Femme allongée’ in ‘Le Modèle a bougé’


NOV EMBER 4 - 17 2011

BOOK NOW Our future favourites NOVEMBER 16

Missa Solemnis

Conductor Martyn Brabbins NOVEMBER 12

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem Remembrance Day has a British accent this year in Bruges. Conductor Martyn Brabbins leads the combined forces of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the children’s chorus of the Flemish Opera in Benjamin Britten’s colossal requiem, in which the traditional Latin texts are supplemented with poems by the World War One poet Wilfred Owen. Concertgebouw, Bruges,

Events NOVEMBER 11-20

Antica Belgian and international antiques dealers specialising in everything from local Mosane style to classical English interiors gather at this annual salon reputed for its high quality and conviviality. The 140 stands exhibiting at the 35th edition encompass umpteen styles. Perfume is this year’s theme, so keep an eye out for olfactory allusions in the drawings, prints, paintings, sculpture and tapestries displayed. Similarly under the spotlight are fine costume jewellery and vintage accessories. Ten experts are on hand to authenticate and appraise. Namur Expo, Namur,

Beethoven considered this late work his highest achievement, and although music critics may disagree with the composer’s assessment, they’re of one mind about its full-throated passion. Just wait for the Dies Irae, and then hang on to your seat. Philippe Herreweghe (see interview on page 46) conducts two of his own ensembles, the Collegium Vocale Gent, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and the Orchestre des ChampsElysées, on the eve of its 20th, as well as members of the Accademia Chigiana Siena. Concertgebouw, Bruges,

Performance NOVEMBER 8-15

Ubu enchaîné British theatre director Dan Jemmett has enlisted football legend Eric Cantona to play the role of the protagonist in this new staging of Ubu enchaîné. The Alfred Jarry play, written in 1900 and adapted and directed by Jemmett, is being staged in Namur in an exclusive Belgian run. The third in Jarry’s Ubu series of burlesque satires, it finds the hero and ‘pataphysician’ deciding to become a slave, but one who refuses to shed his tyrannical nature. Jemmet launched his award-winning international career in London with Ubu Roi, the first in the series, in 1998. His casting of charismatic ex-Manchester United star Cantona as Ubu is surely tactical but may turn out to be game-changing for the star. In French. Théâtre de Namur, Namur,

Joan As Police Woman at Crossing Border NOVEMBER 19 & 20

Crossing Border – Writers and musicians This international smorgasbord of literature and music packs dozens of big names into two short days. Englishlanguage writers include Pulitzer winner Jennifer Egan, whose best-selling A Visit from the Goon Squad is coming out in Dutch; 2004 Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst, who will present his new novel, The Stranger’s Child; and Ali Smith (The Accidental, There But For The), who’s returning to the festival for the third time. The musical line-up features Heather Nova, Joan As Police Woman and The Low Anthem. Arenbergschouwburg and Het Toneelhuis/Bourla, Antwerp, NOVEMBER 17 & 18

Hermeto Pascoal & Sextet – Brazilian jazz Charismatic composer and multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal brings his unique blend of jazz, rock and Brazilian music to Flagey Jazz Session, partnered with Europalia.Brasil. He’s performing here with his long-established Brazilian band. Expect intoxicating improv. November 17, Vooruit, Ghent, November 18, Flagey, Brussels,


Buena Vista Social Club – Cuban legends Skoda Jazz festival presents Cuban music phenomenon BVSC on a comeback tour of Europe. The ensemble’s current formation includes three of the musicians from the original group’s Grammy award-winning days. They’ll be joined by another BVSC veteran, sensational singer Omara Portuondo. Bozar, Brussels, 02.507.82.00 NOVEMBER 28

Slavoj Zizek – Superstar philosopher Dubbed the Elvis of cultural criticism, the Slovenian-born philosopher, professor and director of a string of university departments is coming to Brussels to talk about ‘The Struggle for European Legacy’. While expounding on the continent’s future prospects (don’t expect a rosy prognosis: his latest book is called Living in the End of Times), Zizek is likely to reference Hegel and Lacan, Marx and Freud, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch and other exponents of high and popular culture, theory and current affairs. He’ll be ending the evening in conversation with a prominent and brave European political figure. Bozar, Brussels,


NOV EMBER 4 - 17 2011


Lifestyle & Community

Style wars

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: Remember the good old days, when secondhand wasn’t called vintage and used clothes were in plentiful supply because hardly anybody wore them? Those days are long gone, as thrifty fashionistas can attest, but there is an upside to the gentrification of the humble hand-me-down. Namely the proliferation of events like Customisez-Moi. Now in its fifth edition, Customisez-Moi offers young designers a chance to create a brand-new 10-piece collection from upcycled clothing. Finalists will parade their wares in front of a panel of industry experts, including event founder Bernard Gavilan, and there’ll be live music from Nicola Testa and an after-show party. Customisez-Moi 5 is held on November 11 at Studio Indigo, 388 Avenue Van Volxem, Brussels. Tickets cost €10 in advance or €15 on the door.



Up my Street

Address to impress Fashion designer and shop owner Noémie Wilputte lives and works in Rue Malibran, one of 10 streets leading on to the famous Place Flagey by katrien lindemans photos by ottomura


he name Rue Malibran might not ring a bell to non-locals, but you’ll definitely know the square it connects to: Place Flagey in Ixelles. The street is named after Maria Malibran, a Franco-Spanish mezzo-soprano. One of the most famous opera singers of the 19th century, Maria briefly lived on the street with her Belgian violinist husband, Charles Auguste de Bériot. Unfortunately, Rue Malibran is better known today as a bit of a traffic hotspot, but there is a lot more to it than snarling tailbacks. Twenty-five-year-old Noémie Wilputte has lived on the street for four years, in an apartment she shares with her boyfriend and her sister. In March 2010, she decided to open a store. Called Wake Up!, it’s on the ground level of her apartment and there she designs and sells her own clothes as well as other African-inspired brands and urbanwear from all over Europe. “What once was our kitchen is now my shop and gallery,” Noémie says with a laugh. “There aren’t many shops like mine around, but with the affordable rent and the many people walking by on their way to Flagey, it seemed a good idea to open my shop here.” The area is home to a large Moroccan and Turkish community, which explains the four halal butchers, and the numerous convenience and grocery stores. “I love the corner shop just across from my shop,” Noémie says. “The fruit and vegetables are always fresh and at a very competitive price.” Rue Malibran also has a few shops selling treats from other countries. For port wine, bacalhau (dried salted cod), cold meats and pastry imported directly from Portugal, visit Nova Primavera (80 Rue Malibran); for bitter leaf, little hot peppers, spices and curry sauces, go to the Asian Food Store (27), and for cosmetic or culinary treats made from Moroccan Argan oil, pop into L’Arganier (63). It’s no surprise that most eateries in the street mainly serve Turkish or Moroccan cuisine. “I’m quite fond of the Turkish pizza at Istanbul (17),” Noémie says. “My favourite one is topped with a mix of Turkish cheeses.” Another place that comes highly recommended is La Perle d’Orient (23), famous for its sweet tea and biscuits

as well as savoury bites and couscous. Besides all the visible Arabic influences in the street, there’s one that is slightly hidden: the El Mouhagirine Mosque (72), in a typical terraced house. “I learned it was there after wondering why so many men were queueing to get in on Friday mornings,” Noémie says. There are no bars where you can relax over a beer or sip a cocktail on Rue Malibran, but Place Flagey makes up for that. It took about six years for the largest square in Brussels to be renovated but now the area is abuzz with bars, restaurants and other amenities. The famous Café Belga on the corner is always busy, especially when the sun’s out. “You can often find me there,” says Noémie, “but I also love Le Murmure (18 Rue du Belvédère) and Bar du Marché (12 Rue A Dewitte).” For a Portuguese beer like Super Bock or Sagres, O’Regua is the place to be (26 Chaussée de Boondael). The square also houses the popular Irish pub De Valera’s, with a big screen where football and rugby fans gather to watch live matches and a terrace looking out on the famous Ixelles ponds.


ocals agree that the two ponds and their green surroundings serve as the perfect spot to go jogging, read a book or catch the last rays of autumn sunshine. Although the square is surrounded by busy traffic, it still oozes a buzzy vibe. There are kids playing with the water fountains, local less-fortunates begging for money, and musicians and young artists doing their thing. “In the years I’ve been living on Rue Malibran, I’ve noticed a lot more young and creative people coming to settle here,” Noémie says. “The campuses of both La Cambre and Brussels Free University (ULB) are nearby, creating an inspiring atmosphere. Young people living in Rue Dillens (just off Malibran), for instance, started throwing Oh My Garden concerts a while ago. They provide their gardens and music, and people who find the flyer or check their Facebook page are welcome to join in. It’s a great way to meet new people.” 


On Rue Malibran you’ll mainly find terraced apartments with balconies. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment costs about €950. The closer you get to the ponds, however, the prettier the mansions get and the higher the rent. When buying property, prices start at about €2,000 per square metre, according to www. TRANSPORT

Hop on and off trams 81 and 83, buses 38, 59, 69 and 71 and Noctis night bus N09. There’s a Villo! bike station on Place Flagey and usually a few taxis waiting by Café Belga as well. Parking in the area is difficult, but there’s always space in the underground car park adjacent to Café Belga. MEET THE NEIGHBOURS

As well as Turkish and Moroccan families, the Flagey area is home to a big Portuguese community. In recent years, it has also become more popular with young people.


NOV EMBER 4 - 17 2011


Noémie says: “Rue Malibran used to be very noisy and dirty – cars would park wherever they wanted. Luckily, the results of the renovation of Place Flagey two years ago rubbed off on the street too. The area has become a lot more livable, but without losing its lively vibe. Renting a house has got a bit more expensive, though.”




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Ru e






Rue M



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Place Flagey




2 Rue Lesbroussart




Rue Malibran 1.


Noémie’s store Wake Up! sells a mix of urbanwear and African-inspired clothes, as well as her own brand Nuo by Noémie, shoes, art and music. 31 Rue Malibran

Is this the frietkot with the best fries in Brussels? Follow the smell of deep-fried potatoes, join the queue on Place Flagey (near to De Valera’s) and find out for yourself




Ru e


e Ru


Rue Maria-Hendrika

Rue Maes

Rue Wéry





Irish pub – one of several in a 1km radius. A good place to watch sports. 17 Place Flagey

The healing properties of Argan Oil are world renowned. Try it out for yourself. 63 Rue Malibran



Popular cultural centre at the very heart of Place Flagey

Well-stocked Portuguese grocery store with a good selection of wines. 80 Rue Malibran





More guides on



CAPITAL LIFE Your city, your agenda Koen Galle, 28, is a DJ for FM Brussel and the Brussels curator of Why did you come to Brussels? I was born here but I grew up in the suburbs about 20 minutes away. Even though I have lived in other places – Leuven, Ghent and Barcelona – Brussels was the only city that I really wanted to live in. I have been here for a year now and I am a very happy citizen of the capital.



What do you like about it? It is very cosmopolitan and open. There are no presumptions here – everyone is accepted as they are and it is easy to meet like-minded people. How did you get into music? As a kid I loved radio and I eventually started volunteering at Nijdorp, my local youth centre, where I learnt to DJ and organise parties. It was a great learning experience. Then I joined FM Brussel four years ago, where I DJ under the name Kong and I also work as a producer on the Rue de Flandre show.

The recently released new Tintin movie


What is and how did you get involved? It’s like an online jukebox where 22 people involved in the music industry create playlists which are updated weekly. It launched two years ago in Amsterdam and it’s a great way to discover new music. I discovered it online and thought it was a brilliant concept, so I sent them a proposal to bring it to Brussels. It took them a year before they were able to but we launched in June. It will soon be launching in London. The plan is that we launch in 22 cities across the world.




I’ll be checking out the art and music in 40 rooms on 10 floors of The White Hotel. A unique concept. 212 Avenue Louise,


I like the food and atmosphere at Chez Henri – easy-going and uncomplicated. 113 Rue de Flandre





I love going to the cinema and the Actor’s Studio is one of my favourites. Blue Bird by Brussels director Gust Van Den Berghe or the new Tintin movie are top of my list. Actor’s Studio, 16 Petite Rue des Bouchers

Dynomite Soul will be spinning all night at Bar du Matin for our club night. 172 Chaussée d’Alsemberg











Free concert series featuring young musicians. Tonight is the last one this year and features an all-female line-up. Café Monk, 42 Sainte Catherine,

My radio station is throwing a party and I’ll be DJing, along with a few friends of mine. Viage, 30 Boulevard Anspach,

This is a great way to combine jogging with a guided tour of the city.




I love vinyl shopping on a Sunday afternoon. My favourite shops are Veals & Geeks and Doctor Vinyl in the centre.


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