The Martino sandwich

In Belgium the most popular sandwich is not ham and cheese, it is a very spicy sandwich that was invented by Albert De Hert, a former football player how owned a restaurant in Antwerp for more than 50 years. 

Albert De Hert also worked in a snack bar called 'Quick', it was located at 'The Coninck Square', near to the central station. A square that at that time was full of nightclubs. There he would have launched his famous martino sandwich.

The story goos that Belgian football player and friend of Albert, Theo Maertens, who called himself Martino, once ordered a spicy sandwich of meatloaf to get over his hangover.

"Put everything what you have in the cooler on it, he asked," So Albert served him a sandwich with chopped onion, slices of pickle, tabasco, pilipili, cayenne pepper, ketchup and worcester sauce.

The recipe struck and became a concept in Antwerp and later the rest of Belgium, the sandwich is still very popular today.

The Bond Moyson buildings in Ghent

On the 'Vrijdagsmarkt' in Ghent you can find the "Ons Huis' and 'Bond Moyson' buildings. They were built around 1898 in a so-called macaroni style, an eclectic set of all kinds of building styles and forms put together.

'Ferdinand Dierkens', the head architect of the socialists party in Ghent was in charge of the works. He intended to build a polyvalent complex: party palace, grocery store, cinema, pharmacy, trade union, hospital fund; It would all be accommodated. The second building was officially inaugurated in 1902 but it was ultimately used for purely functional and administrative purposes. The Bond Moyson (the Socialist health Service) and the Socialist Trade Union (ABVV) got their offices here.

Later architect  'Ferdinand Dierkens' build another complex that was used, and still is used today as a cultural center with concert hall, the 'Vooruit', meaning 'the future'.

You can find the Bond Moyson buildings at this address: Vrijdagsmarkt, Ghent.

The man with the hat in Knokke

In the coastal city of Knokke you can find this remarkable piece of art by the Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon (1934 – 2005).

The small statue is called ‘La Mer, ce grand sculpteur’ or 'The Sea, the Great Sculptor'. It proposes a man with a hat, sitting on the beach. The use of a hat is typical for Folon's work. Folon was inspired by the work of 'RenĂ© Magritte'. 'The man with the hat'. However, the character also look a lot like 'Inspector Maigret' from the books of writer 'Georges Simenon'.

The name of the work is inspired by the art essay of 'Marguerite Yourcenar', ''The Time, the Great Sculptor'. The location of statue on a breakwater makes the character go under water twice a day, resembling a drowning man.

You can find the sculpture on the beach in Knokke.