Nello and Patrasche from Hoboken

French-English author Marie Louise de la Ramée (1839-1908), alias Ouida, wrote the children’s book "A Dog of Flanders" after visiting Antwerp in 1871. It is the story of a boy named Nello and his faithful dog Patrasche. Nello and Patrasche lived in Hoboken, now a district of Antwerp. They traveled into Antwerp every day with their milk cart and it was there in the Cathedral of Our Lady that they met their dramatic end together.

The book found its way to Japan and Korea, where it was translated and is still a best-seller today. Many Japanese and Korean children have read the tragic tale of Nello and Patrasche and through it have discovered Antwerp and its world-famous painter Rubens.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Both figures were first immortalized in a bench, in 2017 that artwork was replaced with a new one, Nello and Patrasche sleeping under the pavement. You can find this work of art in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady, at the Handschoenmarkt in Antwerp. There is also a statue of Nello and Patrasche in the district of Hoboken in the Kapelstraat.