Posts

Visit Ghent!

Image
Ghent is one of the beautiful cities to visit in Belgium. Less busy than Antwerp and less an open-air museum than Bruges. Ghent is a charming city where the former wealth of the Middle Ages is still clearly visible in the city center. It is not without reason that Ghent is popular among tourists as a destination for a day or even for a few days. Visitors mainly come to the many cultural-historical buildings, museums and the atmospheric nightlife.

Together with the other inland waterways, the river Leie offers beautiful atmospheric pictures in Ghent. The most popular part is where the "Graslei" and "Korenlei" lie on the water. Here are a number of beautiful buildings, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. Various tour boats also depart from both slates. In pleasant weather, the terraces, particularly on the Graslei, are busy. Locals and tourists also like to sit on the stone edges on and around the water. Especially in the summer months it is very atmospheric…

The cathedral of Ghent

Image
The church was originally a parish church dedicated to John the Baptist. In 942, Transmar, the bishop of Tournai, inaugurated the church as St. John's Church.
The predecessor of the current cathedral was a Romanesque church from the 12th century. The crypt of this remains. The Romanesque church was gradually replaced by the current one. The construction took place in three phases. The choir was first renovated in the early 14th century. The influence of Northern French Gothic and the Scheldt Gothic can be seen here.

The ambulatory and the chapels date from the beginning of the 15th century. During the second construction phase, from 1462 to 1538, the 89-meter-high western tower was erected in the style of Brabant Gothic, with sand-lime bricks from the Dilbeek brickwork. The third phase began in 1533: the construction of the ship. Later additions were made in Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist style.
The tower of St Bavo's Cathedral is one of the three in the row of Ghent, to…

Vincent van Gogh in Antwerp

Image
Vincent van Gogh arrived in Antwerp on 24 November 1885 from Nuenen in the hope of taking lessons at the art academy and selling his art.
In a letter to his brother Theo, he had said that he wanted to go to this city. He rented a room from the Dutch couple Willem Henricus Brandel and his wife Anna Wilhelmina Huberta on the second floor of their house in the Lange Beeldekenstraat 224.

He enjoyed the first few weeks in Antwerp  and Vincent often wrote to Theo how happy he was with his choice of the city. Vincent loved discovering the city: walking along the quays, visiting different churches and going to the museums. Vincent also visited various art dealers in the hope of being able to sell his work. But is artwork did not bring the desired sales and Vincent had to constantly beg Theo to send him money in order to survive.
In January 1886 Vincent enrolled in a drawing course on antique sculpture at the Antwerp art academy. There he also followed a painting course with Charles Verlat fo…

The story behind the Antwerpse handjes

Image
The Antwerpse Handjes is a cookie in the shape of a hand that has a reference to the legend of Brabo and giant Antigoon, their story was the foundation of the city. But what most people don't know is that the sweet delicacy originally came out of the oven in a small bakery of a Dutch-Jewish baker who owned a bakery in Antwerp.
It all began in 1934 in the Provinciestraat behind the Antwerp train station. Jos Hakker made his dough from butter, sugar, eggs, flour and shaved almonds. But what was more special is that he baked his recipe on a baking mold in the shape of little hands.

He actually made his dessert cookie to compete in a competition of the Royal Association of Master Pastry Makers of Antwerp. They wanted an original culinary specialty that could represent the city of Antwerp. Jos Hakker came up with the winning design and recipe. The shape, composition and packaging are now, through patent protection, the property of the Belgian union for bread, pastry, chocolate and ice…

The house of the European Commission in Brussels

Image
The Berlaymont building is an important government building in Brussels. It is the headquarters of the European Commission. The building is on the corner of two main streets in Brussels, Wetstraat and Schumanplein. It is surrounded by various European and international services. The part of the city in which the building is located is called the European Quarter, which is why Brussels is internationally regarded as the capital of Europe.

The place of the building was originally occupied by the Monastery of Berlaymont. They managed a well-known girls' school, originally founded by Florent van Berlaymont's wife. That is where the name of the current building comes from. In the early 1960s, the Belgian state bought the domain to anchor the European presence in Brussels.

Architect Lucien De Vestel designed the original building together with Jean Gilson, Jean Polak, and André Polak. It consists of a tower in the shape of a cross, through which four wings depart from a central hub…

The castle of Durbuy

Image
Durbuy got its first fortified castle around 899. It was destroyed a century later and in the eleventh century Henri I of Namur and Count of Durbuy rebuild the castle. From the twelfth to the thirteenth century Durbuy and its castle belonged to Jan, count of Luxembourg and king of Bohemia, he integrated it into the defense system of the Counties of Luxembourg. In the fifteenth century, Durbuy, together with the entire county of Luxembourg, came into the hands of Philip the Good.

Much later, the d'Ursel family became the owner of the castle in 1756. In 1731 Conrad-Albert d'Ursel commissioned the construction of a new castle. In 1880 Countess Augusta van d 'Ursel has the castle thoroughly modernized while giving the castle its current appearance.
Despite the many renovations of the castle, and changes to the city, the location of the castle has remained unchanged. It is the same rock on which the castle rises, just like many centuries ago. This beautiful building is located…

The market square of Bruges

Image
The "Markt"is the most imported market square in Bruges. It's located in the heart of the historic city center and has an area of approximately 1 ha. On the south side of the square is one of the most famous monuments of the city, the 12th-century belfry.

Almost in the middle of the square is the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter De Coninck, two folk heroes from Bruges who played an important role in the Flemish resistance against the French occupation in 1302, during the Battle of the Golden Spurs. Until the 18th century this was the place of the Waterhalle, the covered storage area where goods were loaded and unloaded. The canals continued to flow into the city along the Markt. Today, although underground, this is still the case. The square was redesigned in 1995 and since then cars are no longer allowed to park, except taxis and coaches.


A weekly groceries market is held on Wednesday morning. The square is also regularly used for local and international events. At the…