• Wise men

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    Congratulations to Herman Van Rompuy on becoming the first European president. Although under his leadership the federal government had mostly come to a standstill, Van Rompuy is now credited with almost saint-like qualities in the Belgian press. For some reason, this country always looks back mildly on its former leaders.Full story
  • The sick building

    25 Nov 2009 by Flanders Today
    There’s nothing like a good grey and rainy day to bring out all the unutterable glumness of the Joseph Lemaire Sanatorium in Tombeek. The only reason I took the trouble to find the place (not easy) and to ignore the warning not to enter it was because an eminent body of international architects – the venerable World Monuments Fund – has concluded that this wreck of a building is worth salvaging. It has in fact been listed for the year 2010 as “One of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World.”Full story
  • Face of Flanders — Carposers

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    For three years in a row, Ghent-based photographer Kris Dewitte asked the composers who had been invited to the city’s World Soundtrack Awards (part of the Flanders International Film Festival) to pose in a black, 1982 Mercedes. Some of these photos turned out to be simple portraits of musical masters behind the wheel. But others are slightly more inspired.Full story
  • Godfried-Willem Raes, composer, musician and robot orchestra builder


    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    After two years of publishing Flanders Today, none of the extraordinary things people do in Flanders surprises us anymore. Until now.Full story
  • Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth

    From 30 below to 4,000 above

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    The French media were not kind to Altiplano at its premiere in Cannes last May. Aside from the slate of bad reviews, the film’s directors were grilled by reporters during their press conference. Set in a small village in the Peruvian Andes, the film follows the story of local alpaca farmers who are, one-by-one, poisoned by mercury from nearby mining activities.Full story
  • Herman Van Rompuy

    Mr President

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium’s reluctant prime minister, has been chosen by the leaders of the 26 other member states of the European Union as the first president of the European Council.Full story
  • The eel-good factor

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    Along with mussels and stoverij, Belgians have another culinary surprise somewhat akin to Dr Seuss’ green eggs and ham. Paling in ’t groen, or eels in green sauce, is a speciality found in many restaurants and homes across Flanders. And wow, is it ever green.Full story
  • A girl, a boy and a river from last year

    Song for a mad director

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    Guy Coolen still recalls the booing in the audience the first time Muziektheater Transparant performed Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King. It was 1994,and he had just taken over at the company. Not long out of university at the time, Coolen wanted to make a break with Transparant’s old-fashioned operatic repertoire and create something far more contemporary and experimental.  Full story
  • Traffic signs up for revision

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    The news will come as no surprise to expat drivers: 60% of Belgians admit to not understanding some road signs. That’s part of the reason why mobility minister Etienne Schouppe wants to undertake a thorough overhaul of traffic rules, to be completed by 2011.Full story
  • Antwerp port authority freezes tariffs

    25 Nov 2009 by Alan Hope
    The Port of Antwerp is to freeze its tariffs for 2010 in an effort to counter the effects of the financial crisis on its customers in the shipping industry, it was announced last week. In addition, for some labour-intensive cargoes, prices will actually fall by up to 10%.Full story