• Bus-building business booming

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    Economic crisis or no economic crisis, vehicle manufacturer Van Hool, based in Koningshooikt in Antwerp province, has just taken an order for 250 luxury tour coaches for the US market. That brings the company’s total orders from the US this year to 380, out of a total construction of about 1,700 vehicles.Full story
  • VDB with his ex-wife, Sarah Pinacci, their daughter Margaux, and Cameron

    Brilliant but troubled: Vandenbroucke’s stormy career

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    Once seen as the great hope of Belgian cycling, Frank Vandenbroucke enjoyed a brief but exhilarating moment on the podium before his demons caught up with him.Full story
  • Yanina Wickmayer

    Flanders’ newest tennis hopeful

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    Flanders’ newest tennis hopeful, Yanina Wickmayer, defeated the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova to win her second WTA tournament in Linz, Austria, last weekend. Wickmayer, who turned 20 this week, took the match 6-3, 6-4 and moved up to 20 in the WTA rankings. This week, she was joined at the WTA tournament in Luxembourg by the number 18 ranked Kim Clijsters, her old spar ring partner from Diest tennis club. Clijsters, who won her first-ever WTA trophy in Luxemburg in 1999, has a wildcard for the tournament.Full story
  • Knack awards Van Groeningen; Israel wins big award at Ghent fest

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    Felix van Groeningen, the director of the new film De helaasheid der dingen (The Misfortunates), which is playing now across Flanders, won the Jo Röpcke Film Award from Knack, the magazine announced last week during the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent. The award is given annually to a filmmaker who has significantly and creatively contributed to Flemish film during the last year. De helaasheid also won big at The Hamptons International Film Festival in New York earlier this month, earning the festival’s three top prizes.    Full story
  • Houses searched in corruption investigation

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    Police last week carried out search warrants in the homes and offices of a number of civil servants working mainly for the Buildings Agency, which administers the federal government’s real estate. The searches were coordinated by the federal prosecutor’s office, together with local prosecutors’ offices in Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, Mechelen and Ghent.Full story
  • The voters’ signal

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    Election days are almost a ritual in Flanders. In the evening, the buzzing begins in the TV studios. Sure, everyone wants to know who won and who lost, but for politicians there is more at stake. As soon as they know the results, they want to be the first ones to interpret them. In doing so, they will always use the same words: the voters’ signal. Convincingly explaining exactly what this signal was sets the tone for weeks, months, sometimes even years to come.Full story
  • News in brief

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    Two Brussels trams will travel across the Atlantic and through the Panama Canal to Vancouver to enter service at the Winter Olympic Games in February 2010. The trams, constructed by Bombardier in Bruges, are the T3000 type currently operating on some lines in Brussels, each one more than 30 metres long with a capacity of 184 passengers. They will operate a shuttle service between the Olympic village and the venue’s arenas.Full story
  • One of the dwindling number of barn swallows

    Zambia project to count Flanders’ birds

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    The number of migratory birds in Flanders is in serious decline, according to the Flemish agency for the protection of birds, VBV. In November, Dutch ornithologist Bennie van den Brink will go to Zambia to carry out a three-month study of the birds’ habits for VBV.Full story
  • Electrabel busts federal budget by refusing to pay

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    The federal government finally achieved the difficult task of presenting a budget to the country last week. But the satisfaction of prime minister Herman Van Rompuy at this minor success – a budget savings of €3.3 billion over two years (within a structural deficit of €25 billion) – was soon dashed when Electrabel announced it would not be paying the €500 million premium demanded for this year. That’s slightly more than double the €215-€245 million a year Electrabel is due to pay in the future as compensation for being allowed to keep the country’s nuclear power stations open longer than anticipated.Full story
  • Antwerp says “no” to Lange Wapper

    21 Oct 2009 by Alan Hope
    The people of Antwerp have voted against plans by the government to build a viaduct through a part of central Antwerp. In a referendum held on Sunday, 19 October, nearly 60% of the electorate voted No to the socalled BAM plan, under which the Antwerp ring would finally be completed by a tunnel under the Scheldt and a viaduct (known as the Lange Wapper). The plan was supported by just over 40% of the voters.Full story