• Testing the teachers

    2 Sep 2009 by Alan Hope
    As the children of Flanders go back to school, they can expect to be met by teachers with plenty of professional experience, most of it gained in their current school, but with lower academic qualifications than their counterparts in other countries. The teacher will be a woman in more than twothirds of cases, and her class will be unusually small. She will have modern ideas but use mainly oldfashioned techniques.Full story
  • She's having a baby

    2 Sep 2009 by Alan Hope
    Getting married or buying a home: these are life’s big-ticket items. But it is having a baby that can be the most daunting. With no tests to pass or loans to apply for, one can easily become a parent. Lack of experience doesn’t seem to stop us. Add being in another country with different cultural and logistical approaches to pregnancy and birth, and it can be downright scary.Full story
  • Flanders House boss under investigation

    1 Sep 2009 by a a
    The board of Flanders House in New York, which represents the region’s interests in the United States, is due to meet this week to discuss allegations of irregularities by the House’s director, Philip Fontaine.Full story
  • 11,000 dance for the climate

    1 Sep 2009 by a a
    More than 11,000 people gathered last on 29 August on the beach at Ostend to take part in the filming of a video clip by Flemish TV personality Nic Balthazar calling for action on climate change. The action, a repeat of last year’s The Big Ask campaign, was timed to take place exactly 100 days before the climate summit in Copenhagen. The crowds danced Bollywood-style to the music of U2, who had waived the rights to the song “Magnificent” for the occasion.Full story
  • Mama Green

    1 Sep 2009 by a a
    It is one of the most memorable scenes in Belgian politics. Standing at the front of the House of Representatives, where only the most serious behaviour is tolerated, a young woman puts on an apron, accusing Jean- Luc Dehaene, then-minister of social affairs, of wanting women to stay in their homes. The Speaker thanks the young lady for putting on an extra layer of clothing, rather than taking off one. That was 1987, and the young woman was Mieke Vogels. She has been a household name ever since.Full story
  • News in brief

    1 Sep 2009 by a a
    Another plague of wasps is on its way, experts from Ghent University warned last week. The fine spring brought the insects out earlier than usual, and the continuing warm weather means queens carry on laying eggs, so that September could see the arrival of a new generation of the stripey pests. “One queen could even produce as many as double the number of young. We’re talking about 40,000 eggs instead of 20,000,” said Frans Jacobs, professor of zoo physiology.Full story
  • The Eastern chipmunk is in, but the sugar glider is out

    List of permitted pets is “absurd,”say animal lovers

    1 Sep 2009 by a a
    A list of permitted pets is “fundamentally unfair”, the National Council for Animal Lovers (NRD) said last week. “In the Netherlands, Germany and France you’re allowed to keep a muntjac but not in Belgium,” a spokesman lamented.Full story
  • Firefighters had the fire rapidly under control

    Disaster averted in church fire

    1 Sep 2009 by Alan Hope
    A number of priceless Flemish Baroque artworks were saved from destruction by the rapid action of emergency services and the implementation of the disaster plan when fire broke out in the Carolus Borromeus church in Antwerp city centre.Full story
  • Driver who sued his victim’s parents sentenced

    1 Sep 2009 by a a
    An elderly driver who ran a give-way sign and hit a car, killing two children, was last week given a three-month suspended sentence and a driving ban by a court in Mechelen. At the same time, a case brought by the defendant against the parents of the victims was thrown out by the court.Full story
  • Face of Flanders – Bert Rijken

    26 Aug 2009 by Alan Hope
    When the going gets tough these days, the tough get online. Bert Rijken is 27, from Bree in Limburg, hometown of Kim Clijsters. He's a recent graduate in commercial communications from the XIOS university college in Hasselt and applied informatics from the XIOS in Diepenbeek (the name stands for "Centre of Expertise for Industry, Education and Society"). He's currently "between jobs", but no question of sitting around soaking up the sun while sending out a few CVs and reading Jobat in a hammock. Full story