Today is like the 4th of July, or the quatorze juillet, but then in Belgian style: our national holiday! (Isn’t it weird there are so many national holidays cramped in those two weeks? Probably just because of the July weather)
I wanted to share with you some Belgian tidbits. I know many of my readers aren’t from this ‘silly little country’, so I would like to enlighten you on some Belgian traits.
First off: we don’t take ourselves too serious…
I know it can be really hard to take in when you are ‘home proud’. But hey, we Belgians like a good laugh and we just don’t care really if you call us dumb. You are perfectly entitled to your own opinion. We hardly have any sacred cows. We make fun of our royals, we make fun of religion some times… I think it’s a sort of national coping mechanism. If things go south, we can always laugh about it.
Talking about our royals. We have a long going tradition of cookie tins with the royal family pictured on them. Every year a new one comes out, by the cookie manufacturer : Delacre. And extra ones on special occasions like royal weddings, new borns and such. They are sold on websites like Ebay, and the old ones can be worth quite a bit of coins!
Then, the arts… I could talk with you without mentioning those, could I?
I especially love everything about the Art Nouveau movement, that was active in Brussels, Antwerp and Liège to name three cities. If you visit Brussels at any time. Please take the time to do one of the Art Nouveau walks around the town. You will be amazed by the beauty. It is only so damn shameful it took us Belgians so long to really understand the worth of this movement. It was only around for about twenty years or so. And then the First World War set in. Once the weight of the world changed, people didn’t care about the movement anymore. They tore down beautiful structures, great buildings like ‘het volkshuis‘ by Horta in Brussels… To put up (imho) ugly flats and skyscrapers. I could talk about this for hours, so I will just share with you one of my pictures. This one is a detail on one of the beautiful houses in the Zurgenborg quarters in Antwerp called ‘the Sunflower‘ by Jules Hofman. .
We have some pretty impressive artists, from days long past, but even now today! Some explore the border between nature and culture, like Koen Vanmechelen does. Follow the link and learn all about his cosmopolitan chicken project.
But if I have to choose only one, favorite Belgian artist of all times… It would be Rene Magritte.
The Empire of lights series being my favorite pieces 🙂
I have always had a fondness for his works, but it was only after I went to the Magritte Museum in Brussels that I came to be fond of the man too. I think he was so much fun to be around. There are old home video’s in the museum where you can see him joking around with friends. I always love to know the ‘person’ behind paintings.
And now, I have spent way too much time on writing this little piece, when I was supposed to be arting! Ha!
Talk to you soon xoxo