Saturday, May 31, 2008

Limburg Events 31 May and 1 June

Hasselt: live music 31 May from 20.00 and 1 June from 16.00, 28 stages with 45 groups/artistes,

Maasmechelen: Kleurrijk, 31 May 14.00-21.00 on Valkeniersplein, free entry
multicultural dance and music groups
workshops such as playing a Didgeridoo, street theatre and children's entertainment including a Cuban festival
hapjes & drankjes (food & drink) in an exotic atmosphere

Zonhoven: Tirolermusic with Drauf und Drau
31 May 19.30 doors open, 20.30 start, Parochiezaal, Heikensstraat, Halveweg, 3 € entry
hot dogs & bratworst for sale

Blog: Living in Belgium

Friday, May 30, 2008

Leuven Win "Mijn Restaurant" Final

A media frenzy supported the Hasselt girls Yanaïka and Stephie in the final of "Mijn Restaurant", the VTM programme in which people are given a place to turn into a restaurant from scratch and compete against others.

Yanaïka and Stephie opened "Exquisa" in Hasselt, specialising in dishes from the humble potato. Limburg Governor Steve Stevaerts supported their bid and counted on traditional Limburg solidarity to carrying them through as winners.

They competed against Brussels residents mother Micheline and son Jelle in "d Hogeschool" in Leuven. His Paling in 't Groen or Eels in Green Herbs sauce has become legendary and one critic said that Jelle has the makings of a chef with stars.

Still Micheline and Jelle were the underdogs against the local support from the Hasselt population and whilst Oud-Rekem were asking for votes in the "prettiest village in Vlaanderen" competition, they also supported Exquisa.

Oud-Rekem won and celebrated last night. Limburg hoped for a double whammy but Leuven won meaning Micheline and Jelle keep the keys to their restaurant while Yanaïka and Stephie lose theirs. They said,'Het is alsof je je huis moet afgeven'

It is good news for Micheline and Jelle but bad news for the eels!

Today it was revealed on the radio that the regional newspaper Het Belang Van Limburg had published an ad yesterday asking people to vote for Exquisa but had inadvertently given the SMS number to vote for Leuven. Local residents are now calling for the newspaper to buy the restaurants for the girls who they feel were the real winners.

There are rumours that local businesspeople are interested in buying Exquisa for the girls whose success has brought advance dinner bookings up to August. We'll see what happens.

Blog: Living in Belgium

Oud-Rekem Voted Prettiest Village in Vlaanderen

Oud-Rekem (Limburg) won the competition against the finalists De Haan, Deurle, Kasterlee en Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Lombeek with 32,274 votes of 91,030 overall. There were originally 15 nominations and voting lasted for six weeks.

Limburg Governor Steve Stevaert backed Oud-Rekem with 300,000 fliers in postboxes all over Limburg hoping for the traditional Limburg solidarity.

Last night the 500 residents of the pretty village were invaded by 4,000 people celebrating. My friend lives in the village and did not want people to vote for the very reason that they enjoy the quiet stillness and do not want to be invaded by visitors, however good that is for the local tourist industry whose representative said,
"Dat is net een van de charmes van Oud-Rekem. We gaan er geen turbo op plaatsen om een toeristiche boom te forceren. Alles moet geleidelijk gaan."

Someone posted this comment in dialect on the Het Belang Van Limburg site:
Limburg, Limburg allein , dao geit niks bove , zoe ès ers mèr ein! Jao dat ès Limburg, Limburg allein, dao geit niks bove, zoe ès ers mèr ein! Dat benkse aan de Maaskant, jao dat zit miech nog in het blood, dat bènkse aan de maaskant, jao iech weit het nog good! Rekem, proficiat, allures van un echte stad, dao boe iech (nit :p) gebore bin en boe iech alle luijkes kin! Rekem, geschiedenis, zoe riek dat ès toch nit mis, ''t kestiel dat ès os monumeent, het ès zoe wiet en breid bekind! Iech haw van Rèkem dao langs de knaal, dao zien de luijkes zoe loyaal, dao ès ers nörrges valse sjien, jao dao kin iech toch m''n eige zien! EEN DIKKE PROFICIAT AAN IEDEREEN!!! Limburg boven! Laoneke boven! Rekem boven!

- Dominique Terwingen, Neerharen-Lanaken.

Listen to the song of Oud-Rekem: 'Ich haw van Rèkem' met Juulke en Erik 1

and film of Oud-Rekem from the air:

and the Kasteel D'Aspremont-Lynden:

Visit the Oud-Rekem official site and download the 'Ich haw van Rèkem' song.

Blog: Living in Belgium

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Go Look for the Sun with Brussels Airlines

When the sun moves away after the summer, you can still find it elsewhere: down South! Eg. Nice, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca…with flights from the UK and Brussels.

Join Brussels Airlines this Thursday evening to book a flight to the Mediterranean in the autumn: from €49,99 one-way, all-in and make sure you keep your tan all year round.

* When to fly? Between 01/10/08 and 31/12/08
* When to book? This Thursday May 22th between 6PM and midnight
* Privilege: earn miles with every flight you book!
* Save time: use the online check-in from home, accessible 24h before departure
* Want more? Choose b.flex economy+ for a delicious meal on-board & more flexibility!

Hotel deals
Book your hotel and save €30. Special discount valid for bookings made between 21/05/08 and 31/5/08. Travel before 31/12/08. To claim, enter the code MAY30 when the hotel pricing summary is displayed, by clicking "I have a voucher". Offer only through bookings via the Brussels Airlines website. Only valid on E-special rate hotels.

EuroTravel the one-stop site for travel to and within Europe

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Which is the Prettiest Village in Flanders?

Wat is het mooiste dorp van Vlaanderen? Voting takes place online from 19 April to 28 May at The short list comprises 15 villages, 3 per province. Here in Limburg we have nominations for Gors-Op-Leeuw, Oud-Rekem and Kanne. Oud-Rekem was chosen as the prettiest village in Limburg and as Limburg is generally considered to be the most beautiful province in Vlaanderen, could we safely say that Oud-Rekem will win overall?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flanders - Somewhere Amazing to Go

If you are looking for inspiration for a short break, Flanders in Belgium is the perfect choice.

Take advantage of the current fine weather and pop over to Flanders with P&O Ferries. Visit Ostend and the Flemish Coast or sit in an open air restaurant in the Oude Markt in Leuven known to locals as the 'longest bar in the world' surrounded by lovely buildings and watch the world go by.

Interested in culture? Visit Mechelen, the capital in the early 16th century with its impressive churches famous for their carillon (bell) playing and paintings including several by Rubens and Van Dyck. Or you can visit Ghent with its cobbled streets and winding canals and indulge yourself in its famous sweetshops.

Take your car with P&O Ferries on the Dover to Calais crossing from just £25 each way for a car and passengers or if you prefer to travel from Hull to Zeebrugge from £109 each way for a car and two people including ensuite cabin on an overnight crossing taking you directly to Flanders.

You can also enter a free prize draw with Tourism Flanders to win a weekend in Leuven, Ostend, Ghent or Mechelen including the ferry crossing.

Flanders, the northern Flemish-speaking region of Belgium is a prime destination with a string of engaging cities such as Ghent, Leuven, Ostend and Mechelen that offer impressive architecture, lively nightlife, first-rate cuisine and numerous other attractions for visitors. Each of the four cities of Flanders has its own unique atmosphere and style, providing the traveller with a different reason to visit each one.

Something special to eat
Did you know that Flanders has the most Michelin stars thanks to its fine cuisine. Food lovers will find so many treats to enjoy in Flanders; sample the delights of Leuven's handmade chocolates with their refined fillings of coffee and caramel-praliné. Or Mechelen's Mechelse Koekoek - a large chicken dish often prepared in abbey beer or with ginger bread.

Somewhere fabulous to shop
If you're hoping to fit in some retail therapy whilst in Flanders you won't be disappointed. Whether you're into designer labels or browsing quaint markets and quirky boutiques you will find it all here. Ostend's fashionable resort of Knokke Heist has the latest labels whilst Leuven and Ghent have an array of unusual shops, markets and boutiques to visit.

Somewhere amazing to go
From the invention of the printing press to the perfection of the portrait, Flanders has made a unique contribution to culture. Its well-funded, well-organised museums and institutions also make it a pleasure to discover. Plus dotted throughout Flanders are beautiful old relics and stunning architecture.

Visit for more tourism information on Flanders

EuroTravel the one-stop site for travel to and within Europe

Friday, May 9, 2008

Phew...It's Hot in Belgium

It's official. I heard on the radio that Belgium is currently the warmest place in Europe. I have seen 28º and my friend in Spain reports 24 º.

I always tell Belgians I moved from Southern Spain to Belgium because of the weather!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chicken Tikka Masala in Belgium

A few years ago, a survey of favourite British food was conducted. Would it be roast beef, fish & chips, steak & kidney pie? No, the favourite food in Britain turned out to be Chicken Tikka Masala, an Indian dish apparently not found in India, made with garam masala spice and very tasty it is too.

This week I found a tasting of the very dish in my local Carrefour in Hasselt. My kids loved it too.