Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brussels New Generation Winter Cocktails 15 December 2011

The Brussels New Generation (BNG) would like to invite you to its Winter Cocktails to look back and celebrate the memorable events of the past year which included our new media training course, inspiring charity drive and insightful introductory visit to Strasbourg. The evening will feature various events. Join us for some fun and games in the Aloft Hotel Wii gaming room. So bring your best singing voice and be prepared to be a singing star, show off your dance steps with Just Dance or put your driving skills to the test with Mario Cars.

Also, take part in the competition to give a delicious name to the evening's cocktail. The ingredients for the cocktail are: cinnamon infused cognac (4 cl), grenadine syrup (2 cl) and apple juice (4 cl).

Be inspired by these three ingredients to think of a name for the cocktail and win for you and two of your friends a cocktail making workshop at the Aloft Hotel and also prepare the cocktail of the week. All name suggestions must have a winter theme. Please submit your competition entry for the cocktail with your registration.

Date: Thursday 15 December 2011, 18.30 - 20.30, Venue: Aloft Brussels Schuman, Place Jean Rey, Brussels Registration: BNG Members.

The British Chamber Team, Boulevard Bischoffsheim 11, 1000 Brussels Tel: +32 2 540 90 30 Fax: +32 2 512 8363 events@britcham.be - www.britcham.be

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Profile of Belgium's Elio Di Rupo

By Patrick Jackson, BBC News - 2 December 2011
Elio Di Rupo, the man tipped to end Belgium's seemingly intractable government crisis, has been grappling with challenges all his life.

On one level, this son of Italian immigrants is living the Belgian dream, rising from poverty to play a crucial, unifying role in his country's political future. On another, he is very definitely a Walloon, as Belgium's French-speakers are known, who struggles to speak Dutch but is passionate in his determination to unite Walloons and Flemings alike.

Another view is that he is simply the man of the moment, the latest in a line of "formateurs" - as government brokers in Belgium are known - who happened to be there when the eurozone economic crisis concentrated Belgian minds.

What seems clear, however, is that, at 60, Elio Di Rupo is very much his own man, as distinctive as his trademark red bow ties.

The picture that emerges from a freshly published biography, largely based on interviews he gave to Belgian journalist Francis Van de Woestyne, is of a fighter, unafraid to take on challenges both in his personal and public life.

'Fairy-tale' life
"My life is a fairy tale," he told Van de Woestyne in an interview in 2008. "You could not make it up."
He was born on 18 July 1951 in the small town of Morlanwelz, in Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region, to parents who had emigrated from a village in Abruzzo, San Valentino, in search of work. "I cannot say I had an unhappy childhood"

At the age of one, he lost his father in a car crash. Struggling to raise seven children, his illiterate mother gave some of them up to a nearby orphanage.

"Even so, I cannot say I had an unhappy childhood," Mr Di Rupo recalled. "With nothing, she gave us happiness. On celebration days, she would buy sandwiches that she cut in two."

He remembered how his Roman Catholic mother would light a candle in church every time he sat an exam, and would say "May God bless you" each time he left her. His graduation day as a chemist - he studied at the University of Mons-Hainaut and at Leeds in the UK - was, to her, "as good as a wedding".

"When she died, I felt an infinite, unspeakable sadness."

Embarking on adult life, Mr Di Rupo left behind his Catholic upbringing, and described himself in the 2008 interview as an "atheist, rationalist and free mason".

Already as a student in Mons, he had become active in the Socialist Party and his political career took off in the city, where he rose to become an MP and mayor.

One of his achievements in Mons was to set up an international festival of love films in 1984, an annual February event held, appropriately enough, around St Valentine's Day.

Falsely accused

Mr Di Rupo, a homosexual, found his own love life suddenly under scrutiny in 1996 when he was falsely accused of having had sex with under-age males. According to Van de Woestyne, Mr Di Rupo admits that he might have killed himself had he not been totally vindicated in the affair.

"After 35 years in politics, he has patience, a lot of charisma and good leadership qualities” - Francis Van de Woestyne, Author of Di Rupo biography
Speaking to the author of Elio Di Rupo, A Life, A Vision (French: Elio Di Rupo. Une vie, une vision), he recalled being pursued down the street by a media pack and how one journalist had exclaimed "Yet they say you're a homosexual!"

"I turned around and shot back: 'Yes. So what?' I will never forget that moment... For several seconds there was silence... People were so surprised by my reply they stopped jostling each other. It was a sincere, truthful reply."

His career did not appear to suffer. Three years later, Mr Di Rupo was leader of the Socialist Party and, shortly afterwards, became regional prime minister of Wallonia.

Rolf Falter, who worked as a speechwriter and adviser to former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and now writes the Crisis in Belgium blog, believes Mr Di Rupo faces an altogether different challenge in Brussels.

"Being the chief minister of a regional government is just a pastime compared with the hellish job of being prime minister of two different communities brought together," he told the BBC News website. "You have to have very strong personal skills to bridge all rivalries. Di Rupo surely has the skills to be in command, otherwise he would not have succeeded in the most difficult negotiation ever. But much will depend on his empathy for Flemish public opinion, which is extremely volatile."

Challenge in Flanders

Mr Di Rupo, Falter believes, does not yet enjoy cross-community appeal though he is credited in Flanders with having solved the government crisis at last.

"It is quite obviously his success," he says. "It is he who smoked out the Flemish nationalists and then extremely slowly, and through a very minimalist approach, brought the negotiators day by day closer to each other. It is a very Italian approach to politics, without bravado and visionary moments, but he succeeded and who can prove that someone else would have achieved this? The markets did not play a significant role, except in the final week."

Van de Woestyne, also speaking to BBC News, says that 35 years in politics have demonstrated Mr Di Rupo's "patience, charisma and good leadership qualities".

"He takes a lot of time to listen to everyone and thus has many strategies for finding compromises, and he has good contacts across the political spectrum."

Where Mr Di Rupo may struggle is in convincing Flemish opinion that he, the leader of the French-speaking Socialists for the last 12 years, can enact vital economic reforms, Falter notes.

"These doubts, that the man who has been holding the brakes so long should now become the guy who turns the steering wheel, have not been dissipated though he and his party have engaged timidly in the reform process in a way you would not have expected from them, say, half a year ago."

Lost in translation

Among the Socialist leader's weaknesses are perhaps a lack of creativity and a tendency to consult lengthily before taking a decision, Van de Woestyne adds.

And a major failing in the eyes of many Flemings is his poor command of Dutch - the language of 60% of Belgians.

"My Nigerian cleaning lady, who has been in Belgium for two years, speaks better Dutch than Elio” - Bart De Wever, Flemish separatist leader, who was excluded from the coalition talks

He may have learnt English while studying in England, but his mistakes in Dutch have been mocked. At a news conference, for instance, he used the Dutch word "drinken" (English: drinking) instead of "dringend" (urgent) when talking to reporters about economic austerity.

Mr Di Rupo, quoted by AFP news agency, has promised to master his country's other language and deliver his responses in parliament "in Dutch, with mistakes".

In any case, his success in the government negotiations is what matters now to the Belgian public, Van de Woestyne suggests.

"Belgians are very grateful for his efforts to resolve the government crisis, which has lasted too, too long," he says. "If he is not quite regarded as the country's saviour, he is being seen as the man who ended the crisis."

According to Falter: "He may not bring the country alive again but he might succeed in keeping it afloat for a few years, which might be enough to make it survive through a difficult period."

"It is a very Italian approach to politics, without bravado and visionary moments, but he succeeded and who can prove that someone else would have achieved this? ” - Rolf Falter, Belgian blogger

Source: BBC news

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tobacco sales on the up in Belgium

2011 has seen a sharp rise in the amount of tobacco products sold in Belgium. The figures are published in an article in Saturday’s edition of the Francophone daily ‘Le Soir’. There has been a year on year rise of 20% in the amount of tobacco products sold in Belgian shops and supermarkets. This comes despite the introduction of stricter anti-smoking laws that made it illegal to smoke in bars, pubs and clubs, unless a separate, well-ventilated smoking room is provided.

However, a fair percentage of the cigarettes and rolling tobacco sold in Belgium are bought by foreigners, be they booze-cruise Brits or French smokers crossing the border to save an average of 1.20 Euro a pack on their favourite brand of cigarettes. Belgians are in fact smoking less than they did a year ago, so the increase in tobacco sales is solely attributable to foreign smokers border-hopping in order to save cash.

Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De Ochtend’, Luk Joossens of the Anti-Cancer Foundation told listeners that “The price difference between Belgium and France is especially large, with most big name brands retailing for 5.05 Euro here compared to 6.25 Euro there.”

“We would like to see a price increase of 50 Eurocent. Even if this reduced sales, it could still provide the exchequer with 200 million Euro in extra revenue.”

Source: De Redactie

If you need help to stop smoking, I stop people smoking in one session of relaxing hypnosis. It's so easy and there is a 95% success rate. Find out about stop smoking in Belgium with hypnosis.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In memoriam: viscount Willy De Clercq 1927-2011

ELDR Honorary President viscount Willy De Clercq passed away on 28 October 2011. De Clercq was twice ELDR President from 1981 to 1985 and from 1990 to 1995. He served in various coalition governments in Belgium and twice led the Flemish liberals. He served on the European Commission from 1985 until 1989 and sat in the European Parliament from 1989 until 2007.

ELDR President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck: “Willy promoted liberalism as no one else could. He had his own style and clear views. He was Minister, Vice-Prime Minister, European Commissioner, Member of European Parliament but above all a liberal with a hearth for Europe.”

Potverdekke It's great to be a Belgian

John Makin, the Englishman with the 1998 hit single "Potverdekke! It's great to be a Belgian" died on 30 October, age 61.

Here is John singing his song live:

The same song with many views of Belgium:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Save an Average 230 € Per Year on Your Electricity or Gas

If you want to find out whether you are paying too much for your gas and/or electricity and like the idea of using a green supplier, then Het Belang van Limburg is giving suppliers a chance to bid for clients.  The more households which register, the better the group price will be.  Just register your details on hbvl.ichoosr.com before 29 November.  There is no obligation.  The average annaul saving has been 230 € but as much as 1,050 €.  That has to be worth a few minutes of your time. 

Het Belang van Limburg lanceert samen met het bedrijf iChoosr opnieuw een unieke onlineveiling voor gas en/of elektriciteit. Limburgers kunnen zo honderden euro's besparen op hun energiefactuur, enkel door te surfen naar hbvl.ichoosr.com
Het is de vierde keer dat Het Belang van Limburg met iChoosr een veiling organiseert. De vorige online-veilingen van iChoosr voor gas en elektriciteit, waren een succes. Duizenden gezinnen schreven zich in.
Bart Stevens van iChoosr legt het succes uit: "Doordat wij alle inschrijvingen van kandidaten bundelen en de leveranciers anoniem op deze bundel laten bieden, zal de prijs van de winnende leverancier lager zijn dan wat hij op de markt aanbiedt aan individuele gebruikers."
Iedereen die interesse heeft kan op hbvl.ichoosr.com terecht om eerst een inschatting te maken van zijn of haar besparing van de energiefactuur. Op de site moet je de gegevens van je laatste factuur ingeven om zo te berekenen wat jouw besparing zal zijn.
Bart Stevens: "Hoe meer mensen zich inschrijven, des te beter is onze onderhandelingspositie. Als we alle inschrijvingen binnen hebben, organiseren we de veiling voor alle energieleveranciers van Vlaanderen. Iedereen die is ingeschreven, krijgt dan via e-mail een voorstel en kan dan beslissen of hij of zij ingaat op het aanbod."
Inschrijven kan tot 29 november op

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sleeping in the Atomium in Brussels

My son is sleeping in the Atomium tonight and he was s-o-o-o-o excited about this. There is normally a 3-4 waiting list but they had 2 nights free so his class split over Monday and Tuesday. Children between 6-12 years can sleep in the "Kinderbol" - giant hanging eggs which are known as raindrops. They bring their own sleeping bag, a pillowcase, PJs and washbag. All food and drink is included. For dinner they can choose between spaghetti or chicken and mash then they have breakfast in the panoramic restaurant and watch a short presentation on the Atomium before their visit is over. They arrive at 18h, can bring a DVD to watch and leave again at 10h.

View sleeping in the Kinderbol at the Atomium

So exciting.

Visit Living in Belgium for information, news, what´s on and travel tips to make the most of life in this quirky country.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Colourful World of Mondo Hotels in Belgium

Many hotels these days look the same. Don´t get me wrong, I like minimalist chic but sometimes it is fun to have a little colour around. People who stay in hotels frequently sometimes forget their room number, the name of the hotel or even the city they are staying in! One hotel room looks just like the next.

If you would like to stay somewhere a little different, then I suggest you look at Mondo Hotels. They are a privately-owned group of four hotels in Brussels, Antwerp and Ostend in Belgium.

I love all three cities. Quirky Brussels with its Mannekin Pis statue, the most beautiful square in the world, the Grand Place/Grote Markt, the Tintin museum, great shopping and some wonderful old bars where you can relax and enjoy Brussels beers eg Gueuze, Faro, Lambic and Framboise. Of all the 500 odd beers produced in Belgium, these four are some of my favourites. In fact, there are several varieties of Gueuze. More info on my Squidoo site.

Antwerp has its fantastic harbor with bars lining the old quaysides, or Kaai in Dutch, the new MAS – Museum Aan de Stroom overlooking the inner harbour, even better shopping and unbeatable nightlife.

Ostend (Oostende) is loved by Brits and it is easy to see why. A beautiful golden sandy beach, go karts of every sort to hire, a fresh fish market and stalls selling small platters of seafood, some expensive gin palace boats to drool over in the Mercator yacht harbor, more great shops and a never-ending choice of restaurants. That is if you are not full from all the delicious seafood on the harbour front. Of course, there are plenty of bars for enjoying Belgian beers. I spent four nights in Ostend in August on our own boat and did not want to leave. The luxury residential cruise ship “The World” also visited for two nights whilst we were there.

Mondo Hotels offer a colourful location in each of these three cities so whether you are visiting on business, a one night stop-over or want to make a weekend city break, I recommend Mondo Hotels.

Have a look at Mondo Hotels

Mondo Leopold Brussels is near the European Commission & Parliament but also within walking distance of the Royal Palace, the museums and the Grand Place/Grote Markt.

Mondo Eden Antwerp near the sublimely beautiful Centraal Station which is next door to the Zoo.

Or Mondo Empire Antwerp in the middle of the famous Diamond district.

Mondo Hotel Ostend is a hip and trendy art deco hotel near the seafront, Casino, shops and the beach.

Learn all about Gueuze beers.

Read about my visit to the MAS-Museum Aan de Stroom in Antwerp.

Visit Living in Belgium for information, news, what´s on and travel tips to make the most of life in this quirky country.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stop Smoking with Hypnosis Group Session in Brussels

You know all the reasons why you want to stop smoking and yet, willpower alone has not been enough. Here are some reasons why people want to stop:

- smoking is affecting your health and energy;
- reduced stamina for sports and activity;
- it prematurely ages your skin;
- the stale smell of smoke on your hair, skin and clothes;
- you don´t want your children to become smokers;
- the money you are literally burning away.

Maybe you have tried to stop but need help.

"Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit. Willpower, it turns out, counts for very little."
'New Scientist' vol. 136 issue 1845 page 6

Nicotine patches and gum keep you addicted to nicotine. Do you want to be addicted to a drug?

95% of my stop smoking clients find they can stop smoking in just one session....and stay stopped.

If you smoke 20 cigarettes per day, that is roughly 1.800 € per year NET INCOME or 3.000 € per year GROSS/BRUTO.

A private session of hypnosis to stop smoking normally costs 200 € in Limburg or 350 € in Brussels.

You can join this group session for an amazing 100 €

(All fees include 21% VAT/BTW and invoices are available on request.)

Send your booking to:
and payment to BE 19 9730 0127 8212 with mention:
GROUP HYPNOSIS 25 JULY - (your name)

Here is what one very satisfied client said:

"I was relaxed but consciously aware of my surroundings so I found it hard to believe that hypnosis would work after just one session. But I was very impressed. I thought it would be difficult but I found it relatively easy to stop smoking. I am not troubled by other people's smoking. I used to enjoy smoking but now I enjoy not smoking. I quickly found I can breathe more deeply and have noticed two other health improvements. After four weeks, I am still a motivated non-smoker." - James Benn, Brussels.

I want to help you become a healthy non-smoker. Join us.

Antonia Harrison
English Hypnotherapist Belgium
0497 550813

Friday, May 20, 2011

25% Discount on Hypnosis Stop Smoking Session

Smoking will be banned in Belgium in all bars and restaurants from 30 June 2011. About time too.

There has been a ban on smoking in public places and workplaces since January 2010. But there were exceptions: "beer cafés" where no food is served, casinos and discotheques. The Vlaamse Liga Tegen Kanker said this was discrimination against employees who still had to breathe in other people´s smoke whilst at work. From end June 2011 smoking will only be allowed in a separate room, without waiter service - a compromise but it is still putting people´s lives at risks. Why can´t the Belgians just enforce a complete ban like in so many other countries?

Source: Knack Het Laatste Nieuws

Nicotine is an addictive drug and many smokers find that they just cannot give up by willpower alone. For those that need help, I offer hypnosis (in English) which is the most effective way to stop smoking. Hypnosis is relaxing and safe. You retain control at all times whilst I lead you to a new positive behaviour.

My usual rate is 200 € for a stop smoking session at my home in Limburg or 350 € in a rented office in Brussels or Antwerpen-Berchem. To encourage smokers to stop, the rate will be 25% off ie 150 € or 262.50 € until end of June 2011.

You can find me here at English Hypnotherapist Belgium

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Visit to the MAS in Antwerp

You may know Antwerp in north Belgium for its diamonds. In fact 70% of the world’s diamonds hail from Antwerp.

It is a vibrant city (population 470,000+) for shopping, fashion, business, culture (theatre, opera, museums) and nightlife. Now there is a new reason to visit.

Antwerp has developed part of its harbour and port area into the fashionable “Het Eilandje” (The Little Island). The centrepiece is the 60 metres high MAS – Museum Aan De Stroom (Museum on the River MAS www.MAS.be) which cost 33.5 million Euros and opened to the public on 13 May with a four-day long festival of dance, theatre, films, tours and free visits to the 10-storey urban icon. The MAS is a collection of 470,000 pieces in permanent museums plus temporary exhibitions eg diamonds and silver, a gift shop and museum square for open-air events or just to rest and watch the world go by. The harbour museum shows a non-stop 360° panorama film of shipping movements in the harbour via webcams. There are plenty of choices for good food and delicious Belgian beers. Don’t miss Felix Pakhuis and Het Duvels Genot.

I took my sons on 15 May. We saw exhibitions containing collections from the city’s museums: Life and Death – myths, religions and the impressive collection of Paul and Dora Janssen-Arts with relics from Latin America; A World Port (fantastic collection of ships); Metropolis; Power & Prestige and a temporary exhibition “Masterpieces in the MAS" (until 30/12/2012) with classical and modern art. There is also a floor of storage showing collections which do not fit into the other exhibitions. Plenty for everyone to see and find their favourites.

On the 9th floor is a viewing platform giving an impressive 360° roof panorama over Antwerp through 6m high glass with the occasional open circle to give the best quality photos.

The building itself is built from hand-cut Indian red stone and designed as a giant storehouse with stacked containers or boxes to create a spiral tour with constantly changing views from the curved glass panels on each floor adjacent to the different museums. 3,000 aluminium hands, the symbol of Antwerp, adorn the stone. It is a striking design.

Antwerp is the second most important port in Europe, after Rotterdam, and the 13th busiest worldwide, handling an average volume of 160 million tonnes of international maritime cargo. Its location 80km inland offers the most environmentally-friendly means of cargo transport saving on the carbon footprint of truck movements. 14,000 ships and 55,000 barges call at Antwerp every year. The River Scheldt has been deepened to give a 15m draft.

The MAS has been built between Antwerp’s two oldest ports which have been totally renovated. There is an inner harbour in Willemdok with a high class of boats. Bonapartedok next door will be a museum dock for historic ships.

Antwerp on Wikipedia

You can also fly to Antwerp (Deurne) from London City or take the Eurostarto Brussels then change and arrive at the truly impressive Antwerp Centraal Station which is right next to the city zoo and round the corner from the Diamond centre. Have a look at the flash mob video on YouTube which took place in the station in 2009 to “Do-Re-Mi” from “The Sound of Music”. This promoted Belgium’s own search for a Maria to star in their Flemish speaking musical.

Antwerp is over 500 years old. Have you visited yet?

© Antonia Harrison 2011

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

TEDxKids in Brussels 1 June 2011

Here is a fantastic initiative - the world premiere of TEDxKids@Brussels taking place on June 1st, 2011 at the St. John's International School in Waterloo, Belgium.

2 events in 1:
48 kids are going to get their hands dirty, soldering, tinkering, hacking, and composing. A series of hands-on workshops led by world-class Mentors will introduce the kids to a range of skills and methods.

Meanwhile, grown-ups will be treated to an all day program of leading thinkers and experts. The line-up of speakers:
Mark Frauenfelder, editor-in-chief of O’ Reilly’s Make Magazine
Hackasaurus, the hardcore of the Mozilla Foundation: Atul Varma, Mozilla’s executive director Mark Surman, and Jessica Klein
Gever Tulley, The Tinkering School
Walter Bender, inventor of OLPC's Sugar system
Ed Baafi, MIT MediaLab who ‘makes almost anything’
Cory Doctorow, Uncompromising Creative Commons blogger
Gabe Zichermann, founder of Gamification
Mysto & Pizzi, East Coast Black Eyed Peas remixers
Jamie Oliver, cook of cooks
Tan Le, maker of Emotiv's brain computer interface
Joris Peels of i-materialise, the global manufacturer of 3D printers
Maarten Fitzgerald Augmented reality researcher and founder of Layar
In addition to giving TED-format talks, they will guide 48 children in a series of hands-on workshops.

David Anderegg (Nerds) and Alyson Schafer (Honey, I Wrecked the Kids) will report live on the workshops to the adult audience. This unique event will be presented by America’s technology diva Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing.

For more information, visit: www.tedxkids.be
Spaces are limited!

Just 48 kids born in 2000. Do you want your kid to participate? Register them here: Register my Kid

Have any questions? Please contact TEDxKids at info@tedxkidsbrussels.eu

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Clean Week 2020 Comes to Circuit Zolder 7-8 May

On Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May 2011 Clean Week 2020 will take place on Circuit Zolder in Bolderberg, 3500 Heusden-Zolder, Limburg.

Clean Week 2020 is the most complete European event for ecological mobility. The programme includes:
- the arrival of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup for cars with less than 115 gr CO2
- the Tesla Gentlemen's Sprint
- the original suncars (zonnewagens) from high schools and universities
- the Day of the Car (De Dag van de Motor)
- the presentation of the Clean Car of the Year 2011 (including the Chevrolet Volt, the Opel Ampera and the Citroen Survolt).

You can see the whole programme on www.circuit-zolder.be and on www.CleanWeek2020.be

You can experience ecological driving for yourself with a test drive (before 15h30) of one of sixty clean cars on the Circuit Zolder.

Reserve your free Luminus testdrive on www.CleanWeek2020.be

There will also be entertainment for everyone including electric quadbikes, demonstrations from the Federal Police and stunt shows. FREE ENTRY.

Full brochure at http://www.cleanweek2020.be/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Nederlandse-folder-20110404.pdf

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bruges 3 Nights For the Price of 2

DFDS Seaways are running a promotion on the Dover-Dunkirk route offering 3 nights in Bruges for the price of 2.

Stay 3 nights for the price of 2! if you arrive on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday between 24 October 2010 and 17 March 2011.

Idyllic walks along misty canal banks; nostalgic rides in open carriages, wrapped up warm in cosy woollen blankets; all rounded off with a top class meal at one of the many gastronomic restaurants. In the crisp air of winter, the historic centre of old Bruges becomes even more romantic, more poetic, more mysterious. It is almost as if the World Heritage city waits for the coolest months, until the large mass of summer visitors has gone, to show its most charming side: a side reserved only for those in the know.

Click here to book your ferry.

Here are some of my own photos taken in winter which shows that even on cloudy days Bruges' beauty shines through:

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Register for the DVV Antwerp 10 Miles & Marathon

Only 12 weeks to go before the start of Flanders' biggest running event! Be sure to join on Sunday 17 April to find out why Antwerp is the running capital of Belgium. In 2010, more than 26,000 runners competed in the different races.

9.30am: DVV Antwerp Marathon
1.00pm: Chiquita Kids Run 1 km (6-12 years old)
1.30pm: DVV Antwerp Short Run 5 km
2.30pm: ASICS Ladies Run 5 km
3.30pm: DVV Antwerp 10 Miles

> Click here to register

10 reasons to choose Antwerp as your spring marathon!
Still deciding which marathon to run in the Spring? Go for the DVV Antwerp Marathon:

1. New, fast and flat course. Measured by the IAAF.
2. Pacemakers for every level: 2.59hrs, 3.15hrs, 3.30hrs, 3.45hrs, 3.59hrs, 4.15hrs and 4.30hrs.
3. Slower runners are also welcome. The time limit is 6 hours.
4. Refreshment stations every 2.5 km (!)
5. Beautiful finish in Antwerp's wonderful Grand Place.
6. Comfortable and sufficient shower capacity, exclusive for marathon runners.
7. Qualitative SportFit T-shirt and beautiful finisher medal for each participant.
8. Only major Runners Expo in Belgium (900 m²) on 23, 24 and 25 April.
9. A free Bolleke De Koninck (Belgian special beer) after the race.
10. According to the international travel guide Lonely Planet Antwerp is one of the most interesting cities in the world. You have 42.195 km to discover it.

Are you already planning your autumn marathon?
Then don't miss the Brussels Marathon & Half Marathon on Sunday 2 October. A fabulous course, refreshment stations every 2.5 km, and the most beautiful finish in the world: the Grand'Place (Market Square).

Still not sure? Read what Katharina Rosenkranz, a 2010 participant, had to say about the experience: "It was a great race today, most of all thanks to the fantastic organization of the event. Everything was perfect from registration to the finish line. Thanks for the water and drinks, the covers to keep us warm at the finish line...and the medal. You have done a great job and made a fantastic race possible."

> Click here to register for the Brussels Marathon & Half Marathon 2011!

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on in Belgium and interesting items about life in this quirky country.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

TedXFlanders in Antwerp on 10 February 2011

I love hearing people share their ideas, creativity, research and basically enlarging our horizons. The best way is to hear speeches at TED conferences.

You can view speeches anytime at TED.com

Here in Belgium we have TedXFlanders, an unofficial TED event which will be held in Antwerp on Thursday 10 February at 20u venue: De Kleine Hedonist, St Jacobsmarkt 34. Free entrance. Usually TED speeches are in English.

This will be a "salon" event to create a pleasant, informal atmosphere allowing more interactivity. The theme is "Time".

Op 10 feburari 2011 zal het eerste TEDxFlanders Salon een feit zijn. TEDxFlanders Salon is voor een kleine groep van TED-fans die samen een boeiend onderwerp gaan exploreren. Dit TEDx Salon zal gebeuren in een gezellige, informele sfeer waardoor er meer interactiviteit mogelijk is dan tijdens de grote TEDx events. Deze salon-edities vinden diverse keren per jaar plaats zodat er ook een echte TEDx gemeenschap kan groeien. Qua flow van de avond is er een korte kadering van het onderwerp en kijken we samen naar een of twee relevant TED-talks. Vervolgens gaan we samen - onder begeleiding van een facilitator - het onderwerp exploreren vertrekkende vanuit een aantal stellingen van de TED-talks aangevuld met eigen ideeen, stellingen, meningen en inzichten. We starten om 20u00 en eindigen rond 21u30 met het TEDx Salon waarna er nog gelegenheid is om na te praten voor de liefhebbers.

Op 10 februari 2010 starten we met het thema 'Tijd'. We laten ons inspireren door een van de TED talks die ons laten zien dat er verschillende vormen van tijd bestaan. Vervolgens gaan we na hoe wij zelf tijd ervaren in deze toch wel kloktijd-gedreven maatschappij. Vragen zoals 'Bestaan er nog andere soorten van tijd?', 'Kunnen we de tijd vertragen en versnellen?' en 'Hoe kunnen we wat vaker in het hier en nu leven?' kunnen denkrichtingen zijn die op het TEDxFlanders Salon aan bod kunnen komen. De begeleiding is in handen van TED-fans Dette Van Zeeland en Cyriel Kortleven.

Source: TedXFlanders

Friday, January 28, 2011

Attitude - Fun for 40 somethings in Brussels

Attitude - our monthly get together for fun -
Friday, February 4, 2011 6:30 PM
The Beer Factory - place du Luxembourg 6 Brussel

A community of people heading towards 40 or have passed 40, looking for life to be less arduous and more delightful. Our social networking involves interesting spaces, good food and drinks, opportunities to dance and the ability to meet new people, and have lots of fun.

We offer an informal get-together, so that you can pop in and out as it suits you. Come and enjoy the vibrant multicultural atmosphere of place du Luxembourg.


The Beer Factory (Brasserie)
Place du Luxembourg 6
1050 Brussels

For more information your host will be Chalks Corriette, do contact him.
Chalks Corriette
Tel: 02.613.2703
Fax: 02.613.2702
Cell: 0478.48.20.23
Email: chalks.corriette@expatica.com
Media Partner; www.expatica.be

Life Is For Loving and Living!
Professional Psychic Reader, Personal Coach and Founder of Professionals' Confidante, Debra C. Burton, MBA, MAP, has given hundreds of accurate, precise, insightful readings to both professional and private clients for many years, professionals-confidante.webs.com.
This special introductory offer provides a great opportunity to move your personal life to the next level!
General Themes
• Career and Finances
• Family and Health
• Year in Overview and | or Specific Questions, etc

Special Introductory Offer
Debra C. Burton is available at Expatica's first Friday of the month 'Attitude' events, offering special 20-30 minute introductory readings! Otherwise, appointments are available via telephone or Skype, accommodated by the coach. Both event and telephony readings are at the
Special Introductory Price: 25€ !
Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity! It's specially priced to assist YOU!
For event appointments, payment is due at the start of the session.
For telephone or Skype appointments, a confirmation e-mail will be sent
to you to discuss appointment details.
Call: +32 (0) 474 311 678 or
E-mail: professionalsconfidante@gmail.com

Belgium's Future in the Fog as Coalition Talks Collapse

Belgium headed for the disreputable record of being the world's country longest without a government on Thursday as a fresh bid to bridge the gulf between the Dutch-speaking north and French south collapsed.

Trapped in its longest political crisis in history, the home of the European Union and NATO woke up to uncertainty after a palace-appointed mediator said efforts to end a deadlock between the two language communities were at a point of no return.

Johan Vande Lanotte, the latest political go-between appointed by King Albert II in Belgium's seven-month crisis, announced late Wednesday he was throwing in the towel as "there's no real perspective of progress."

"I informed the king it was impossible to break this impasse," he said. "I asked to be discharged."

Vande Lanotte, a Flemish socialist who tried for three months to bring the two sides together on a platform to transfer federal powers to the regions, said the king would start new consultations to find a way forward Thursday.

Belgium has been rudderless for more than seven months, holding Europe's record since January as the nation longest without government. Iraq currently holds the world title at over nine months in 2009.

Though a figurehead sovereign, Albert II has named a succession of go-betweens since June 13 elections failed to produce an outright winner -- but none have made headway in efforts to hammer out a coalition government deal.

A caretaker government is in charge of daily business, but as the impasse draws out fears are mounting of a break-up of the country of 11 million.

The crisis is also damaging Belgium's economic outlook, with ratings agencies warning of a downgrade in the absence of a stable government, a prospect that risks dragging the country into the rumbling eurozone crisis.

Belgians have voiced mounting impatience with the politicians as the crisis drags on. Callers shouted their anger on national radio Thursday after Vande Lanotte quit, accusing the country's leaders of being incapable of compromise.

"The End!" the French daily Le Soir said on its front page. "No Compromise, No Country."

The Dutch daily De Morgen titled its edition "Shame," recalling a march under that title organised through Facebook last weekend by 34,000 angry citizens, saying "What do we want? We want a government."

Belgium's political world, said an editorial in Le Soir, "is like a runaway train ignorant of the rest of the world... blind, arrogant, with no interest in the common good."

Among the options left for the king after several envoys have returned empty-handed are to call fresh elections or widen out the talks to other political parties. Seven parties from both sides of Belgium's language divide have been involved in the long talks aimed at agreeing a deal to reform Belgium's federal system.

Flemish separatists emerged the leading party in the June election, with the Dutch-speakers -- who represent 60 percent across Belgium -- demanding more autonomy for their region, notably in fiscal and social policy. But the French-speaking south fears a loss of subsidies for their once wealthy region as well as the start of the break-up of the country.

The current talks were based on a proposal by Vande Lanotte to increase devolution to the country's three regions -- Flanders, Wallonia and bilingual Brussels -- in line with demands by the powerful independence-minded N-VA. The party, representing the wealthier 6.2 million Dutch speakers of Flanders, complains of footing the national bill for the 4.5 million francophones living in the rust belt of Wallonia.

NV-A chief Bart De Wever recently dubbed Belgium a failed state with no future, saying pouring money into Wallonia was "an injection like a drug for a junkie."

Also at the centre of the conflict between Flanders and Wallonia is the fate of the capital, a largely French-speaking city of one million people, with road signs in both languages, located in Flanders.

Source: Expatica