The result is Congo (belge), a success at the Photo Museum in Antwerp, with more than 33,000 visitors so far.
Although it’s easy to enjoy coming face-to-face with De Keyzer’s work, deciphering layers of meaning in each photo, it wasn’t an easy trip for the photographer. The DRC appears to have inherited the Belgian art of bureaucracy, and De Keyzer had to spend many Congolese francs and many hours in waiting rooms to get the right permits.
Most infringements by far took place in the catering trade – hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as take-aways – which accounted for 46% of all “positive checks”. Those are cases where inspectors determined that a breach of employment regulations took place.
Perhaps he has gotten used to the attention that comes with earning a Michelin star. Already at 30, Jason Blanckaert is a chef who makes no apologies.
Blanckaert has been at the helm of C-Jean for a few years now, earning the 25-year-old restaurant a place on the culinary map of Ghent. This fine-dining establishment located near the city’s belfry seats 30 at small, white linen tables, a wall of bottled wine separating the kitchen from the front. The lunch menu is just as small: three starters and three mains, listed on chalkboards.
In the new edition of the map of Brussels, I was delighted to see: “Brussels is ugly, and we love it….So don’t be surprised that we built a terrible apartment block next to an Art Nouveau jewel or a pseudo-classical monster in front of Central Station.”
Back in the US, I would occasionally think back to those Japanese meals while waiting patiently for Wagamama’s brand to expand across the ocean – naturally, now that I live in Brussels, it can indeed be found in Boston, my former home.
But fortunately, among their 37 international locations, one can be found Antwerp.
For my most recent fondue indulgence, I headed to Aalst to visit the Fonduehuisje Le Bourguignon. Open for 12 years, Le Bourguignon specialises in these Swiss-style, cook-it-yourself meals.
Each table features an electric stove in the centre and an exhaust fan overhead. It sounds industrial, but they’ve disguised it in a sleek design. The restaurant is comfortable and modern, featuring chocolatey brown tables and walls, perhaps to tempt you towards dessert.
Which is why TO BE OR NOT TO.be is a very good idea. Six documentaries – three by Dutchspeaking directors and three by French-speaking directors – explore what “Belgium” means and provide some fascinating perspectives on the country’s past, present and future.
Don’t let the silly sunflower signage or the fact that you have to walk through the front bar to get to the restaurant dissuade you. Upon entry, you will immediately be put at ease. The well-balanced combination of modern white tables and walls with rugged wooden floors and flannel-wearing staff makes it clear that this restaurant might be modern, but it is also comfortable.
The event is part exhibition and part arcade; information panels offer answers to all your questions about gaming and enlighten you on the versatile uses of computer games.
There could not be a bigger contrast between the dark and quiet setting of the Kelders and the bright and noisy objects filling them. As soon as I entered, I was welcomed by the eclectic sound of 200 switched-on electronic games. I received a little booklet to guide me through the exhibition and a quiz (that enters me into a prize drawing if I got all the answers right).