Monthly Archives: May 2009

Magritte zum Dritten

There was astonishingly little information available about the opening of the Magritte museum. Maybe the organisers were afraid of too many people coming because, except this lack of information, the opening yesterday was absolutely great:

  • Paintings of Magritte brought alive in various forms
  • Magritte ‘man’ dressed in awfully warm black coats giving very funny performances
  • Other ‘living’ paintings distributing green apples
  • The whole place Royale decorated in Magritte
  • French and English chanson music going perfectly with the performances
  • The Bozar museum being for free
  • The Magritte museum being for free*

* Though tickets for all the slots until 20:00 were gone by 2 in the afternoon, the square itself wasn’t overly full. I didn’t get one, obviously but with an afternoon sun such as we had it yesterday, being inside was not really an option, no matter what for…


I love marshmallows

A great, hilarious video from TED. Only that I failed to embed it in this post; tried 4 times though…

Any way, having to wait 15 minutes to get 2 marshmallows instead of 1 doesn’t seem fair to me. If you’d give me 10 instead of one, then we can talk. I think these experiments underestimate the pleasure of immediate gratification. And I still got a university diploma…

Offensive truth?

No style no glory

I saw this poster in Brussels a couple of weeks ago but before I could take a picture, it had disappeared. On Sunday, I saw another one in a Namur. It is an ad for an exhibition and though  it might be offensive to some, I think that whoever did it, has a point here.

If ever this upsets you, please complain to “We love moules & frites“; which, no matter the content, is a very cool name for a blog.


25° and bright sunshine would make me love almost any city in the world. And not only the weather was great yesterday when we went to visit Namur with a couple of friends but there was also a street art festival with some entertaining performances.

Namur as such is a nice little city and the capital of Wallonia. For a capital, there is not an awful lot to see but it is pretty. We went straight from the station to the church St. Loup, following the book one of the best preserved baroque churches in Belgium and, guess what, it’s closed for restoration…

After a short stop by the cathedral – open but not overwhelming and lunch, we went to a monastery which, in a small room of maybe a 10m² has an impressive collection of goldsmith works from the 13th century. It is inpronounceably called Le trésor du prieuré d’Oignies but guided by a very friendly sister, I learned more about goldsmith techniques in an hour than in my entire life.

To see this treasure together with the almost two hour walk up and down the Citadelle and the beer on a lively square before going back to Brussels  definitely made the the visit worth while. Besides the amazing sunshine, obviously. A conseiller!

A blogger’s duty

In the last few weeks, the search result “Magritte Museum” became the most important one through which people come to my blog. That’s why, I thought to let you know that the new Magritte Museum in Brussels will be opened on May 30.

Not really more information on

Only downside: I liked the building much better when it was under construction. In my point of view, it should be painted permanently in Magritte.

I disagree

Otto von Bismarck once said: Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”

I grew up on a farm where once a year, usually in January, we would kill a pig and make our own sausages. My sister and I were both fascinated by this process and we were encouraged not only to watch but also to help.

Sausages are like any other product – you get out what you put in. You have to use good basic elements like the meat, the spices, the onions, a bit of brandy, some bread. The butcher coming to my parents place had 30 years of experience and knew to put the right quantity at the right moment to get the best quality at the end. It was more than interesting to watch and even better to taste.

To come back to the quote, I think the improved version (and reality of the law and sausage making process) is: “Laws are like sausages, it should be delightful to see them being made but most of the time it’s not.”

Beware the nationality

If you have food or other stuff accompanied by ‘national’ adjectives, you can be almost sure that they won’t be called this way in the country they apparently come from. Examples?

  • Lait russe (Russian milk) – A kind of Latte macchiato sold in Belgium
  • Cuisine américaine (American kitchen) – an open space kitchen like in Friends
  • Salade macédoine (macedonian salad) – a salad mixing all kinds of vegetables, served with majonaise
  • to be continued

Exception confirming you know what: German shepherd (Deutscher Schäferhund, berger allemand)

I love having a blog for this kind of deep thoughts and knowledge insights.

Never ending story

After I silently agreed with the local administration, that I never left the area I live in, the nice lady at la maison communale today sent me back to the foreigner service to get my residency card. I waited one hour while studying the different ways people deal with frustration*.

When it was finally my turn, I was told that I had to make a demand for a new residency card as I lost the old one. I didn’t – I had to hand it in the commune Forest where I never lived according to Ixelles. To make the demand for the new one I needed the one document I did not have with me – my job contract.

Next try: Monday morning.

* Apathy, murderous feelings and desperation were written clearly on the faces of those standing in line behind a guy who after 30 minutes still wouldn’t understand that the passports for his kids were not ready. The fact that the admin kept on repeating “not ready” in French which the guy clearly didn’t understand, wasn’t helpful either. When I left, voices started raising.

Administrative logic

After waiting patiently for 2 months, I finally went to register in my new commune – foreigner service. After waiting another 20 minutes, I was told by a look on my papers and on the computer that I was in the wrong service. As I never left Ixelles, I had to go to la maison communale. Pardon me?

Following the registre national, I never lived in Forest; I’m registered in Ixelles since September 2007. That I have papers from Forest saying the contrary, doesn’t matter. It is not in the registre national, so it can’t be true.

To be honest, I kept my protest to a minimum. If it is fine for the administration, it is fine for me – I don’t think it makes any difference. And the papers? Well, they must have come from some paralell universe in which I lived in Forest for five months but in this one – dominated by the undoubtable logic of la commune d’Ixelles – I didn’t.

Des fois, il ne faut pas chercher à tout comprendre.


One of the most challenging aspects of combating climate change will be to change daily habits. People in Europe, the States and a growing number of other countries can afford to eat meat on a daily basis. Not that everybody does but the figures for meat consumptions are increasing continuously.  Only that agriculture and livestock breeding – especially beef – contributes to a huge amount to climate change.

Change can be as easy as limiting meat in the daily nutrition which has also other benefits. However, change isn’t easy and usually doesn’t happen over night. The city of Ghent is making the step for its’ civil servants and school children. I’m curious to see the follow-up article on the reaction of the volunteers.

* Mahlzeit, bon appetit, enjoy your meal