The Cool House: belgium
Showing posts with label belgium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label belgium. Show all posts

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ceci n'est pas un musée

Well not quite yet anyway but in six short weeks the long awaited Magritte Museum will open in Brussels. In somewhat surreal fashion the website is still under construction but there is a link to this fantastic video that shows the stately Beaux-Arts Museum as well as the virtual Magritte Museum.
Visitors to The Cool House may get a clue how much I love Magritte's art, and I've been to many retrospectives that brought together paintings from all over the world but this museum will house the largest single collection of his work - more than 170 paintings - as well as letters, photographs and films.

The Musée Magritte Museum opens June 2 2009 in the former Hotel Altenloh, a neo-classical building on Place Royale, Brussels. Tickets can be reserved now: by email or phone: +32 (0)2/508 33 33.

I'll be there as soon as possible.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Nature's Bounty

We have visitors over from Belgium who looked at the above plate of apples and walnuts and wanted to know a) why the apples were so shiny and b) what those nuts were. The shiny apples I could understand because apples over there never shine unless you polish them on your sweater. Even though these are organic they look fake. But the walnut thing had me confused for a second, after all they have have walnuts in Belgium, we used to have a walnut tree in our garden. Then I got it. These walnuts have been washed and dried, whereas back in Europe we used to gather them when they had fallen while they are black and softish. Then we were reminded that it is mushroom gathering season in the woods and the Foret de Soignes is full of Portobello mushrooms. Sob. And it is wild game season, too. Grouse anyone?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Ready for a little bit of Belgium? Come on, you know you are. It's a grainy video but the tune gets into your brain and before you know it you are singing
We've got to sing this song
It takes us way too long
We've got to sing out of key"

Hooverphonic, 2002

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nul points*

Even united by a made-up language Belgium can't win. Last night was the first semi-final of The Eurovision Song Contest and Belgium failed to qualify for Saturday's final. So sad, so cruel.
Don't despair, through the power of the internets I bring you Ishtar with O julisi na jalini, the official entry of my adopted country. It sounds like a mash-up of Steeleye Span (Gaudete, anyone?) and The Smurfs. No really.
Click if you dare and remember Belgium is the home of the surreal.

Special bonus video: Father Abraham and The Smurfs

I always thought he said "Fruit Smurf begins" now I realise it's "Flute Smurf". Oh the power of youtube!

*translation here

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's a long way to go

This is the Easter egg I wanted yesterday. The one on the left. From my favorite chocolate shop in the world L'Art du Paslin, Wavre, Belgium. Third-generation handmade chocolates, the best ingredients: butter, cream and of course dark, milk and white chocolate. What could be more perfect? The smell, the rich, chocolatey smell of the pralines, that's the only thing that's missing from the video below.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Don't forget your breakfast

Happy Dag van de Sint!
Tonight in the Netherlands and tomorrow in Belgium is the time when all good children get their presents fron St Nicholas (Sinterklaas) and bad children get a whip from Black Pete's (Zwarte Piets) switch.
I usually don't start any Xmas shopping, baking (except for Xmas pudding) or decorating (except for the wreath) until we've done Sinterklaas, but as there are no children in the house this year I began early. To celebrate I made some speculaas. You would not believe how good the kitchen smells with the butter, molasses and spices.

I also collected holly, spruce, fir and pinecones and made some decorations for the light posts on the drive.

And finally, a reminder that a hearty breakfast sets you up for the whole day, here for your audio/visual pleasure is DJ Nicky & Ontbijt Piet with a special Sinterklaas version of "Jump de Hele Dag": "Vergeet je Ontbijt Niet" (Don't forget your breakfast) courtesy of Verity in Brussels. You have been warned!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Schmapped again

I've been Schmapped again, this time for the Brussels edition. It's great that my considerable ahem photographic skills are once again recognized, though I can't think why they didnit choose this one entitled "Man with Cell Phone and Strange Blue Dot"

Place St Catherine

or even this piece of art, "Girl with Cell Phone and Shopping Bag"

Place St Catherine

at least this one is in focus (almost)

Place St Catherine

Surreal Spring time on the Place St Catherine/Sint-Katelijneplaats, Brussels, May 2007.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Name That Room

One of the differences between Europe and America is what we call the rooms in our houses. Actually, the first difference is that Europeans call it a house, Americans call it a home, but further than that we (I am a European living in the US) tend to have fewer rooms and less creative names for them. For example in Belgium the typical house has a living room, a dining room (or a large living/dining room), a kitchen, a bathroom, a shower room and three or four bedrooms. Some houses may have an office, basement or rarely a playroom but generally you know what your getting.
When we first looked at property here we were confronted with terms like EIK. I phoned my American friend but she was no help, apparently they either don't have eat in kitchens on Cape Cod or this abbreviation gained popularity only after she left the US. And I still don't know what the difference is between an EIK and a kitchen with a breakfast nook. I was familiar with the term "den" from American TV shows but I thought it had to be practically windowless and have knotty pine paneling and I never knew what you were supposed to do there that you couldn't do in a living room.
Then there's the Great Room. I call the room in the middle of my house the great room because it has a great big ceiling but the previous owner called it the living room. The room where we do most of our "living" ie vegging in front of the TV, she called the den but it is full of light. Our neighbors watch TV in the Media Room; it's dark and windowless but please don't call it a den. I'm confused.
This posting was inspired by an email from Dream Home Source that features a room I had never heard of before: The Gathering Room. I have an idea that each morning the family gathers in The Gathering Room and picks out a room that they will occupy for the rest of the day so that they do not have to interact with the other family members. Although it has its attractions this doesn't win the prize for the oddest named room. In my opinion that goes to Home Plan 18913 that has a something called "Future Quarters". Any clue, anyone?
I love Dream Home Source. One of the search options you can use is "Secret Room". Isn't that the best? And one last question: if you have a Media Room, an Exercise Room and a Billiards Room, what the hell do you need a Bonus Room for?