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8th July 2014

Press News from Flanders – June 2014

Summer is here and festival season has already begun in Flanders. This month we bring news of a number of exciting press openings and opportunities in the coming months. Looking at what they do in Flanders best, we have some great fine art, beer and cycling events to look forward to! In a new major exhibition being held at the BOZAR in Brussels this September, we’ll be celebrating the opening “Sensation and Sensuality – Rubens and his Legacy”, which will eventually be coming to the Royal Academy in London early next year. On a different note, we’ll also be celebrating beer in Leuven with the “Brussels Beer Challenge” at the end of October. Meanwhile, Ypres is bracing itself for its role as cycling host at the Tour de France on the 9th July. Look out for some new attractions opening like the Bruges Beer Museum and hear all about “The Art of Chocolate” event we are hosting in September. Enjoy!

General News

Bruges Beer Museum – Opening 5th July 2014

Bruges now has another landmark to add to its great repertoire of museums and attractions. The Bruges Beer Museum opens its doors to the public and its new website will be live in early July. Located on the Market square the three storey museum will include a tasting room for up to 200 visitors as well as two other floors of interactive features. Visitors will be given an Ipad Mini on arrival for a specially created audio-tour in ten different languages. Its interactive tour includes quizzes and has a specially adapted tour for kids, including a story written by award winning book artist, Peter Verhelst.

New Visitors Guide for the St Bavo’s Cathedral – Ghent

A new visitor guide has been developed to take visitors through twelve centuries of history at the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent. The tour starts with the oak entrance portal and then stops at one of the masterpieces of the church: the massive pulpit by Laurent Delvaux from the 18th century in Italian marble and Danish oak. It leads onto a visit of the eight chapels of the nave and the work of Paul Rubens at the Entry of St. Bavo in the monastery. The guide also descends into the beautiful crypt of the cathedral, where various church treasures can be admired. Its final tour takes visitors to the famous Ghent Altarpiece, the major work that is inseparable from the cathedral. Price: €12

Magritte Museum celebrates its fifth Anniversary! – Brussels

In June 2009, the Musée Magritte Museum opened its doors to the public. Five years later, more than 1.5 million visitors have admired the largest collection in the world of Magritte’s works and the museum continues to enjoy international acclaim.

Brussels Card 2014-15 additional features added

The Brussels card is an essential tourist tool to access the Capital cities best attractions, museums and public transportation system. Valid for up to 24,48 or 72 hours, it also offers discounts on restaurants, shops and attractions in Brussels. From June, the card allows free access to 32 museums (2 new ones have been added: FIN-DE-SIECLE Museum and the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts) and discounts for 33 attractions, restaurants, cafés and shops (it adds 4 new discounts, including the “14-18, it’s our history!” exhibition).

Art and Culture

Sensation and Sensuality – Rubens and his Legacy

25th September 2014 – 4 January 2015 – BOZAR Brussels

Rubens was a powerful creator of images who influenced artists from his time and indeed for centuries to come. Van Gogh, Van Dyck, Jordaens as well as Gainsborough, Piccasso and Klimt were just some of the artists he influenced. The exhibition in Bozar will feature at least 150 exception loans and will concentrate on six themes, Violence, Lust, Power, Elegance, Compassion and Poetry. This exceptional collection will open at the London’s Royal Academy early next year after its opening in Brussels in September. In March next year, Rubens House in Antwerp will also host a separate exhibition entitled “Rubens and his Legacy” (28 March to 28 June 2015)- focusing on portraiture and will include loans from Alte Pinakothek in Munich, the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London.

VISITFLANDERS will be hosting a press trip to review the Sensation and Sensuality exhibition on 25th -26th September 2014. Press are invited to a two day tour in Brussels and Antwerp featuring many aspects of Rubens work and of course the main exhibition at the BOZAR. Opportunities are available to press to participate in the new Rubens tour in Antwerp, themed by seven capital sins and virtues namely: pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. For more information about participating, please contact us.


17-26 October 2014 – Kortrijk

The Biennale Interieur is a design event with a hybrid mix of commerce & culture. It takes place at the Kortrijk Xpo fairground and at the Buda Island in the historical city centre. 300 international design brands attend the event and the event is easy to reach via Lille on Eurostar.

Design September 2014

9th – 30th September 2014 – Brussels

The city of Brussels gears itself for another three week design bonanza in its annual Design September festival once again. Various events take place but for the weekend of the 14th – 15th September, about 100 professionals and design fans will display their furniture and objects from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beginning of the 80’s in a vintage market. The market takes place in the impressive Tours and Taxis, Old Maritime Station and welcomes a mix of antique buyers, visitors and locals. So save the date! (High Res images are available on request).

Building in Tears – Various locations in Leuven

Until 01 September 2014

Leuven started its commemoration of WWI, early this year with its “Ravaged” exhibition, however it continues to offer some other inspiring WW1 themed projects in an open air exhibition called ‘Building in tears’. Unique life-size photos taken from different locations in Leuven represent the fire and the destruction of Leuven, that took place in August 1914. A free booklet, available from the tourist office can be collected to guide visitors around this city exhibition.

The Paintstroke

29th June -2nd October 2014 Museum of Dienze – East Flanders

The Biennale of painting is always a subjective research into a certain number of modus operandi by painters during the last century. Every two years museum Dhont Dhaenens selects a certain starting point to approach painting in an original manner. For the first time the ‘Museum van Deinze en de Leiestreek” will participate in an exhibition next to the “Raveelmuseum” and the “Museum Dhont-Dhaenens”. It will be dedicated to the concept of “texture” and the “materiality” of the painting. The exhibition will explore the physical building stones and the sensory sensations that are the result of this way of painting . Elements that will be analysed are the stroke (the way paint is applied but also the typical gesture that distinguishes every painter), the support of the painting (panel, canvas, paper, metal glass, wall…), the nature and composition of the paint (oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolour, industrial paint…) or other materials that are used to paint (mud, paper, light, beams,). A combi ticket for the three museums (inclusive of visitor’s guide and bicycle map) costs € 12,

Rock Werchter – Art Project

Werchter – near Leuven

The festival of Rock Werchter is one of Belgium’s premier music festivals due to take place (3-6 July). As a total contrast, the organisation has launched an innovative art project featuring Belgian artist Arne Quinze. Three sea containers will be errected and tagged by Belgian and international street artists , Arne Quinze will curate this project. A DJ-booth and dance floor will be installed where festival revelers can hang out during the festival and after gigs, as an open air” chill out” corner.The art work will remain in an open air expo after the festival is over with the aim to keep the containers permanently on the site open for visitors, throughout the year. It will become a permanent landmark in the green district of Werchter (located nearby Leuven). For more information click here . For more information :Facebook and YouTube

Versalius – Unravelling the Body. The Theatre of Anatomy – Museum M

Leuven – 1st October 2014

To mark the quincentenary of Vesalius’s birth, the city of Leuven is offering a wide-ranging programme of cultural, academic and tourist events in the autumn of 2014. The commemoration of Vesalius gives Leuven a unique opportunity to showcase its character, both at home and abroad, as a centre of knowledge and a city with a vibrant heritage. In this new exhibition the M Museum not only highlights Vesalius the historical individual but also examines how, through the centuries, the image of the human body was clearly influenced by his work and the anatomical tradition developed after his example. The exhibition focuses on the artistic conventions in anatomical prints, the architecture and setting of anatomical theatres, the moralizing discourse on the ideal body, and the rise of modern physical culture.

Visit Flanders in association with Visit Leuven will be inviting press to visit the opening of this programme and in particular, to the opening of the exhibition at the M-Museum. Please contact us if you would like to attend.

Ghent Light Festival – Ghent

Various Locations – 29th Jan -1st Feb 2015

A triennial festival, The Ghent Light festival takes place early in 2015 and puts Ghent’s internationally acclaimed light plan in the “spotlight”. International Light artists visit the city and create a lighting extravaganza at various locations around the city. Historical sites and monuments are lit up in ingenious ways and an extended light “path” is planned this year. The last festival was in 2012, so expect a bigger show this time!

Gastronomy and Beer

“The Art of Chocolate” event – @ The Speciality Food Fair

Press Invitation – 8th September 2014, Olympia London

VISITFLANDERS in association with Flanders Investment and Trade, will be hosting a one day press event at the Speciality Food Fair in London’s Olympia this September. The show, well recognised in the food industry, also incorporates the Chocolate Fair in the three day event. For one day only (Monday 8th September) VISITFLANDERS will host a special event in which chocolatier, Peter Messely in the adjoining Pillar Hall at Olympia, will be demonstrating innovative uses of chocolate using local Belgian produce and a few unusual combinations, including the use of beer as well as a few other ingredients! Press are warmly invited to join us during Peter’s demonstration, as well as getting the opportunity of meeting some top Belgian Chocolatiers who will be attending. Perfect (advanced) timing for National Chocolate Week 13th -19th October 2014 ! Press interested in attending and a subsequent chocolate themed Press trip, please contact us.

Brussels Beer Challenge

30th October – 2nd November 2014 – Leuven

Now celebrating its third anniversary, this international event will take place in Leuven, the beer city par excellence! This perfect venue is blessed with a noble and ancient brewing tradition and makes an ideal host city for this professional beer contest.Over the course of two days a tasting panel of 60 international renowned beer connoisseurs will taste 750 beers from all over the world. The participating beers are divided into categories and evaluated and based on origin, typicity, and style. At the end of the two tasting days, the best beers, in each category, will be awarded a gold, silver or bronze award. This professional beer competition is a unique opportunity for all beer producers to compete with the best international and Belgian brewers.

Press are cordially invited to take part in this unique beer experience which include visits to De Hoorn, meet the VIP panel of judges as well as visiting some iconic Leuven landmarks like the Stella Artois brewery, and the Haacht brewery. Other visits include Brewery De Kroon in Neerijse . The press trip will also include the announcement of the winning beers. Please contact us for more information about attending this prestigious event. For more information about the event see the following links:

The Chiltern Brewery – launches its new Flanders Pale Ale- 29th July 2014

The acclaimed CAMRA Good Beer Editor and writer Roger Protz has worked with the Chiltern Brewery in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire to produce an innovative new Flanders Pale Ale to commemorate the Centenary of the Great War. Presented in a champagne style bottle, the Ale is made from Belgian hops from Poperinge ( just behind the original Front line) and will be a strong pale ale, around 6.5% ABV, that will re-ferment inside the bottle. Available from the brewery shop, it will also be available online too. The brewery also hopes to export the beer to Belgium too. For more information about the beer and Roger’s collaboration, click on this link.

Restaurant Hertog –Jan re-opens 22 July 2014 in Bruges

The Michelin 3* restaurant Hertog Jan re-opens in July. Led by respected chefs Gert De Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens its re-opening is being marked by a celebration re-launch. The restaurant is also voted 65th on the San Pellegrino-list of Best restaurants.

‘In the Wulf’ , Kobe Desramaults voted best restaurant in Europe by OAD

The website Opinionated About Dining (OAD) announced its list of the 100 best restaurants in Europe earlier this month. The result, drawn from the opinion of 4,300 diners who contributed to food blogger Steve Plotnicki’s annual survey, voted top European restaurant of 2014 to the restaurant ‘In the Wulf’ in Dranouter (part of Heuvelland in West Flanders) . The restaurant already has a one Michelin star rating and is run by chef Kobe Desramaults. The restaurant, which uses locally sourced and foraged foods, creates dishes like lamb with wild garlic and scallion and crab with green asparagus and lovage. Last year, it was ranked at fifth spot and now overtakes Restaurant Quique Dacosta in Denia, Spain.

Sense-sational Mechelen Guide

‘Sense-sational Mechelen’ is the name of Tourism Mechelen’s latest publication. It is a journey through the senses of the city, its sights, sounds and tastes.It allows visitors to smell, feel and taste their way through the city independently and at their own pace. The ‘Sense-sational Mechelen’ guide comes with a book of vouchers at six typical Mechelen food and drink outlets. Including a sample beer at Het Anker brewery, hand-made pralines at a chocolatier’s and a cone of chips with mayonnaise at a typical Belgian chip stall to name a few.


Tour De France – Visiting Ypres 9th July 2014

Following its start in Yorkshire the Tour de France makes some interesting deviations this year. On the route this year are key WW1 sites such as Arras and Ypres. Legendary Flemish Flandrian, Eddy Merykx will attend the opening day in Ypres on 9th July 2014. The city hosted the EU summit leaders only last week and has been a popular destination for world media in recent months. The first 6km of the race will take cyclists on a trail through this historic city.