- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
The Bulletin at 60: The country’s oldest English-language publication celebrates six decades of reporting on Belgium
Today, we celebrate the 60th birthday of The Bulletin, one of Europe’s oldest English-language publications. Born in an Uccle basement, The Bulletin has proved to be an enduring brand.
The story of how one woman and her typewriter launched an eight-page newsletter for Brussels’ anglophone community in 1962 has long been a legend. With the passing of each landmark anniversary, a special edition of the magazine has honoured that matriarch, Monique Ackroyd, and the family publishing business that she founded. At its peak, Ackroyd Publications employed 30 full-time staff and a pool of freelance writers and photographers. The roll call of contributors over the years is a who’s who of Brussels journalists and influencers.
Coming full circle
When I joined The Bulletin in 2005, the magazine was still a family affair where staff would often bring their dogs and their children to the office. A mix of strong personalities ensured a lively atmosphere, and there was always a sense of The Bulletin’s place at the heart of the international community.
While The Bulletin’s official parties became legendary, we also loved to get together for a celebration at the office, whether it be for Christmas, a national holiday such as Saint Patrick’s Day, or a colleague clocking up 20 years’ service.
From our spacious extended townhouse in Uccle’s Chaussée de Waterloo, we would grumble about being stuck out in the suburbs. Inevitably, this location was soon lamented once we moved to an industrial estate in Groot-Bijgaarden following Ackroyd’s acquisition by Flemish publishing giant Corelio (now Mediahuis) in 2007.
That move brought the company a long-overdue technological overhaul, and it also led to numerous re-branding exercises. For many years, Ackroyd Publications’ editorial titles – by now including Newcomer, Best of Belgium, Expat Directory and Business Guide – were bolstered by contract publications such as Flanders Today, Wallonia&Brussels (WaB) and Expat Time.
In some ways, the subsequent return to independent ownership at the beginning of 2022 sees The Bulletin come full circle. While Monique Ackroyd had a creative vision in launching her newsweekly, she showed considerable drive and ambition to make it such a success. In her own words, “I had to make The Bulletin work.”
Writing the next chapter
Flicking through previous issues in The Bulletin’s extensive archives is both fascinating and intimidating. Photos of Monique dressed up for a party, alongside Belgian jazz legend Toots Thielemans and politicians and heads of state, from Ted Heath to Jimmy Carter and Belgian royals, are testament to The Bulletin's reputation and its founder's confidence and charm.
In its heyday, it was a must-read for internationals in Belgium, whether they were newcomers, lifers or tourists. Underpinning The Bulletin’s reporting has always been a deep appreciation for Belgium’s culture and history, an impartial view of its frequently complicated politics, and a healthy lack of reverence for its traditions.
Another common thread has been our mission to help foreigners in Belgium understand and appreciate their host country – while also exercising their voice as an increasingly influential sector of the population, particularly in Brussels.
The challenge we face now is keeping that mission alive while preserving an accessible service for readers. Despite the limitations, I’m determined to ensure the voice of Belgium’s international community continues to be heard. It deserves representation, and there needs to be a recognition that resident non-Belgians have a valid contribution to cultural and political life here.
That’s why The Bulletin still needs support from readers. We want to hear about your experiences of integration and your opinions on the local issues that matter to you. This could be about Brussels’ Good Move mobility plan or campaigns for voting rights. What are your recollections of The Bulletin over the years? Did you write or feature in an article, or maybe you sent us a letter? You can email us at email@example.com
We look forward to hearing from you, and to forging a new chapter in The Bulletin’s long and eventful history together!
Photos: (main image) The Bulletin 1992 30th anniversary cover; The Bulletin's second newsletter in 1962; illustration by Myriam Deru for The Bulletin's 30th anniversary