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When Place Lux got a taste of Flanders...

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17:06 07/10/2013

As an expat living in Brussels, I have to confess I don’t know a huge amount about Flanders other than the normal tourist trail such as Ghent and Bruges and shopping in Antwerp. Flemish public service broadcaster VRT identified a need to do more for people like myself and, as a result, has launched a new website and television programme, Fans of Flanders, aimed at international people based in Belgium - specifically Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region.

The weekly television show and website help explain Flanders to those not originally from the region, including exploring daily life and the quirks of the Flemish – all in a light-hearted way. It includes suggestions on how to fill your leisure time, glimpses into history and attempts to explain Flemish society.

Last Thursday Fans of Flanders organised a beer tasting on Place Luxembourg (or should I say ‘Luxemburgplein’) to advertise the show and give people a chance to try some Flemish beer. As well as the free beer – surely a sign the organisers know how to attract at least the expats who frequent Place Lux on a Thursday – there was also a competition to win a city trip for two to Flanders and details of the website and scenes from the television show.

The tasting was hosted from a very cool converted VW Camper Van, customised to have beer on tap and a picnic area. The beers were Kwaremont, Oesterstout and Paternoster Tripel – which meant that they were not only free, but also a new experience for me at least. As well as the Flemish beers from the camper van, Fans of Flanders also offered beer from one of their partner bars around the square.

As can be expected, the event proved extremely popular and lots of people showed an interest not just in the free beer but also in the show and website. It was a truly great launch and ,by choosing to be on Place Lux on a Thursday, Fans of Flanders have shown a keen awareness of their target market of expats.

Many thanks to Stephanie Summers at Fans of Flanders for the photos

Written by Ben Reilly