High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

These Are The Stories You Loved Most in 2023

These Are The Stories You Loved Most in 2023

We asked you to name the best stories we have published this year about art, literature, language, history and society in Flanders and the Netherlands. You cast your vote and these are the results by theme.


The Univeral “Belgitude” of Stromae

That Jacques Brel has been an inspiration to him is well-known, but pop star Stromae also has connections to other phenomena and figures from the Belgian collective imagination: from fries and mussels to Maurice Maeterlinck and René Magritte. Stromae expresses and depicts the diversity of Belgian society through the collision of his Belgian-ness and Brussels patriotism with a multitude of diverse perspectives.

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Adopted Memories of Gay Persecution in Nazi Europe

For a long time, the persecution of gay men and women during the Second World War went unrecognised. Meanwhile, the pink triangle became a universal symbol of the havoc caused by homophobia. At Kazerne Dossin in Mechelen, an exhibition highlighted the precarious situation of gays and lesbians in Nazi Germany and the occupied countries of France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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English Books Are Popular With Dutch Speakers. So What?

Is it a good thing that the Dutch and Flemish crack open a huge number of English books every year? At least they’re reading. Or will this trend spell disaster for Dutch publishers, authors and translators? For booksellers and publishers, things are not as bleak as they might seem. For authors and translators, however, it’s a different – less positive – story.

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Why We Will Never Agree About Dutch

Dutch is a multicentric language, that is the consensus propagated by the Dutch Language Union and others. We all speak Dutch, but some of us speak Belgian Dutch, others Netherlandic Dutch, and still others Surinamese Dutch. Linguist Marc van Oostendorp exposes that consensus as a political construct. So, what does that mean for Dutch and the idea of a standard language? How differently do the various countries and regions view our language?

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Peeling the Onion in Aalst

You may know the beautiful art cities Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels. But Flanders also has many other places that are well worth a visit. British journalist Derek Blyth crossed through the provinces and experienced the communities, traditions and sights of smaller towns. On a visit to Aalst, he discovered a Carnival parade that likes to shock, a priest that took on the factory bosses and a utopian library.

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Sacrificial Pigs, Sexy Chickens and Scary Shipworms

What do black chickens have to do with witchcraft? Why were pigs not allowed to walk the streets freely in the Middle Ages? And should we welcome the return of the wolf or not?

In this podcast, we discuss some animals that roamed or still roam in the Low Countries. We will see how the relationship between humans and animals has helped shape local societies and cultures, and how, over the millennia, we have exterminated some animals and invited others into our homes, but also unintentionally had some as very unwelcome guests.

Listen to this podcast on Spotify

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