Ostend: A Sea Change

Ostend is different. Other resorts along Belgium’s North Sea coastline are small, touristy places. But Ostend is a real city.


The Lost Highway. Journey along the Kortrijksesteenweg

The plan was to drive from Ghent to Kortrijk on the old Kortrijksesteenweg. Houses in various eclectic styles, hypermarkets, car showrooms, roadside brothels, bars and forgotten hotels, churches and a statue of a caribou perced on a rock. ...


Along the Belgian Coast in a Streetcar named Desire

The author sets off on the longest tram ride in the world, all the way along the Belgian coast from De Panne to Knokke: 67 kilometers, 68 stops. A strip of fantasies. Now and then he gets out of the vehicle to glance at a nudist beach, a f...


The Ghost Village

Derek Blyth ends up in a deserted village that refuses to die.


Home Sweet Caravan

Derek Blyth hits the road in a very Dutch phenomenon, the caravan.


The End of Melancholy. Mechelen Revisited

It's early morning in Mechelen and the streets are empty. Derek Blyth is looking forward to wandering down the cobbled lanes, looking inside gothic churches, passing some time in the municipal museum, and ending up, as everyone does, in one...


Hasselt: The Taste of the City

In Hasselt there's no big square, no great art collection, none of the sense of ancient history you feel in nearby towns like Tongeren or Maastricht. Yet it's somehow quietly appealing. At the end of his day in Hasselt, Derek Blyth took a f...


Love in a Cold Climate. Dangerous Liaisons in the Low Countries

Some people have gone to France or Italy in search of passionate romance, but others have fallen hopelessly in love in the unpromising dampness of the Low Countries. The stories of James Boswell and Belle van Zuylen, Charlotte Brontë and he...


Of Rabbits and Queens. The Hardship and Bliss of Learning Dutch

To the author, it is impossible to imagine living in the Low Countries without talking Dutch. Deprived of the Dutch teaching he had as a native speaker of English, he would remain baffled by Dutch street names, like Beenhouwersstraat, Hands...


Let There Be Light. Discovering Eindhoven

Back in the 1880s, when Van Gogh was plodding through the Brabant potato fields, Eindhoven was just a small Catholic town. Now it is the fifth largest city in the Netherlands, with an acclaimed modern art museum and a world-class design ac...


Middelburg. The Town in the Middle

When I visited Middelburg for the first time, back in the early 1980s, the town was an old-fashioned, religious place. It was a Sunday and everything was closed, except for the churches, which were full. It felt twenty years behind Amsterd...


From Saint Arnold to Burp Castle. Beer in Flanders

Beer drinking in Flanders goes back a long way. The rich heritage of Flemish beer used to be a well-kept secret, but the efforts of café owners and writers have helped to promote the image of Flemish ales. As word gets around, the names of ...



British journalist Derek Blyth travels through the Low Countries and stops in cities that are worth visiting. Each time he looks at the place and its inhabitants through curious glasses.


The L-Spot

You think you know Flanders and the Netherlands. But take it from us, you haven’t seen anything yet. British journalist Derek Blyth takes you on micro adventures to L-Spots, hidden and exciting places in the Low Countries.

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