On a visit to the Flemish city of Aalst, Derek Blyth discovers a Carnival parade that likes to shock, a priest that took on the factory bosses and a utopian library.
Join us in bidding goodbye to 2022 with seven of the finest stories we published this year about Dutch and Flemish society that are worth re-reading or listening to again.
Tour of Flanders
The Afsluitdijk Wadden Center shows how the 32-kilometre-long dam between the provinces of Noord-Holland and Friesland protects a large part of the Netherlands against flooding.
The proverbial rivalry between the two football teams from Bruges dates back to the end of the 19th century.
Battle for Laughter
On a visit to the Flemish city of Genk, Derek Blyth discovers restored coal mines, cosmopolitan chickens and one of the world’s great love songs.
Why do the eyes of every Belgian football fan shine every time the Red Devils defeat the Dutch team? There is a sporting and historical reason for that.
People all over the world crave a Flemish speculoos biscuit based on wheat flour and candy syrup or caramelised sugar.
Rather than digging in the mud, future archaeologists will work from behind their computers using satellite imagery to detect archaeological sites.
The DNA of the Netherlands
Football is unquestionably big business, but many clubs and organisations also use their popularity to engage in community service projects.
On a visit to the Flemish city of Sint-Niklaas, Derek Blyth discovers the largest market square in Belgium, the biggest cigar in the world and the greatest atlas ever printed.
At the beginning of the First World War, one million Belgians fled to the Netherlands. “More so than the Afghans, Ukrainians now are more similar to Belgian refugees back then.”
Migration offers good pickings for populists, while those who take an honest look at the subject find they are up against a headwind. A double interview with migration specialists.
Writers Ivo Victoria, Sarah Meuleman and Geert Buelens all found it liberating to move to the Netherlands. But it wasn’t long before they encountered the downsides of their destination country.
In both the Netherlands and Belgium, the number of inhabitants from the other country has grown considerably in the past fifteen years.
Is there such a thing as typical Dutch or Flemish humour? And if so, what are the differences and similarities?
On a visit to the Flemish city of Ypres, Derek Blyth discovers a museum dedicated to the horror of war, a beer brewed in an underground fortification and a nightly ceremony that might go on for ever.
From the Haegse Mercury in 1697 to De Speld in 2022: how daring is Dutch satirical news?
Perhaps the most bizarre bridges ever built in the Netherlands can be seen in Spijkenisse.
Humour is right there in the boxing ring of our society. So, there is much more to jokes and witticisms than just getting a laugh. But how does humour relate to power?
On a visit to the university town of Leuven, Derek Blyth discovers one of Europe’s smartest cities, some of Belgium’s best bars and a walk that takes you to the edge of time.