Crafting a Design Vacation to Belgium


Belgian ambassador to indonesia Patrick Herman resides in his official residence in Menteng, Central Jakarta, with his wife, Siobhan, an english oil-painting artist, and their two young children. Diplomatic postings have given the couple an immense and well-curated collection of sculptures, paintings, furniture and furnishings that adorn the house. Here we chat with the couple over a cup of tea about Belgium design at their residence.

1. What to Drink
From blonde ales, pale lagers to dark, bitter stout; Belgium’s vast range of beer is fit for any drinker’s unique taste. Some
breweries have been in business for centuries, making age-old recipes that both the old and new generations love equally. If you are so inclined, Belgium holds plenty of beer festivals throughout the year.

2. Architectural Style
Started in Belgium in the late 1800s, Art Nouveau was the first artistic movement to show hints of modern day minimalism. The style replaced Impressionism with its linear contours inspired by the organic forms of plants and flowers, as well as elegant, muted colours. Though groundbreaking, Art Nouveau was short-lived and quickly replaced by Art Deco in 1920.

3. Unlikely Art Destination
Galleries and museums aren’t the only places to appreciate art in Belgium. Every summer since 2015, a sea of ravers have made their way to the aptly named city of Boom for the world’s largest, most notable music festival, Tomorrowland. The event boasts 14 stages (on average) with thematic, extravagant stage productions constructed in painstaking detail.

4. Instagrammable Spot
“The Adventures of Tintin” by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi is arguably the world’s most famous comic. In Brussels, plenty of walls have been dedicated to the tow-headed boy and his loyal white Wire Fox Terrier dog. That’s a month worth of Instagram photos in one city alone. As The Telegraph recommends, you can go on guided tours, or visit , select Brussels and drill down through the menus to comic strips.

5. If You Can
Every two years, a marvelous 75-by-24-metre carpet of Begonia flowers covers the courtyard of the Grand Palace. While the central square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is beautiful in its baroque-gothic architecture all year round; during Flower Carpet days, it becomes coloured with over 600,000 flowers. (Belgium is the world’s #1 producer of Begonias).

6. Where to Shop
Also in Brussels is Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a covered shopping arcade with typical symmetrical window displays along a corridor under an arched glass roof. The 19th -century building is now home to a bevy of luxury stores and restaurants.

7. Take Five
On the outskirts of Brussels, Waer Waters is a destination for wellness aficionados. The chlorine-free spa offers an array of saunas and hammamas. Our pick is the Kelo sauna, made from centuries-old, silver-gray pinewood logs.
BONUS Take Away
One of Belgium’s yummiest snacks is the Speculoos shortbread cookie, often served on a tea saucer for breakfast. Recently, Belgians came up with a spreadable version for bread and toasts that makes each bite tear-jerkingly delicious.

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Natasha Gan
Natasha is a writer and a digital marketing professional currently based in Toronto, Canada.