‘Tjoolen’ – a West-Flemish word that means ‘to wander’ – is exactly what Niels Van Herck’s blog and travel style is all about. Jump into the adventure and see where it takes you. No meticulously worked out itineraries, no luxury resorts or spas. You’ll want to look to Niels for off-the-beaten-track travel tips, tricks and stories; the more surprising or bizarre, the better. A visit to Tjoolaard can easily turn into hours of tickling your inner traveler spirit and, before you know it, you might just find yourself with backpack and plane ticket in hand.
Anke schrijft het neer
Anke is funny. At least that’s what Kate Nash told her, and we happen to concur. She has a list of people that aren’t welcome to her funeral and has tried to cut her hair while drunk. So yes, funny. But also brutally honest, vulnerable and ready to spill her guts on the page. Combine her philosophical musings on the life of a twenty-something freelance writer and general societal concerns with illustrations by The Pencils of Eline, and you’ve got an intensely personal, witty blog that feels more like reading a diary. Her post on body-shaming, Dik.Lelijk.Wijf., was shared so widely it’s now also the name of her debut book.
New Places To Be
People whose hearts go aflutter when discovering a hip new coffee bar or lunch place, this one’s for you. Dedicated to all locations hip and trendy is Belgium’s resident ‘independent hot spot guide’, Newplacestobe. Whether it’s a former art school turned hotel in Brussels, a pop-up cocktail hangout in Ghent or fine dining in Antwerp neigborhood ‘t Zuid, editor-in-chief Eline Van de Gehuchte and her team are always on the hunt to bring you new places shining in concept, style and execution.
Alle dagen honger
The same rule applies to visiting Alle dagen honger as does going to the supermarket: don’t even think about trying it on an empty stomach. The mouth-watering pictures and recipes on this blog will no doubt turn your belly’s faint rumble into a full-fledged roar. The wholesome foodie trio Johanna, Barbara and Mayken have been exclaiming their love for a simple and honest kitchen with artisanal produce for over four years now, and they make some outstanding – not to mention tasty and expertly photographed – arguments.
Ljosmyndun – meaning photography in Icelandic – is the blog of Thomas Smolders, a new-media journalist and opinionated fellow. While his blog originally gained traction when he went on a quest to interview his artistic heroes, Ljosmyndun has since grown into a home for Thomas to eloquently speak his mind, even about the Belgian blogosphere itself. If you’re looking for a guy who can turn the creation of a popular Pokémon Go Facebook page with a bunch of friends into a thoughtful critique of the current journalistic climate without blinking an eye, Thomas is your man.
Sensitive souls be warned, Poepeklets is not your average blog adhering to Belgium’s general proprietous manners. Incredibly sleek, with its abundance of white space and complete lack of pictures, it’s a platform dedicated to love, partnership and sexuality. Amidst all the online journals dedicated to fashion, lifestyle and personal growth – however valuable and fun those are – Poepeklets’ contributors, writing in both Dutch and English, are refreshingly candid about their sex lives. While posts may come some months apart, Kenny, Mary-Ann and David remain fighting tooth and nail to bring sex positivity to Belgium (which is still quite repressed in this area).
Een uffra met een pitslichteke
As far as original titles go, Een uffra met een pitslichteke really does take the cake. Meaning as much as ‘a lady with a flashlight’ – but in a delightfully kooky dialect – Nel Van Vooren shines her curious light on everything and anything that interests her. Recognizable, everyday scenarios, such as losing a Tumblr password or a day of spring cleaning, spark passages so witty and inviting that they tend to stick. Returning a second time to Een uffra met een pitslichteke, the large blocks of small font under Nel’s nostalgic collages are nowhere near as daunting. It just means there’s more to look forward to.
Ergenstussenin, or ‘somewhere in between’; that’s exactly where Eliza and her boyfriend were when they bought a house, stripped it down and started the long process of turning it into their very own piece of paradise. Learning as they go along, Eliza – whose Scandinavian design aesthetic keeps things simple yet beautiful – shares their progress in inspiring fashion on Ergenstussenin.