ITAKA Zuidrand language school is pleased to announce that it will hold its annual ‘open door’ event on September 12th and 13th in Edegem. We will offer various activities throughout the day in the garden of the music academy. Visit our Facebook page or website for more information.
Tel: 03 457 59 22 (during the school year)
GSM: 04 86 53 09 15
Registrations are ongoing. Please rest assured that, in accordance with the government advice, all COVID-19 protective measures have been put into place. Please see the website for course offerings. The 2020-21 school year begins in the last week of September.
The school caters to adult learners, particularly for those over 50 years old and seniors. Courses include English, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Art History, Music History. The school has a no stress philosophy, which means no exams. ITAKA Zuidrand has four campuses in and around Antwerp.
Audrey Molewska runs Molly’s Irish Pub on the Jezuitenrui. Nessascityblog got to ask her a few questions and the answers revealed not just some facts about a local business – but a story with a big heart.
Hi Audrey! Can you start by telling us about Molly’s -where and what sort of pub it is?
Molly’s (Jezuietenrui 4) is currently Antwerp’s oldest Irish Pub. A little off the main streets of Antwerp, we’re very much a hidden gem. We’re not so much a tourist bar; mainly more for the expats (although EVERYONE is welcome at Molly’s!).
The greatest thing about Mollys, in my opinion, is the sense of family: for a lot of us this is our “home away from home”, and the friends we make here are our family. Then there’s the regulars – those countless number of wonderful people- friends- who have frequented this pub, some for more than twenty years. We’d never last without them. Our prices are fair, the Guinness is great, we showcase proper trad music, plus there’s more sport to watch than you can shake a stick at! Whoever crosses our door gets a warm Irish welcome that will keep them coming back for more. The staff care, the customers care….we’re family …Dysfunctional sometimes, but what family isn’t?!
What about you? Where are you from and what’s your work background?
I’m from Swords Co. Dublin, Ireland and I moved here in 2012. It was a classic case of “Woman In Love Follows ‘Love of Life’” and sets up home here. I worked in a number of well known Irish bars (bringing twelve years experience with me from home) but I never found the right fit for me. Staff and management in the larger bars never seemed to care about the customer, being more about the turnover. Something as simple as not knowing a regular customer’s name is unacceptable to me. I decided I needed to have my own place in order to stop working for people I couldn’t respect, and be able to really start giving people what they wanted…a PROPER IRISH PUB. I won’t claim to be the only one these days, and I’ll give a shout out to others operating with the same ethos: The Highlander, The Northerner, An Sibhin, and The Corner House.
What do you like about living and working in Antwerp?
I LOVE living in Antwerp! My first six years were spent living in Limburg, and then Kasterlee (both beautiful places) but when I finally moved to Antwerp, it was the missing link! Finally, I had the support I lacked before, the city life that revived me, the acceptance and help I never properly received (in my busy life I’ve never fully mastered the language despite my attempts!). It’s never easy, but it’s easier than before!
I love how cosmopolitan Antwerp is. The people are so helpful and friendly. In these times I see us all, as small local businesses, trying to band together, regroup, and try to support one another! Perhaps the “family element” of Molly’s is evident in a lot of places in Antwerp!
How did Molly’s survive the shutdown, and how is re-opening going?
With difficulty like many. Finances were a constant juggle, alongside supporting a family. We missed our customers and our family. We stayed in constant touch with regulars and friends to check on their health and to see if they needed help.
Near re-opening time, we put out an S.O.S to our lovely regulars to see who could provide some skills and help to make a “NEW MOLLYS” for our customers….the response was overwhelming! We now have a whole new look; it’s spotlessly clean with a new-look terrace, and we plan to keep making more changes as the months go on.
We’re all hoping (touch wood!) that there will be no second wave – all being well, what are your future plans for Molly’s?
As stated, more renovations and possibly an extension in the future to provide our customers with an authentic Irish Kitchen. This is “phase 1” as we call it….hopefully there’s more to come!! And to all who helped: you know who you are – Molly’s would be lost without you!
The Yellow Window Coffeehousecan be found in the old part of the city. Like all local catering businesses it has been much affected by the Corona Virus regulations and lockdown. Currently offering take-away, The Yellow Window should also be on your list of places to pick up a great coffee as restrictions ease as the coffee and the cookies are delicious.
Meet Dominic, who runsThe Yellow Window.
Hi Dominic! Can you start by telling us about The Yellow Window-where and what it is?
The Yellow Window has been open since November of last year, located at Vlasmarkt 8, 2000. The Vlasmarkt is just off the busy shopping street Hoogstraat, where there is a range of international bars and restaurants.
We serve breakfast and lunch dishes accompanied by high quality coffee which is supplied by a local micro-roasting company: Cross Roast. We have three aims: tasty food, great coffee and impeccable service (with a smile). One thing I learned over the past ten years of working in catering is that the customer always appreciates a friendly attentive waiter or bartender, and it’s something I personally appreciate when I’m out for dinner or drinks.
What about you? Where are you from and what’s your work background?
I grew up in the midlands of Ireland (lots of green fields and cows) from the age of ten, although I’m originally from the UK. Ireland is home for me and I love it dearly. I always knew I wasn’t going to stay in Ireland after school, as I had that desire to travel and see the world. After school, I returned to London to work for two years in bars. I loved living back in London but It wasn’t going to be long term. I then went onto Spain to work two seasons in bars, nightclubs and restaurants (with way too much partying!). I then returned to Ireland for one year, working in a hotel.
I moved over from Ireland in 2015 and have been living in Antwerp for the past five years. Originally I intended to stay for six months to a year, but from the moment I arrived in Antwerp I fell in love with this beautiful city.
What do you like about living and working in Antwerp? What are the challenges?
There’s lots I love about living in Antwerp. There is beauty on every street, from the very accessible Meir shopping street, to the beautiful buildings throughout the city. The parks, the museums, the bars, the beers, the food, I could easily go on and on and on!
Before I came to Antwerp, I didn’t know much about the city, the languages or the Flemish people, and I was nervous that it was going to be difficult to communicate with customers, or in the shops but I was pleasantly surprised that the majority of the community speaks English. I have met some of the nicest Flemish people during the past five years.
The biggest challenge I have found since being in Antwerp is trying to learn the language. I do my best in certain situations and I can understand more than I can speak. Having my own business has motivated me to learn and understand more and more everyday.
How has the pandemic and the shut-down affected The Yellow Window?
Other than the fact The Yellow Window was only opened for three full months before the shutdown, the effect has been huge! I have had to re-think and reorganise my business plan for the future.
I have many ideas, with some already in place. I have been exploring many options for the future and I am very excited with what’s coming up at The Yellow Window.
Now that the next phase of the government’s plan is going ahead on June 8th, I can look forward to (I hope) regaining a more steady flow of customers, even with the long list of restrictions.
One thing I will say is – watch this space!
Lots of people seem to have become enthused about baking during lockdown. Do you have a great recipe for us to try?
Before the lockdown I never saw myself as much of a baker; now, I have made many batches of cookies over the past few months. I tried different recipes I pulled from the internet, making many mistakes along the way but I have landed on a recipe that is working well for me. I can’t take the credit, as it’s not my recipe. It’s this one from Sallys Baking Addiction.Sally’s recipes are very clear and easy to follow.
This post originally appears on Wasapninworld blog and describes the writer’s experiences of looking for a home to rent in the Antwerp area a few years ago. It is not a very heartening read; we would all (I hope) like to live in a fairer country than the one described here, but as the writer of the post told me, “it’s one way of starting conversations” -and clearly this is very much a conversation that needs to continue in Belgian society.
I had lived at my parents house most of my youth life and then moved into my own property when I got married. I then moved abroad and my residence was always provided by my employer. All rights, contracts and viewing was always prior to my arrival to our new country and home. That was until I relocated to Belgium which was my first job in Europe outside of the UK.
We were allocated a relocation specialist who helps newbie arrivals find a new rental house/apartment and ease them in the country. We should have been greeted by the relocation specialist when we first arrived in Belgium but our relocation specialist was busy and could not meet us. During our first initial meeting we would have been given a new Belgian mobile phone Sim card, get help searching for apartment/house, be taken to the supermarket so we can be accustomed to the new area, and finally have a lovely dinner or lunch- all of which never happened with us because our relocation specialist was busy when we first entered Belgium. So neither did our first trip to a supermarket, and we were never given a new Belgian number so we could be contacted, nor ever shown any apartments for rent. We did all that ourselves. We checked into our hotel (allocated by the employer) and stayed there for a few days looking at our shortlisted viewings which we had done while we were in the UK. After being a few days in Antwerp, our relocation specialist messaged us to request if we could meet for coffee (instead of dinner/lunch) as there are no halal places in Antwerp. This was our first visit to Antwerp and we did not know anyone there but a quick Googling told us that there are plenty of halal places to eat. It was clear for us that the relocation specialist did not want to meet us, so rather than make a fuss we politely declined and that was the last we heard for a while.
Our experiences are limited to Antwerp renting while Muslim in Belgium. Below are just some of the scenarios that panned out.
At first, we decided to stay as close as possible to my new work place, which was located in a very white suburb of Antwerp.
NOTE: My rental deposit of 3 months’ rent is covered by my employer, who are also my reference. My employer happens to be a very reputable work place in Antwerp for over 50 years and my salary was well above minimum requirement.
1. We found this lovely house with a garden. Arranged to see the property and loved it. We agreed to take it but were told that there are other viewers and the decision would rest with the owner. We were told within days that the owner of the property decided to rent with someone else.
2. Arranged to view an apartment walking distance from the above property. There were two apartments available in the same block. It was a brand new apartment block. We were met by the same estate agent as previous. We liked the property and agreed to take it. We were told that the owner will let us know. The owner happened to be the uncle of the estate agent. Weeks went by and we heard nothing even after asking for an update. Emails and phone calls were not returned.
3. Arranged to view another apartment in the same area. Saw the apartment and agreed to take it. We were told someone would get back to us. Every time I would ring to speak to the estate agent, he was never available. We never did get that call back or the apartment.
4. With the above experience rather than go for a viewing ourselves we decided to ask the relocation specialist to visit on our behalf. When we asked about a particular property, she strongly discouraged us, as it is the centre of the town and there are works due to take place right outside of the apartment that we were interested in, which will cause major traffic and will last for months. Heavily reliant on local knowledge we decided against pursuing this further. (We later learnt that the roadwork did go ahead but was not a major traffic issue and only lasted about a month or so, much lower than the impression given to us)
5. We decided to search further away from the work place. A balance between the city centre and the suburb. Rather than pay for extra hotel accommodation we decided to go back home and search from London. We found a brand new block of apartments where three apartments were available. We rang and agreed to take the property without seeing it. We were told they would not rent without us seeing the property. I explained I was in London and it’s difficult to travel with a 3 year old child who is not well. The owner insisted. We had no choice but to make a last minute trip back to Antwerp. As expected, we liked the property and agreed to take it. We were told we would be informed of the update very soon. Within hours of leaving the property we were told that all three apartments had been rented out and they had not realised but other family members had rented them out without them realising it. (Note: These properties were unrented for 9 months as they were advertised on the rental website available for rent.)
6. The message was clear we were not wanted in certain parts of Antwerp. We then decided to search in the city centre or other areas that were predominately occupied with ethnic minorities. We looked at and investigated many properties but did not feel the quality was up to our standards. We also tried to rent in the city centre and during numerous calls; we were told they would not rent to Indians or foreigners. We were shocked to hear this as they did not know we were non-white foreigners because I sound British because I am. They were mentioning it as a selling point.
7. As a last resort I had to ask one of my new white colleagues to ring on my behalf and look at the property. Once we both agreed, it was acceptable I arranged to view the property without my family. I agreed to take the property because at that point no one would rent to us. As it turned out the landlord was very nice who is Jewish in faith and who had rented his property to a tenant who was Muslim in faith. Sometimes the glimmer of hope comes from communities that know what is like to be different.
All the while there were at least 4 other new colleagues coming from different parts of the world who very quickly were able to find and rent. Maybe it was a coincidence that they were all white but I clearly think not. Throughout this experience it must be added that everyone we interacted with was polite, smiling and courteous. On face value, there was no indication of anything being wrong. However, someone who has lived as an outsider all my life you quickly learn to read the body language and the other signs that are very hard to conceal. I know my British accent has made it much easier when interacting with the local indigenous population in Antwerp. I later learnt when making friends with the African, Moroccan and Turkish community of how frank and open the remarks can be. They had been told that renting would not be provided if their wives, mothers and daughters wear the headscarf or if they cook their local food in the apartment.
I clearly do not look white British but I do sound it and my wife wears the headscarf. On face value, we pass by as Moroccans or Turkish depending on the lens of the looker but our accent tells a different story. However, our face value determined our renting while Muslim experience and that was of racism and Islamophobia. The invisible cloak of freedom and equality was marred by another invisible cloak of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and the colonial mentality of being better than others are. Europe/Belgium has a problem of race and identity and the sooner we face up to it the sooner we can work together to eradicate it. To highlight the seriousness of the problem a report was published in 2017 where “Job applicants with convictions for violence are more likely to be taken on than those with Arabic surnames, criminologists have found. Applicants with a violent past and a Dutch name stood a better chance than those with an Arabic name but no history of violence, said researcher Chantal van den Berg.”1
I have lived as a ‘Paki’ in England and as an Englishman in Pakistan. We have always been outsiders to where I have been posted for my jobs. Identity is something I have had to question and have come to the conclusion that the world has more in common with each other but we focus on the smaller differences rather than the similarities. In the back of my mind, I thought at least it is not this bad back home. Back home for me was the UK but I had not lived there for over a decade due to work but little did I know that it too had changed for the worse when we relocated back in 2017. More information to follow soon.
On a positive note once all the renting problem was resolved at least until the next time we had to move, I found the local Antwerpians of all shapes, sizes and colours to be a lovely bunch so much so much I would much rather live in Antwerp than my home city of London.
It’s lovely to hear that Nessascityblog features on this selection of Antwerp blogs for 2020 – compiled by Spotted by Locals, which is a blog about art & culture trends in cities all around the world: check them out for your future post-corona travel plans!
I woke up this morning, sunshine blasting through the windows: I’m feeling good. I finally have that “second trimester superwoman energy” that I keep being told about. I’m on day 150 of this pregnancy, but things couldn’t be weirder with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing.
So my topic is “A Day In The Life of a Pregnant Woman: week 4 -coronavirus outbreak”. Because -as good as I feel- I also feel a deep-rooted sense of anxiety that I can’t quite quash.
It’s a pretty strange time for all of us. Even if we have never felt anxiety before, these unprecedented times can make even the toughest feel anxious.
I know this is something that I am dealing with right now.
I am not usually one to share my worries and concerns to the masses on social media (that is a “treat” reserved mostly for those closest to me) but these exceptional times make me want to share how I’m feeling. I know I’m not alone in feeling insecure at this time and I think we all need to show sensitivity, and embrace the sensitive sides of others.
When I woke up this morning, despite being allowed the luxury of waking up one hour later due to my lack of commute, my first thought was “something is worrying me … what is it?” Not a nice way to start the day. But that worrying feeling is something that we are all living with, especially if you are pregnant, looking after newborns or managing an ongoing health condition.
Sometimes I cry or become super emotional all of a sudden, without any warning.
I can only imagine that what I am experiencing now is what those with permanent anxiety feel every day and I have never had so much appreciation for the way they carry on. But I digress – Of course, I am still able to function and I do so.
So I start work from my home-office and plough through the day (the highlight naturally being lunch and break times, as I am sure any expectant woman can relate to!). I have scheduled Zoom meetings (no sweatpants for me!) and I plod on with my regular other tasks.
I also keep up-to-date with the housework (with the help of my husband of course) – It’s amazing how much more washing and general untidiness you create when two people are living full-time in the house! Other than that, it is “business as usual” -whatever this “usual” now is. But throughout it all there is this unsettling feeling of insecurity, that I don’t know how to make disappear.
It’s the little things such as not going out to do the grocery shopping; not being able to plan as much for our upcoming baby as I would like to; my husband not being able to come to doctor appointments with me; not being able to share our baby’s first kicks with grandparents; not knowing if I will be able to go back to the UK to see friends and family before the birth; not knowing when my parents and sister will next be able to come see me. The list goes on and on and starts to cast a shadow over all that is positive around me.
Yes, I know that all that matters is that our baby and I are healthy (and so far- thank goodness -this is the case) but all of these thoughts worry me and give me a feeling of uncertainty that I am not used to.
I am used to being the friend that friends can rely on, and on relying on those friends in return. However, right now I am struggling to find that same sense of comfort that I usually get from my friends – I am a tactile person by nature and week 4 of quarantine is getting to me because I can’t see friends and hug them.
In summary: Week 4 of quarantine is making me have more questions than answers.
But – I am doing my best and being kind to myself.
So that is the message I want to end this post with: be kind, reach out to that person you haven’t spoken to in a while (they might just need it) but most of all – be kind to yourself. It’s OK not to feel OK right now. We all have our worries and anxieties and these are completely normal in such unprecedented circumstances.
Laura PS: Find me on Instagram @lauraowenonsea to connect and share positivity!
Leo Reijnders is a local Antwerp artist from Borgerhout, who you may also know as De Wolkenbreier (The Cloudknitter) or from Antwerp’s underground radio station: Radio Centraal.
His current project is just right for the present situation and invites participation from all artists -whether you are a professional or enthusiastic amateur. Perhaps you would like create something artistic for the very first time?
Want to take part? Design, draw and send a post-card of your own creation to Leo. It won’t be returned, but it will be displayed in an exhibition at the Albanian Embassy in The Hague and in a Youtube film of the artworks. Here’s a film of a previous mail art project –Let’s Sky The Limit .
The theme of the mail art project is THE LAST SUPPER. The address to send your work to is:
LEO REIJNDERS – THE CLOUDKNITTER
Bouwensstraat 9 2140 Borgerhout Belgium
Participation is not restricted to Antwerp or Belgium: Leo hopes to receive cards from all around the world, so encourage your friends and family in other countries to join in! Previous projects attracted contributions from 30 different countries.
Because of the uncertainty of the current situation, there is no hard and fast deadline, but you definitely have at least until September to get your cards in the post.
Hi Richard! Can you start by telling us about Luddites -where and what it is?
We’re at Hopland 34, which is in the city centre; the street that goes by the back entrance of Stadsfeestzaal. We’re a bookstore, wine bar, and hideout from the modern world, all rolled into one, and lodged in a beautiful 1902 townhouse. We have classic wooden bookshelves and no wifi; hidden just upstairs is our wine bar, where you can lounge and read a book or converse with your friends and family over one of our delicious wines. The idea is that if you buy a book, or make any purchase of €10 or more, that first glass of wine becomes half-price. I find that wine drinkers get excited about that deal, whereas book readers are more indifferent and, if you are both, then you are over the moon. Also, our book selection is about half Dutch, half English. We have about three thousand titles, so if you are looking for a book in English, look no further.
What about yourselves? Where are you from and what’s your work background?
I moved here from New York, but grew up outside of Philadelphia, and studied mainly Classics and Literature. Naturally, there’s not much of a market for that, so I turned to contract killing. It worked for a while, but suddenly I was getting too much heat from the Feds, so I had to move to a city no American could point to on a map. Antwerp was an obvious choice. I had so many friends back home congratulate me on my big move to Germany.
Jorien was a librarian in a small Flemish town for a number of years, so she is keyed into the Dutch book scene, and has been dreaming about opening a bookstore since she was an adolescent.
Ja, Antwerpen ist sehr schon:what do you like about living and working here?
It is cosy, perhaps sometimes too cosy. The city has this way of sucking in unsuspecting people, such as myself. I was only supposed to spend two years here, and when I first moved to Antwerp, which was during the winter, I didn’t think I would make it that long. But then the summer hit, and I experienced the beauty of the city: the long, warm nights sitting with friends on terraces, the thriving arts and music scenes, all of the great restaurants and shops. You could feel the collective sigh of relief from everyone after the first rays of the spring sun hit—followed, of course, by a mad dash to the closest terrace to bask in them. I realised that the city had been hibernating all winter, and that I had to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about it. Now, it has been six years.
What do you read yourselves? Any good book recommendations for us to keep us occupied during lockdown?
Well, we try to cater book recommendations to the tastes of our customers; Jorien is exceptional at that because of all of those years working as a librarian. Personally, the last book which struck me as poignant and left me wanting more was Paul Auster’s 4321, in which he examines the four vastly different arcs one character’s life can take, based on small decisions by his parents. The first one hundred pages are a bit of a struggle, but then you get hooked (I guess I have a type). At 880 pages it is a whopper, so it is great if you are stuck inside with nothing to do. Perhaps also Crime and Punishment? We have this lovely Norton Critical edition of the novel, which provides a lot of footnotes and makes the classic much easier to digest. Now, I think, is the time to read those long books that have been on your list forever—those books that are marriages rather than flings—because if you don’t read them now- at this perfect moment for them- when will you?
5) We can’t -unfortunately- avoid mention of the C word. It must have been gutting for you to have to close so soon after opening, because of Covid 19. How are you planning to cope over the next few weeks, and are there still services you are able to offer?
Good question! I’m frantically building a webshop (update: it’s now live- see links below) at the moment, but that probably won’t be up and running for another week or so. In the meantime, people can still inquire and order books (and wine) from us through our general email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). We offer free delivery within the city of Antwerp, and delivery at cost everywhere else in Belgium. I’m also in discussions with a couple food delivery services, so in a few days you should be able to order our wines through your favorite food delivery app.
Lastly, if you want to support us now but would prefer the full Luddites experience, you can order gift cards through that same email address, and come visit us when our doors are open again.
If your child is currently enrolled in Grade 6 in a local primary school – het 6e leerjaar – then it’s time to choose a school for secondary education, or secundair onderwijs. If you have not yet registered your child, you may have received a letter in the mail reminding you that this process should be completed before 5 PM on April 3rd, 2020, which is this Friday.
NB: Corona virus regulations have not affected the timeline of the registration process.
Should you miss the 3 April 2020 deadline, you will still be able to register with individual schools from 11 May 2020 onwards, but keep in mind that places will be full in some schools by this point. This late registration process closes 3 June 2020.
I found signing up on the website straightforward. You will need your child’s rijksregisternummer (national registration number) which can be found on their ISI+ health insurance card (or on the pink stickers used for doctors), or on the back of their ID card (see pic below).
If your child does not have an ID card yet, it is probably best to contact your local city council, or districtshuis.
Once signed up, you can select the schools you are interested in by typing the names into a search bar and selecting the schools you want. I’ve been recommended to list at least five schools by a representative of Meldjeaan. Then rank your schools by dragging a small arrow next to each selected school’s name up or down. This is an important step; the order counts. You are now ready to complete the process, though you can revisit the site any time and make changes, up until April 3rd.
Note about 1A and 1B streams
Most children who complete primary school will need to sign up for the 1A stream in secondary school. Children who are unable to successfully complete their primary education will most likely need to choose 1B. However, if you are unsure, it is always best to ask your child’s teacher for advice.
If you are unable to access the website or don’t understand a step in the process, you can call the Meldjeaan team or email them for help (see below.
Results and registration
Results will be sent to parents on 6 May 2020, after which you should register your child at the school you have been allocated. This should be done by appointment and by contacting the school directly.
If the allocated school is not your number 1 choice, you will automatically be put on a waiting list for the schools higher up your list.
Waiting list and follow-up process
This is where things may get a little complicated. It is possible to move up your waiting list, even into the start of the academic year. Please keep the following points in mind:
Always register your child with the highest ranked school on your list you’ve been allocated
By doing so, the schools lower down on your list automatically fall away; this frees new spaces for other applicants
You will automatically be put on a waiting list for schools higher up on your list
If a space higher up is freed up, you will be notified and can now register with that school; the previous registration is annulled
You cannot register with multiple schools
It is perfectly acceptable to annul registrations in favour of a school higher up your list, should they become free
If you want to see high up on the waiting list for a particular school you are after 6 May, log back into the meldjeaan.antwerpen.be website
Waiting list positions are valid until 7 October 2020 (note: this is after the start of the school year!). After that, it’s best to contact the school in question directly for information.
Overall, this seems like a fair system to me. It certainly beats parents having to camp out in front of schools, which I’ve heard so much about.
I have not included details about special education, or early selection for children who have older siblings already enrolled in a school, or whose parents work in Flemish education. Please contact the organisation for more information on that.
You can find a list of secondary schools in Antwerp here. You can find information about schools and subject choices here. You can find a current list of available places in schools here. From 10 AM 8 May on, the Meldjeaan website will publish a list of remaining free places for those who have missed online registration. You can also contact them by email or phone: 0800 62 185
Disclaimer: I am just a parent who has recently gone through and learned about the school registration process over a period of two years, by asking many people lots of questions (and taking lots of notes). I am not an authority on the subject, but I am sharing what I learned here. It is therefore always best to consult the helpdesk above for information.
As you can imagine, a blog which is usually devoted to sharing information about events, is not going to be very busy right now, so I though I would just do a general post about life in Antwerp and Belgium under the new restrictions, and share some useful links. I will keep editing this, so if you think there is a link I have missed, do get in touch.
The government website with information about Covid 19 is here and available in French, Dutch, German and English. You can also follow the Federal Health Department on Twitter.
(translation of text in image above: Stay home; do not gather with others; keep a distance of 1.5m; outdoor exercise is OK, with max 2 people; look after yourself and each other)
The Stad Antwerpen page is mainly in Dutch, but if you go here and scroll down, you will find .PDFs in a variety of languages.
Last week I published this blog post with information in English about organisations and help lines, if being at home is not safe for you or your children (or if you are anxious that someone you know is not safe).
Lessons are suspended and children are learning from home. Only those who work in essential services (and who cannot find childcare) may take their children into school. Colleges and universities are delivering classes and assignments online.
Lots of people want to help at this time. Others needs help. Stad Antwerpen has this page (in Dutch) for those either requiring help, or wanting to volunteer their help. In both cases you need to fill in a form:
These are slips to download and deliver if you want to offer help to your neighbours who may be in a vulnerable group. NB: you need to do this while observing social distancing as much as is possible. Other forms of volunteer work can be found here
At 8pm many people are taking to their balconies and windows every evening to applaud the frontline workers who are keeping essential services -especially health services – open and functioning.
It’s important to make time to Skype/ Zoom/ WhatsApp/ Facetime with friends and family. If your family is in an other country, you may have extra anxieties and feel home-sick. That’s very understandable – so if you are on Facebook you are very welcome in our group Expats in Antwerp. Not just for Covid 19 info- we have a daily chat thread each day, for general conversation, sharing news, recipes and -of course – pet pics!
Financial support and assistance for incomes and businesses affected by Covid 19
If you would like to help keep Nessascityblog going by writing a blog post for me, then now is the time! I welcome posts about how you are managing your time; the challenges and achievements of our changed circumstances; creative writing; how you are working and how your Antwerp business has been affected. Feel free to get in touch if you have an idea!
Violence & abuse in the home during confinement due to Corona pandemic: support in Belgium.
I want to post about a group who are vulnerable at this time, and may be in a difficult situation which is made more difficult if you don’t speak Dutch or French; that group is women & children in abusive family situations.
For people in this group, work and school are the safe places -not home. The added dangers to them during this period of confinement are obvious. Sadly, police and support workers are expecting an increase in domestic violence and abuse. Current circumstances mean that some women and children will find themselves spending the vast majority of their days and nights at home with their abuser(s).
If this is you, or a someone you know, please be aware that there is a number to call on this website:
There is an app called Bright Sky, aimed at helping those affected by domestic abuse, and also those concerned about a friend, colleague or family member in this situation: https://www.hestia.org/brightsky
PLEASE feel free to share this information in groups that you are in -or on your Facebook or Twitter status.
NB: If you supply this information to a woman or family you suspect may be at risk, please do so very carefully and discretely: abusers often monitor the communications of those who they abuse.