Guest post by Grade 10 students of Antwerp International School: Environmentally Friendly Shopping in Antwerp

Where do you buy your groceries in Antwerp?
This blog post is about two different types of grocery shopping in the city, and will be of interest to you if you are keen to reduce your carbon footprint when you make your shopping choices.
By Vasco, Charlotte, Hendrik, Yumiko and Michelle 

Antwerp International School Grade 10 students went on a trip on Wednesday the 8th of January by train to the BeO Versmarkt and a Delhaize grocery store to contrast and compare them with one another: to study the pros and cons of both stores, and to also get a better understanding and learn new things based on what it’s like to shop in them. In this blog post, we will focus on the differences and similarities in looks, packaging, prices, and transport to, later on, conclude and give advice for more sustainable meal preparation.  We are studying a sustainability unit in our language classes so this experience connects to that topic.  

The Set-Up 

roots&grnaatappels
photo by Charlotte

When we first walked into the BeO store (image left), it was noticeably different from the grocery stores we are used to.  It was refreshing not walking into a store where you have to walk around for hours before finding the thing you were looking for. The store was really organized compared to normal grocery stores, partially due to the fact that there weren’t as many products and as big of a range of brands. The store wasn’t as big as Delhaize (grocery store) so there weren’t as many staff working, but that was no problem because it was easy to find staff if you needed help. the fact that almost nothing was wrapped in plastic and the food looked different from the processed food we are used to eating was a real eye-opener. You could tell that the food was organic by the way it was clearly not meant to look ‘perfect’, but instead looked like it came fresh from the farm.  The boxes that the food was placed in indicate where the food came from blue if the food was Belgian-made and in a different box with the name of the country on the label if it wasn’t domestic. But still, 90% of the non-Belgian-made products were produced in Europe. 

Packaging 

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Differences in packaging. Image created by Charlotte & Michelle

One of the bigger differences were the packaging: for the Beo store there were containers filled up with all kinds of nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruits, spices, and pasta but for the Delhaize store they were all in plastic bags.  Which after visiting the Delhaize store seemed very unnecessary, as so many plastics were being used for proportions not everyone wants. The BeO store had an amazing self-service system, you could bring your own glass containers or buy one in the store and fill it up with oil, vinegar or honey. This way you don’t spend money on the extra packaging while also being sustainable. A lot of other products also had a self-service system, such as nuts, pasta, and seeds. It was a really innovative system, you can buy as much as you need and not waste any food.  

Prices

kerstomaatprice
Top: Delhaize; Below: Beo

We did pricing exercises for similar products in both the BEO V and the Delhaize. The products we’ve compared are simple and well-known, such as red tomatoes and eggs. We saw a big price difference between the tomatoes. The tomatoes in the BEO cost € 3.45/kg, which is € 1.14 more expensive than a kg of tomatoes in the Delhaize, which cost € 2.59 (pic left, by Charlotte). There is a big difference in price between tomatoes, but luckily it’s not the same for the eggs. A box of 6 eggs in the BEO cost € 2.28 as you can get the same amount in the Delhaize for € 2.35, that’s € 0.07 cheaper. So, the idea that eco-shops are always more expensive than regular ones is not true.

In the picture you can see both the difference between the tomatoes in the Delhaize and in the Beo store. 

Transport

Did you know that food production is one of the main causes of CO2 releases in the world? 

Most eco-friendly stores are spread out around the country than the normal stores. The number of eco-friendly shops is significantly smaller compared to the average supermarket. All these factors lead to fewer people going to these shops and when they go they might need to travel longer distances which produces more CO2 pollution.

If there is not an eco-friendly shop near you, you could go to the Exotic Market that opens on Saturdays from 8AM to 4PM in Theaterplein which offers natural products from nearby farms. The products in this market can sometimes be cheaper than in the eco-friendly store. All this contributes to not polluting our environment because the products don’t travel long distances and the customers that use that market can bike there.

BEOstaff
Staff at the Beo Versmarkt

Conclusion

We concluded that the Beo shop that we visited is more eco-friendly than the Delhaize; a regular supermarket. For some people, it might not be the most convenient for them,  since it can take more time, money and transport to get to the few environmental stores depending on where you live in Antwerp. However, despite the challenges, a suggestion from us would be to do your groceries on a Saturday. You could look up ways on how to store and keep your products fresh for the week. You can prepare your meals so you don’t have to worry about having food on the table during weekdays. Also, you don’t have to do all your grocery shopping at an organic store, but every little step helps!

Could you take the time to make your shopping more eco-friendly?

Let us know in the comments!

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This weekend in Antwerp: 24th, 25th & 26th January 2020

Happy New Year to everyone who is celebrating the beginning of the Year of The Rat this weekend!

Saturday

chinatownSaturday will be the busiest day for New Year celebrations in Antwerp’s Chinatown. The most popular part of the day is the Lion dance which takes place on van Wesenbekestraat. Come and enjoy the drama of the dance, and be prepared for the firecrackers, which are plentiful and LOUD. However, there are lots of accompanying events this year, so have a look at the full Chinese New Year programme as there is a lot going on in the Permeke Library, and in front of it on De Coninckplein, where there will be a new year’s market and a Tai Chi demonstration.

On Saturday evening Swaajp Invites (impro theatre) offers an evening of improvisational humour designed to delight all Potterheads.  The evening’s entertainment is in English and begins at 8pm. Reserve your tickets here.

Sunday

borgerhout stadhuis
The impressive Districtshuis of Borgerhout on Moorkensplein

Enjoy a new year’s drink with the good people of Borgerhout on the Moorkensplein from 3pm. It’s a free neighbourhood event with soup, drinks, kids’ fun and even a chance to see a giant or two -for which Borgerhout is justly famous.

Alternatively, head back to Viggo’s on de Coninckplein for coffee and Sunday afternoon music from 4pm, with DJ and saxophonist, Eric Morel.

The weather this weekend is likely to remain quite cold, but mainly dry. There might be some showers on Sunday afternoon. Top temps of 8-9 degrees.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

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MAS

Don’t forget that some Antwerp museums  are free on the last Wednesday of the month (next Wednesday, the 29th). These are the Museum Plantin Moretus, the Rockox Museum, the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, the MAS and the Red Star Line Museum.

Look out for a guest post on Monday – I am especially proud of this one as it has been written by my students at Antwerp International School. We are studying a sustainability topic, and their post is about sustainable shopping in Antwerp.

 

LOL4_Facebook_cover
image from Legends of Liondance Facebook page

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This weekend in Antwerp: 17th, 18th & 19th January 2020

 

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 13.42.13
Cafe Capital, Stadspark

Friday

Café Capital in Stadspark are starting the weekend with a fundraiser night to help wildlife organisations currently working to save animals affected by the fires in Australia, and also organisations which are fighting the fires. Sister events will be held in other cities in Europe and beyond.

Celebrate the birthday of Art itself at MUHKA’s Art’s Birthday event from 5pm. This is the 12th year that this has been marked in Antwerp; it was established in 1963 by the artist Robert Filliou: “Filliou first proposed “Art’s Birthday” in 1963. He suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. But one day, on January 17 to be precise, Art was born. Filliou says it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. He also proposed a public holiday to celebrate the presence of art in our lives. Art’s Birthday was first publicly celebrated in 1973 in Aachen (i.e., Aix-la-Chapelle), Germany and at the same time in Paris, France.” (from Wikipedia)

At the Irish Times Bar it’s Swap Language Night and a chance to brush up your language skills for aspiring polyglots -from 8pm.

Saturday

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 13.56.08On Astridplein there’s the chance to go tulip picking from 1pm – 4.30. The tulips on Astridplein looked beautiful last year (pic left), but you might have to be prepared to queue a bit to pick your own bunch.

It’s free movie night again at Het Roze Huis (Den Draak) at 8pm. This evening it’s Loving Annabelle. If you are new and not familiar with Het Roze Huis -it’s your first port-of-call for all things LGBTQ+ in Antwerp.

Sunday

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 14.00.37It’s the monthly second hand book market on de Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library. Books, comics, graphic novels, postcards and more for very reasonable prices. 10am -4pm.

It should be dry this weekend – with the possibility of light showers on Friday afternoon. There could be some bright spells, but it’s going to be quite cold with top temps of 11 degrees on Friday, and 8 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

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image from: Legends of Liondance Facebook page

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the annual BATS panto, which takes place this weekend: Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

Need a productive, achievable new year’s resolution that doesn’t involve giving up something you enjoy? Let 2020 be the year you write your Antwerp story for Nessascityblog! Please get in touch with your idea. I’d love to have more guest posts, reviews, tips, personal stories and accounts connected to the city of Antwerp.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 10th, 11th & 12th January 2020

2020new-years-eve-4647528_640Happy New Year!

Welcome back to Nessascityblog, and to the first weekly post of 2020. Here’s a short post about the coming weekend to ease you into the new year. Winter In Antwerp has finished for the season and sometimes this can be a less busy time of year, but here are a few local events to start off your 2020 in Antwerp city …

Friday

Start your weekend with the first Antwerp  Apereau event of 2020 on Theaterplein from 5pm – a good way to wind down after the working week if you are still readjusting to being back at the grindstone after the festive season.

Saturday

LOL4_Facebook_cover
from: Legends of Liondance Facebook page

Chinese New Year (the Year of the Rat) approaches, and there’s a lot going on in the small but lively part of the city that comprises Antwerp’s China town. It’s a place where I spend quite a lot of time with my family, and this year there seems to be more than ever on the program-  including this walking tour of the area  today and the Legends of Liondance expo opening at Permeke library – a free and exciting exhibition which transforms the library with a display of the lions which form part of the traditional New Year celebrations.

Do plan ahead -some events and activities are ticketed or require registration so check out the full programme of readings, workshops, cinema and other events here.

zoolightsjunglebook
Jungle Book Lights at the Zoo

Sunday

 

Last chance to catch the Jungle Book Light Festival at Antwerp Zoo.

 

There’s a film and vinyl sale at De Roma theatre on the Turnhoutsebaan starting at 10am. It’s 4 euros in and includes a tour of the old projection room. There’s also a bar, and music throughout the event (DJ).

Miscellaneous

Monday 13th January is “Verloren Maandag” (“Lost Monday”) -a Belgian tradition explained in this recipe post which I found. Expect sausage rolls and appelbollen at your local baker. Update – a reader got in touch to advise reserving yoursausage rolls as most good bakers only bake as much as they need. Thanks for the tip!

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the annual BATS panto, which takes place next weekend: Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

Need a productive, achievable new year’s resolution that doesn’t involve giving up something you enjoy? Let 2020 be the year you write your Antwerp story for Nessascityblog! Please get in touch with your idea. I’d love to have more guest posts, reviews, tips, personal stories and accounts connected to the city of Antwerp.

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