You might recognise Ann-Sophie Vanlommel for her roles in ‘De Kroongetuigen’, and more recently ‘Mainstream’. Fascinated by the performing arts ever since she was a little girl, Ann-Sophie moved to L.A. to pursue her dream of breaking through internationally. Now back from a three-year American adventure, Ann-Sophie has come to realise Belgium is more home than ever before.
Project Curant has come to an end. After three years, the last duos moved out at the end of October and the cohabitation project finished. From November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2019, 81 newcomers and 77 buddies had the opportunity to get to know themselves and other cultures up close. 37 couples stayed in an apartment with two or four bedrooms; six couples studied together in a student house on Antwerp’s Klapdorp; 16 couples were assigned a place in the brand new ‘BREM 16’ complex and 4 matched couples moved into homes that were already owned by the city of Antwerp. The aim of the project was to offer housing, education and a social safety net to newcomers who had a recognised refugee status or were entitled to subsidiary protection.
When I was first introduced to Izat, I was expecting to be faced with different cultural customs and habits. I had however not expected to live with someone for whom religion is such an important part of life. Call me naive, but I simply hadn’t considered it. Izat is an avid follower of Islam, but it took me a while to figure that out. Because we only talked about basic things such as housekeeping, school and work, I had no idea how important being faithful to his God was to him and how much that would end up influencing our living together.
I have never asked myself so many questions about the subject of relationships, as since I began living with Izat. Never before have I had so many problems expressing myself and explaining things to someone else when talk turns to the Belgian view on love and friendship. And to be honest, it’s the cause of a fair amount of frustration because our views on these themes are so vastly different.
Our two largest cities, Brussels and Antwerp, are the only two Belgian cities to feature among Europe’s top 50 economic centres. Brussels is our major gateway for international finance, investment and institutions, while Antwerp is our major port city with specialisms in logistics, manufacturing, diamonds, retail and business services. Each have their own unique strengths, but how do they compete on a global scale? And what exactly is it that makes a city competitive?
Open your Facebook newsfeed and there is no escaping the heartfelt calls to ‘say no to single-use plastics’, tear jerking ‘save the orangutan’ petitions, awe-inspiring videos of cities of the future and mouthwatering meat-free Monday recipes. You’d be hard pressed to deny that, as a society, we yearn for a more sustainable lifestyle and a cleaner, kinder world. Partially born out of necessity, and partially out of idealism, concepts such as co-housing, zero-waste economy and vertical farming are becoming household terms rather than abstract notions exclusively reserved for new age hippies and idealistic millennials. But is a brand new world truly taking shape? Are we really going to make lasting changes, or will ‘corporate’ win out? And what about this Industry 4.0 stuff? PwC decided to investigate the competing forces that are shaping our world today for a snapshot view of our workforce of the future and arrived at four potential new worlds of work. We bring you an abridged version of the report.
It’s safe to say Izat experienced culture shock when he arrived here. Many of our habits and customs are completely alien to him. When I got home after a trip to Italy, Izat had taken his desk out of his bedroom. A bit awkwardly it stood there, pushed into a corner of the living room.
As professionals in the global mobility sector, we know all about managing culture shock, helping our assignees adapt to new environments, and spend a lot of time considering matters such as cost of living allowances and hardship locations. But what about those who move halfway across the globe with no help whatsoever? The people who leave their homes behind for entirely different reasons than a (temporary) foreign assignment? ReLocate spoke with freelance journalist and millennial Deborah Seymus, whose monthly column on living with a young refugee is published by Knack online and republished here with their permission. We look forward to bringing you her column over the coming issues as we explore a brand new view on life in Belgium.
Inspired by the ‘Clicking Culturally’ session at the recent EuRA Relocation Congress in Warsaw we decided to look at what happens when we feel ready to pass our ‘baby’ on to the next generation. Will your company stay in the family or will you find that perfect partner who is willing to contribute to its growth after you say goodbye? And what happens after you have left? Will everybody be as happy as they once were? Will people ‘click’ with the new company culture?
‘The Heavens’ is a photographic documentary research project by Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti, which sheds light on the obscure workings of tax havens. The book presents us with a picture-perfect image of shells, doors and polished shoes. It’s playing at being James Bond, only the villains look stunningly uninspiring and they hardly ever get caught.