Today an interview with Caroline Dhont, Spotter for our Antwerp cityblog
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure! Recently some things have changed in my life. Until last year I was working in advertising. But then I decided to go to cooking school.
I already loved to cook, but now it has become a real obsession. I graduated in May this year, and applied for a job as a culinary journalist for a cooking website.
I just started and I love it! Aside from that I’m also planning to become a part-time self employed caterer. My specialties are pies and finger food. Obviously, I love to go out for dinner, so I try to write a lot about my favorite food places in Antwerp.
I was born and raised in Antwerp, so I couldn’t be more local. I also went to school and college here, so obviously, most of my friends live in Antwerp too, and I haven’t heard a lot of complaints ;-).
To us, Antwerp is a big city, 2nd biggest in Belgium, but compared to other world cities, we must be pretty small. So you get all the great stuff from a big city, but you never have to travel far. Last month they also installed those bikes you can pick up and leave behind in bikestations. And there’s a station almost on every street corner, I kid you not! (It’s like Starbucks in New York).
I hope you’re travelling to Antwerp in the summer, so you can join the Antwerp Summer Festival. There’s so much to do then and mostly for free! Make sure to check www.zva.be where you can find the entire program (open-air cinema, Music, theatre, a magical bar in the woods…).
I also love the new park, and the brand new MAS museum. Did you know you can go up to the rooftop for free every day until midnight to see the Antwerp skyline?
Which prejudices about Antwerp are true? Which ones are not?
I always wonder how people from other countries look at us Antwerpians. In Belgium we are known for being loud-mouthed, rude and really self-assured.
Real Antwerpian people also never say ‘Antwerp’, we just call it The City. Also, there’s a saying about Antwerp: ‘Antwerp is the centre of the World, and the rest of it is parking space’ ?. So I wonder if we also make that impression to people from other countries?
My neighbor’s from Berlin and he says we’re rather introvert, so that’s the complete opposite! Anyway, don’t worry about us being loud-mouthed introverts, we love to chat and show you the city!
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Antwerp at this moment?
That’s a strange thing, the hot spots are always moving! Usually when a neighborhood gets popular, the houses get a lot more expensive, and the hipsters move again. The good thing though is that a lot of neighborhoods are getting an upgrade this way!
I myself live in the neighborhood ‘Zurenborg’, one of the oldest popular places, then people started moving to the south (‘t Zuid), then to the station area, and now it’s all booming around the north side (Dam & ’t Eilandje) with the new park and the fantastic new MAS museum.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
I would start with a great breakfast, for instance at Berlin, which is a good starting point to do some shopping. Do that before lunch, because it can get crowdy in the shops! If the weather’s nice, you can go fetch a pick-nick basket at Caravan, and hang out in the park Spoor Noord. If you have children, they’ll love to play in the fountains
The MAS-museum is not far away from there, as I mentioned before, it’s worth a visit! Head back to the city centre and go grab a cocktail at Cocktails at Nine (article about this place coming soon!) and treat yourself to a great Thai dinner. Walk by the water to see the sunset, in the summer there’s even a tribune where you can watch it.
To end the day, make your way to the Zurenborg area and find yourself a nice terrace at De Dageraadplaats, a great place as well to discover some (all?) of the great Belgian beers. Enjoy your day!
Check out all Caroline Dhont’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters.