Today an interview with Wouter Spitters, Spotter for our Brussels cityblog! We met Wouter last year for a beer in a typically Belgian cafe in the center of Brussels.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Leuven, a small but dynamic student town not far from Brussels. I’m a music addict and cinema aficionado, interested in sports, photography and good food.
Thanks to some coincidences at my job I had the opportunity to work a year in the lovely city of Genoa. When I came back from Italy and had to look again for a nice place to live, Brussels was the obvious choice for me.
A lot of my leisure time I spend nowadays photographing for our ‘stadsbiografie’ project, a city biography of Brussels in images. Check us out on Facebook.
How do you like being a Spotter?
I use Spotted by Locals myself when I’m go citytrippin’. It’s fun to do something back and do my share in guiding people to spots they can enjoy when they are bored with pizzahut, starbucks and subway.
Which prejudices about Brussels are true? Which ones are not?
People that don’t know the city might think Brussels is a dull, gray and dirty but apart from the latter one the opposite is true. There is so much going on here, with all the exhibitions, parades, parties, festivals and concerts; the main problem is making a choice. If you like good food, concerts and cinema… this place is a paradise.
And as for the dirty part…
I have to admit that the route from midi station to the center the first three minutes can be a bit ‘smelly’ due to the fact that city police doesn’t always hunt ‘clochards’ and yes, there are indeed some areas that might appear ‘poor’. I’ve seen some other European cities were the entire city has been ‘cleaned up’ from anything that would hurt the eye of a certain type of tourist, well they’ve become artificial, soulless open air museums where only the rich can live and the poor are put safely away in out-of-sight-zones… well, if you ask me, I prefer the human way.
What is a must do when you visiting Brussels? What not?
Of course you can start with the classics such as the Atomium, the European neighbourhood, Manneke pis, the Horta House, the Magritte Museums, nothing wrong with that. If time permits do explore the Marolles and go up with the elevator to the Poelaert square to take some sun and enjoy the view.
Head back downtown via the Sablon. Excellent spot if you want to buy quality chocolate, Marcolini, Godiva, Neuhaus, Leonidas, they’re all there. If you’re back in the Grand Place area and you’re looking for a nice place to sit and relax on a terrace go to St Gery or the Oude Graanmarkt.
What do you know about Brussels what no tourist will know?
Most people don’t know that we have a river, the Senne, running under the city. Close to the midi station there is a place where you stil can see it. Maybe an interesting spot to talk about in my next article.
Do you know Manneke Pis also has a sister, Janneke, and even an ultracute dog, Zinneke? Now book your ticket to Brussels and try to find them! Or browse my colleagues’ articles on Spotted by Locals ;)
Check out all Wouter’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters