HORST and ONKRUID co-founder Jochem Daelman’s commuting go-to spots

In a series built in collaboration with gin imprint Bulldog to get a better understanding of the Belgian oh-so-special nightlife, we met six of the country’s proeminent figures – Dour’s Mathieu Fonsny, Horst’s Jochem Daelman, Deep in House’s Tom Raoul, Hush Hush’s Hush Hefner, Crevette Records’ Pim Thomas and Studio Brussel’s Charlotte de Witte. Now that we know a little more about it, it’s time to dig into Belgium’s urban hot-spots.

HORST festival co-ordinator and Leuven native Jochem Daelman co-founded ONKRUID, a cross-disciplinary socio-urban development collective. Having recently relocated, we caught up with Jochem to find out his favourite go-to-spots in his hometown, to discoveries in his new Brussels home.

Photographer Thomas Ost (c).

I’m currently in between places, more specifically Leuven and Brussels. I moved to the capital last year, but our ONKRUID headquarters are still based in Leuven. So I’m constantly going back and forth between my hometown and the people I grew up with, and my new base in Brussels where I once studied and continue to explore everyday. Having grown up in Leuven, it can often feel like a small village where everybody knows each other. We’re all connected in some way shape of form. Leuven’s size is incomparable to Brussels of course – yet the capital also manages to maintain the intimacy of a small city. Its inhabitants are one-of-a-kind, a true mix of the Dutch- and French-speaking communities. And not just for locals – Brussels has been adopted by many non-Belgians as their new home. Which speaks volumes about the city itself: it’s welcoming, diverse and atypical in a way. As someone told me recently, “You can’t become an Antwerpenaar – but you can become a Brusseleir.” I live in the northern neighbourhood of Tour & Taxis (Avenue du Port 86c Havenlaan, 1000), on the border of Molenbeek (1080) and Jette (1090), close to Parckfarm (Boulevard du Jubilé 202 Jubelfeestlaan, 1080). It’s actually a pretty quiet area, filled with families and green spaces. A good place to live in, even if it’s a bit weaker on the food and drink front.

As someone told me recently, “You can’t become an Antwerpenaar – but you can become a Brusseleir.”

My work is temporarily based in Leuven’s beautiful art deco Comenius building (60 Tiensevest, 3000), soon to become the International House. It’s located right by the station, making for quick and easy mobility – though it has to be said that a downside to commuting seems to be that I don’t get the chance to fully experience both cities to the fullest. My go-to place in my hometown is Bar Stan (2 Constantin Meunierstraat, 3000): from morning till sundown, it feels like home. Their food is great, and just always feels like the right setting for any occasion, from a catch-up with friends to a cosy business lunch. And the secret’s out of the bag: by 8h30 on a good day, the place is as good as full. Besides Bar Stan, STUK (96 Naamsestraat, 3000) is an awesome spot for all things music, arts and dance – and of course, plenty of new things popping up all over town. Leuven finally seems to be catching up. I’m still discovering Brussels – we try to go out for dinner every week in a different neighbourhood. Nights out at Rick Shiver‘s Nose Job parties – often at Kumiko (Rue d’Alost 7 Aalststraat, 1000)- have been a great inauguration to the city. Forest / Vorst’s WIELS (354 Avenue Van Volxemlaan, 1190) is also a clear favourite now.