The Brussels Bike Hundred

100 portraits, stories and bicycles

We’re teaming up with Bike for Brussels to put together a 100-strong selection of local heroes shaping the city each in their own way. From designers and DJs to performers and publishers, these are the creatives riding Brussels forward.

Anne Franssen

Anne Franssen, 1963

Co-founder of sunny-side-up

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’m a graphic designer at sunny-side-up, the agency I founded together with Nathalie Wathelet in 2013. Besides that, I occasionally write for contemporary artists, mostly friends, and I also started to teach printmaking at La Cambre last year. Transmitting; having another relationship to art than just seeing, buying or collecting; debating with young artists who still want to make a better world… I love it!

How has Brussels shaped you as an individual as well as your professional activities?

I love Brussels: it’s got a good quality of life for a decent price. Like many others, I came to Brussels to study and decided to stay because I saw it was possible to build a life and career as a young independent worker. It’s still very much the case compared to other big cities, and it’s decisive for the rest of your life. Moreover, Brussels is a city with incredible human, architectural and social diversity. There will always be room for a new “other” because it’s this mix that nourishes our cultural specificity. As a result, the people of Brussels do not feel attached to fixed cultural traditions; rather, it’s in the interstices, exchanges, and hollow spaces that creative people draw their inspiration and work from, in a markedly different approach which is recognised beyond our borders.

Moreover, Brussels is a city with incredible human, architectural and social diversity.

List three things you like the most about Brussels.

I particularly like its green spaces – from private to public, including the exceptional Sonian Forest. Also, its social mix and alternative art scene nourished by singular, often collective initiatives, alternative publishing fairs, non-profit art spaces and bubbling art schools.

List three deciding factors that converted you to bicycle use.

It’s non-polluting, active and fun.

What are your favourite bike routes in Brussels?

I don’t have any special route, but I carefully avoid paved streets, tram rails and intense car traffic. My trips might be a bit longer, but they’re always more enjoyable.