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.

Bert Jacobs

Bert Jacobs, 1987

Visual Artist

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’m a visual artist working with different medias, creating site-specific installations for events and interventions. I’d like to say I translate observations into art. I studied visual arts in Ghent, where I also organised concerts and experimental artistic events. An interest in scenography grew out of this, leading me to create installations. My work is always determined on who I’m working with and where I’m located. The context – here and now – plays a big role in my creative process. For instance, if I work on an exhibition in a village with a huge aluminium factory, I will most likely use the aluminium at hand.

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

It’s still shaping me. I think it opens the way I look at things. I grew up in Turnhout, and as it’s a small city, you quickly get the feeling that you’re on top of it all. I moved to Ghent, which is bigger but also similarly Flemish and thus closer to me, so I felt like I could still reach the ceiling. However, living in Brussels feels like living abroad: as a Flemish, I think Brussels feels very different when you consider its different layers and communities, or the fact that it’s the capital of Europe… It’s a very rich city. You can be local yet anonymous at the same time. It’s changed me because I’m now less afraid to explore new opportunities, reach out to people or leave my comfort zone – not only physically, but also when it comes to challenges. I’m not only looking at what’s next door anymore.

I get a lot of great ideas while riding my bike. It’s almost become a necessity – if I don’t bike for a while, I feel the need to.

List three things you like the most about Brussels, bike-related or not.

  • Its people.
  • The fact that Brussels is never finished and never will be: it’s constantly in perpetual evolution. You could stay it’s stuck, but I like this ambiguity.
  • Its geographical location in Europe and the world. Brussels is a really good base to leave and come back to.

List three deciding factors that converted you to bicycle use.

  • Practicality: I work in downtown Brussels, so I ride along the canal, which is really nice, but also faster than driving or using public transport.
  • It’s good for the mind. Brussels is a very demanding city, inviting you to be social. There’s a lot of traffic too, which can be a cause of stress. When you cycle, you can enjoy a moment alone while in motion – a great condition for meditation. I get a lot of great ideas while riding my bike. It’s almost become a necessity – if I don’t bike for a while, I feel the need to.
  • I don’t get fat.