The Mechelen Hundred

Portraits of a city's people, today

Nestled between Brussels and Antwerp, Mechelen has often been overshadowed by its larger neighbours. Yet teaming up with the City of Mechelen, our line-up of 100 of the city’s most prominent people, places and projects proves the extent of its potential. From artists and creatives to critical thinkers and fighters, these are the powerhouses driving Mechelen forward one step at a time.

Christina De Witte

Christina De Witte

Comic artist With A Passion For Naps (1996)

Can you describe what you do? Where you are based, the neighbourhood you live in, your daily routine, the people you work with, the scene you feel the closest to.

I’m a comic artist, illustrator and writer. The fun thing about my job is that every day is different. Often I prefer to just work at home. I’m fully focused when I’m on my own, but that’s just me. When I do collaborations, it’s mostly online. In that case, I just draw up a plan with the other artist and see if it works.

I recently moved into my own apartment. This was a huge step for me since I’m only 21, but for me, the time was right. Having my own safe space where I can fully develop my art and style is just lovely. Living in the city centre is important to me because being close to my friends, family is relaxing and having all the stores, bakeries nearby is a bonus.

How do you perceive Mechelen? In your view, what kind of city is it? Its people, its cultural landscape, its vibe? How does it compare to other, similarly-sized cities?

I think Mechelen is very vibrant and alive, especially compared to five years ago. I grew up in Mechelen, so I have witnessed the changes that the city went through. I feel like the people here have a specific kind of attitude and feeling towards each other. Everybody knows everybody, especially in the centre. Comparing Mechelen to other cities, the Mechlinians are a very humble yet talented bunch. When I take a look at the awesome (art) projects, pop up stores and other entrepreneurial movements that are started here, I can only feel proud.

What would you say is Mechelen’s main appeal as a city? What gives it its edge?

Mechelen is unique in the sense that it has a lot of both green areas and water, and the potential of a big city like Antwerp or Brussels. Mechelen is rather small, but it’s so much fun to live in. Everything is really close, but you can still enjoy your peace and quiet. There are a lot of beautiful chill spots, free music festivals, and cool projects to experience.

How has Mechelen contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?

I have always felt that my home-town has got my back when it comes to my career. The help, the intense rooting… I’ve never experienced that much support from the people in my direct area. Both financially and mentally, I got the help that I needed in order to make my dreams come true. ArteNova needs to be mentioned here. This is a great co-working space for all kinds of creative people, they gave me a place to write and finish my book. It has a special place in my heart.

On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city? What could it do better?

My friends and I love going out in our hometown. Although the past years have seen an increase in the amount of venues for night life, I still feel like there aren’t enough proper party spots, we could always do with more. Good examples are Kuub, De Club, M.E.C., De Komeet etc…

To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Mechelen?

I would definitely start by showing them the Bruul shopping street, just because it’s worth a look. Then we would grab a drink at the Vismarkt. We would then walk through Botanique and grab some lunch there and enjoy the weather. In the afternoon, we would ride our bikes to Vrijbroekpark to catch a tennis session. We could go out for dinner in Chopsticks (a sushi place) or Il Cardinale for quality hamburgers. To finish off, we would grab another drink in the same area, before heading to Kuub to enjoy a party.

Instagram: @chrostin