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.

Heleen Declerq

Heleen Declerq

Director and photographer (1995)

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’m a Brussels-based director and photographer specialising in documentary filmmaking. As a kid, I was intrigued by my mother’s V8 camera. That’s when I made my first “documentary”. Back then I didn’t have much to film, except for kittens and the surrounding nature. Today, I’m still into the whole camera thing, but I’m more into human interest stories and visual portraits. I portray people who I would love to understand more; people who can make me and others smarter with their story. Ironically, I’m not that much into books or movies, so this is my way of understanding the world better. I love making documentaries because I can reach people who had the same questions as I did. I think the world is made more beautiful through my film and photo lenses than through my eyes, and I love trying to show this view to other people.

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

Brussels has always been a challenge to me, but not always in a bad way. I think Brussels can be very chaotic and hectic. I sometimes struggle with the duality of the love I have for the city and the chaos that prevails here. Sometimes I just need some rest and I think it’s difficult for me to find it in the city that I love. At the same time, this chaos is what drives me: it’s a big source of inspiration and there’s always something happening. It’s also easy to meet interesting people in Brussels, because it’s easier to approach someone with a drink in your hand, and I’m much more sociable when I drink anyways!

List three things you like the most about Brussels.

  • I like cycling downhill in Brussels, but I hate going up. That’s why I go up with the metro and go down with my bike.
  • I love how everyone is being creative in their own way without always seeing it as a big business. I know people who keep lots of nice artwork in their house without minding if no one ever sees them. They make art for themselves, as a form or therapy or something.
  • The city’s cafés when they close their curtains: that’s when the parties really begin.

I sometimes struggle with duality of the love I have for the city and the chaos that prevails here.

List three favourite bike routes in Brussels.

  • From the Palace of Justice to Dansaert.
  • The pedestrian zone by night.
  • From Duden Park to Dansaert.
heleendeclercq.com