Can you describe what you do? Where you are based?
I’m in charge of coordination at Cinema Zuid, Antwerp’s former Film Museum located in Het Zuid. We offer daily screenings of classics, experimental cinema, animation and recent arthouse films. All of this happens in collaboration with M HKA museum. And while film is indeed one of my passions, and my daily job, my real interest lies in the (local) art scene.
How do you perceive Antwerp’s people, its cultural landscape, its vibe?
Antwerp is perfect to live in and offers everything you need. We have a beautiful Fashion Museum, MoMu, several thriving Museums for Contemporary Art, photography, immigration and MAS, Antwerp’s recently built landmark. A handful of the best fashion designers in the world are based in Antwerp, as well – Dries Van Noten’s flagship store being a firm fixture of the city’s landscape.
It would be great to see a deeper connection between the political world and the art scene.
What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives?
Fashion seems to be the most attractive asset, it brings about a lot of young creative people and hipsters.
What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?
On a professional basis, Antwerp didn’t play that much of a role. I was born here, but only recently started working here. I was active at Dutch TV station VPRO, Canvas and other media for over 10 years.
On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?
An active interest from the City administration in the cultural scene and its activities. I often visit openings at the many galleries spread out around town, but I have yet to meet a local politician. The same goes for our screenings at Cinema Zuid. It would be great to see a deeper connection between the political world and the art scene. Culture is for many tourists the main reason for their visit, and the fact that we have such a vibrant creative scene is, of course, partly thanks to the city council. But it seems that it’s mainly the private initiatives that get things moving.
To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? If you had to take out-of- towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?
Stay at a local, small hotel or B&B and taste the incredible food at the Veranda – if you can get a table, sometimes it’s fully booked two months in advance. Otherwise Marché Couvert, Walrus Restaurant, Lim and Yan, Azuma or Ciro’s are great alternatives – to name just a few.
A local legend, neighbourhood anecdote or urban myth?
An incredible anecdote would be that, a couple of decades ago, when pitched the idea of building a new city on the Scheldt river’s left bank, designed by Le Corbusier, our mayor quoted, “The left bank? Who wants to live there?” Nowadays the left bank is the disctrict where you can spot ugly architecture and other remnants of the 70s. Talk about a missed opportunity to attract millions of city-trippers to come and visit Le Corbusier’s planned satellite town.cinemazuid.be Photography Joke De Wilde