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.
We’re located in the Seefhoek neighbourhood, which is pretty up-and-coming and where people from all ages and cultures live together. From old Antwerp dinosaurs and immigrants to young families and students. This diversity doesn’t always make it easy, but it’s pretty amusing. Most of our visitors live in the neighbourhood.
How do you perceive Antwerp? 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?
At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, I live in the most pleasant town in the world. While I enjoy travelling, I’m always happy to return to Antwerp. The city always buzzes, and there’s always something going on.
It’s a pleasant city, which (I hope) made me into a pleasant man.
What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives? What gives the city its edge?
The sheer variety of cultural centres, organisations and creative spaces all create invaluable opportunities for cross-pollination.
How would you say has Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?
Literally everything. I was born and raised in the famous Kloosterstraat, and I have nothing but good memories about those years. It’s a pleasant city, which (I hope) made me into a pleasant man.
On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?
Even more culture, in all shapes and forms – painting, sculpture, museums, music venues, cinema. Doesn’t matter. More culture is always a good thing. It’s where people meet and connect. It’s something to be proud of and to learn from. I know this might come off as idealistic, but at Filmhuis Klappei, this is how I experience my role in the city.
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?
The Roma, the Fine Arts Museum, the Zurenborg neighbourhood, the old centre and Café Het Heilig Kruisken, my sister’s bar.
A local legend, neighbourhood anecdote or urban myth?
Charel Janssens, one of Belgium’s oldest movie stars starred in some 40 African and international film productions between 1934 and 1970. He used to live in the Klappeistraat. We used to screen some of his movies for the old people here. Really a terror to look at but we did it out of love for our neighbourhood.klappei.be Interview Esther Hoedemakers Photography Joke De Wilde