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.

Merzedes Šturm-Lie

Merzedes Šturm-Lie, 1991

Multidisciplinary artist and performer

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’m a contemporary artist and curator. I work with many different media such as sculpture, performance, paintings, video and sound. In my work I often integrate artefacts of historical or cultural importance. I view history as an endless spiral of construction and de(con)struction and I’m always somehow investigating this juxtaposition. I studied at Sint Lukas Hogeschool Brussel and at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. I co-founded several artist-run spaces both in Brussels – Swallowing Helmets, Espace0IN – and Stockholm – Sekten, Konstattack. I find it important to create inclusive and experimental platforms for art and to support other artists in and out of one’s own circle.

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

I grew up in the city centre in what was once rumoured the most dangerous street of Brussels. I have seen Brussels move from an empty, unknown and dangerous city where no parents wanted their kids to hang out to a busy city with vibrant nightlife and art scenes. I was a real chatterbox as a kid, so my parents – who are artists themselves – used to take me to gallery openings and encourage me to talk to artists. For them it was a great way of getting a little reprieve while for me it became the starting point of my interest in art.

Cruising through the city centre with your bike allows you to see different sceneries and discover new treasures.

List three things you like the most about Brussels.

  • Coming from a very mixed background myself, I love the multicultural and non-homogeneous character of Brussels. I lived a few years with my parents in a counsel housing flat in the Marolles area. It’s next to the Boulevard du Midi/Zuidlaan and it’s great to experience a street filled with shops and bars from various cultures, from Brazilian, to Belgian, Congolese, Polish, Moroccan, or Greek.
  • Brussels traditional bars: working at the Daringman or Chez Martine as many call it, is something I love. In these bars filled with Brussels artists, musicians, writers and other city wanderers you can eat your sandwich and read the paper at daytime or have a wild party at nighttime.
  • The flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenplein: when I was a child, the flea market was Brussels’ ultimate alternative to toy stores. You can find some real gems there, especially if you wait until the end.

List three deciding factors that converted you to bicycle use.

  • Riding a bike is cheaper and faster than walking or driving.
  • I’m no longer relying on public transport, which is nice after a long nightshift at Café Daringman.
  • To top it off, it’s a nice way to discover the city and get some fresh air.

List three favourite bike routes in Brussels.

  • Biking along the canal from Tour & Taxis towards Vilvorde / Vilvoorde, passing Brussels industrial area as well as several parks and a bit of nature. You can also take your bike with you on the boat and then cycle on the way back.
  • Cycling in Bois de la Cambre/Ter Kamerenbos is a nice way to get a break from the dense city life and to explore one of the most beautiful green spots Brussels has to offer.
  • Cruising through the city centre with your bike is always cool. You see different sceneries and often discover new treasures.