Tomorrowland and Suikerrock

I thought, in addition to our post on Sfinks, we should mention a couple of other festivals here in Flanders to give our visitors an idea of what this oft-overlooked part of Europe has to offer. Two of the larger, more famous festivals include Tomorrowland and Suikerrock.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is one of Europe’s most popular dance and electronic music festivals. The festival, which is known for its fantasy themes and crazy sets and costumes, takes place in the almost implausibly named Flemish town of Boom, located south of Antwerp.

This year’s lineup included: Afrojack, Skrillex, Martin Solveig, Paul van Dyke, Sven Väth, and David Guetta, DJ Magazine’s 2011 top-ranked DJ. It also marked what is expected to be the final performance of Swedish House Mafia. This festival is so popular that tickets sold out worldwide in less than two hours.

Suikerrock

Suikerrock (Sugar Rock), which takes place in Tienen just east of Leuven, is a well-established rock/pop festival which has been running for 25 years.

The 2012 lineup featured several American favorites including Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, and LMFAO as well as a hugh list of top European artists, such as Status Quo, Mika, Texas, and Belgian band Triggerfinger. (Damn, I should have included Suikerrock on my trip, I didn’t know ZZ Top was playing!)

Clearly, Flanders may be small geographically, but this little region has A LOT to offer.

Antwerp

You know a city is good when, within the first ten minutes, you find yourself wanting to live there. To me, Antwerp is certainly one of the most appealing cities in Europe. Somehow, it manages to exude an air of sophistication while remaining totally unpretentious. Locals are friendly, helpful, and incredibly down-to-earth. The stunning old city center, a maze of cultural and architectural highlights, is worth the visit alone.

Just the short walk from Antwerp’s monumental train station via the Meir to the Grote Markt feels like a short course in European architecture. From the phenomenal Baroque buildings that mark the entrance to Leystraat to the Rococo Paleis op de Meir (which houses the Chocolate Line) to the beautiful Renaissance Stadhuis, it just keeps getting Continue…

The Shock-o-latier

If Marie Antoinette and Willy Wonka had a love child, that would be Dominique Persoone. In the land of chocolate, the so-called “Shock-o-latier” is half rock star and half master chef. And his mouth-watering works of art are literally sold in what looks like a museum.

As soon as you enter The Chocolate Line in Antwerp, it’s clear this is no ordinary chocolatier. Looks a little like Napoleon’s kitchen? That’s because it actually was. Apparently, if it’s good enough for Napoleon, the Princess of Orange, and King Leopold II, it’s just about good enough for Persoone’s chocolate creations Continue…