Artist / photographer Stephan Vanfleteren and H.E. Ambassador Chris Hoornaert.
By Roy Lie A Tjam.
For the fourth consecutive year the residence of the Belgium Ambassador in The Hague served as a venue for the showcasing of Belgian artists. The initiative for this annual event was taken by the previous Ambassador, with the aim of providing an opportunity for all ten Belgian provinces to promote their art in the Netherlands. This time around it was the turn of the province of West-Vlaanderen.
The theme chosen was “Het Verbeelde Westen” (The Imaginary West). A large delegation visited The Hague for the vernissage, which was attended not only by the Flemish community in the Netherlands but also by many invitees such as heads of diplomatic missions, dignitaries and other friends of Belgium.
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In his welcome address, H.E. Ambassador Chris Hoornaert referred to the good neighbour relationship between Belgium and the Netherlands. There are plenty of striking similarities between the two countries, he observed. Ambassador Hoornaert praised the ten participating artists for the outstanding contribution they have made to West-Vlaanderen.
The exhibition includes works from the provincial collection, the collection Mu.ZEE and from the artists themselves: Charif Benhelima, Ronny Delrue, Wim Delvoye, Robert Devriendt, Lili Dujourie, Nick Ervinck, Stéphanie Leblon, Johan Tahon, Stephan Vanfleteren and Johan van Geluwe.
Ambassador Hoornaert was followed by the Governor of the Province of West-Vlaanderen, Mr. Carl Decluwe, and then by Mr. Jan Denolf, Provincial Cultural Director. Both expressed their admiration for the exposition and praised the close cooperation between Belgium and the Netherlands.
The Province of Vlaanderen successfully gained the support of a number of sponsors for the exhibition, including beer brewers and producers of gin, chocolate, cheese and Belgian delicacies.
Many argue that the best beer in the world comes from Belgium, and in particular from the Province of West-Vlaanderen which is today in the limelight. The Ambassador himself hails from West-Vlaanderen.
Aside from the art exhibition, there was also a token of Belgian hospitality: a constant flow of savoury snacks, beer and other beverages. Visitors were offered a specially designed catalogue in which photographer Frederik Vercruysse, renowned at home and abroad for his architectural and interior photos, gives one an impression of the building where the exhibition is now taking place – an impressive mansion built in 1925.
The exhibition will run until the end of 2016.