Ostend: A Sea Change

Ostend is different. Other resorts along Belgium’s North Sea coastline are small, touristy places. But Ostend is a real city.


Along the Belgian Coast in a Streetcar named Desire

The author sets off on the longest tram ride in the world, all the way along the Belgian coast from De Panne to Knokke: 67 kilometers, 68 stops. A strip of fantasies. Now and then he gets out of the vehicle to glance at a nudist beach, a f...


The Lost Highway. Journey along the Kortrijksesteenweg

The plan was to drive from Ghent to Kortrijk on the old Kortrijksesteenweg. Houses in various eclectic styles, hypermarkets, car showrooms, roadside brothels, bars and forgotten hotels, churches and a statue of a caribou perced on a rock. ...


The Ghost Village

Derek Blyth ends up in a deserted village that refuses to die.


Home Sweet Caravan

Derek Blyth hits the road in a very Dutch phenomenon, the caravan.


The Strange Art of Pieter Bruegel

Walking through Brussels, sooner or later you will come across Pieter Bruegel the Elder and his enigmatic art. Derek Blyth would join you in a minute.


The World According to Gerardus

Derek Blyth pays tribute to the man who has shown us the way for more than four hundred years: the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator.


A Whiter Shade of Car

The bicycle and car sharing that we know today can be traced back to the ‘White Bicycles’ and ‘White Cars’ initiated by the Provo movement.


Utrecht Is More Than the Birthplace of a Cute Rabbit

Utrecht is so much more than a pleasant day trip from Amsterdam. Discover its picturesque canals, lively pub culture, the world’s largest bike parking garage and a cute little rabbit that pops up everywhere in town.


The Lost Cemeteries of 1917

The small cemeteries in and around Ypres provide a unique way of understanding the First World War.


Smoked Sausages and Sensible Knickers

Whoever visits the Netherlands, can't ignore them. Sooner or later you walk into one of the 550 Hema shops to buy a bicycle bell, sandwich or stapler. The brand is as Dutch as the tulip.


Remembering the V2 Attack on Cinema Rex

75 years ago, a German V2 bomb hit the popular Cinema Rex in Antwerp. 567 people were killed. It took more than a week to recover their bodies from under the rubble.


Football Fans and a Farting Dog

Since it was established in 1971, ‘De Engelbewaarder’ has been known as the first literary café in the Netherlands. Not only John Irving once drank a beer there.


The Busy Beehive

The oldest Dutch department store chain De Bijenkorf is celebrating its 150th year.


The End of Melancholy. Mechelen Revisited

It's early morning in Mechelen and the streets are empty. Derek Blyth is looking forward to wandering down the cobbled lanes, looking inside gothic churches, passing some time in the municipal museum, and ending up, as everyone does, in one...


Hasselt: The Taste of the City

In Hasselt there's no big square, no great art collection, none of the sense of ancient history you feel in nearby towns like Tongeren or Maastricht. Yet it's somehow quietly appealing. At the end of his day in Hasselt, Derek Blyth took a f...


Of Rabbits and Queens. The Hardship and Bliss of Learning Dutch

To the author, it is impossible to imagine living in the Low Countries without talking Dutch. Deprived of the Dutch teaching he had as a native speaker of English, he would remain baffled by Dutch street names, like Beenhouwersstraat, Hands...


Love in a Cold Climate. Dangerous Liaisons in the Low Countries

Some people have gone to France or Italy in search of passionate romance, but others have fallen hopelessly in love in the unpromising dampness of the Low Countries. The stories of James Boswell and Belle van Zuylen, Charlotte Brontë and he...


Let There Be Light. Discovering Eindhoven

Back in the 1880s, when Van Gogh was plodding through the Brabant potato fields, Eindhoven was just a small Catholic town. Now it is the fifth largest city in the Netherlands, with an acclaimed modern art museum and a world-class design ac...


Middelburg. The Town in the Middle

When I visited Middelburg for the first time, back in the early 1980s, the town was an old-fashioned, religious place. It was a Sunday and everything was closed, except for the churches, which were full. It felt twenty years behind Amsterd...


From Saint Arnold to Burp Castle. Beer in Flanders

Beer drinking in Flanders goes back a long way. The rich heritage of Flemish beer used to be a well-kept secret, but the efforts of café owners and writers have helped to promote the image of Flemish ales. As word gets around, the names of ...



British journalist Derek Blyth travels through the Low Countries and stops in cities that are worth visiting. Each time he looks at the place and its inhabitants through curious glasses.


The L-Spot

You think you know Flanders and the Netherlands. But take it from us, you haven’t seen anything yet. British journalist Derek Blyth takes you on microadventures to L-Spots, hidden and exciting places in the Low Countries.

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