About Me

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Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome to the new, and improved version of Heaven in Belgium. I am Jientje. "Jientje", like the boys name Gene, followed by "chu"? "Gene-chu", that's how you pronounce my name. Yes!!!!That's it!! So now you know huh? I am an addicted blogger. I was born and raised and am still living in Belgium. Yeah, the "this-is- Tuesday-so-this-must-be-Brussels" kind of Belgium .. There, you see? Maybe you couldn't find it on the map, but at least I'm trying to change that a little by sharing lots of pictures. I really love to cook and create new things, like this blog for instance. I am a mother,a grandmothe and a wife too! They say I'm a traveler, and a photographer. Well that's just what they say, I love to make pictures, but I am far from professional ... If my English is not perfect, that would be because it's my second language. I do hope you'll forgive me any possible misspellings or strange vocabulary ... Now, as a result of all of the above, I get way too little sleep and my days are always much too short!


Heaven is in Belgium

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Ballroom of Waltz

A couple of days ago, I saw a post at Korie’s blog Lilacspecs featuring a video of Frank Vander Linden and his song “In de Walszaal”. It’s a Flemish singer and the lyrics are in Dutch. It’s here if you want to hear it. (You could open it in a different tab, click on the video and come back here to enjoy the music while you’re looking at the pictures, it’s the perfect way to enjoy this post.)
I was totally in love with the song from the first time I heard it. Korie did an outstanding job translating it, she turned it into real poetry. Then she sent the lyrics to me, because I had told her I had the perfect pictures to go with it. I hope my pictures add to her beautiful lyrics.

This is the Antwerp City Festive Hall, the place I dragged Gattina into just before we went to the station. It was used as a ballroom in the golden years where people still used to dress up in beautiful evening gowns. My husband used to go there as a young man. It had been destroyed by a fire sometime during the eighties . It took many many years to restore the place but now they reopened it as a shopping mall. The designers have combined the original architecture with modern features in a very clever way (to my taste at least, I know not everybody agrees, but still).

To me, it’s one of the most beautiful places in Antwerp, and I have made photo’s from it on various occasions. Let me take you there …

Just imagine you’re spinning around in the arms of a handsome romantic dance partner wearing one of those beautiful dresses, dancing to the music of a beautiful waltz.
Enjoy ….

In the ballroom
I saw you standing
And walls and I both did agree

That the ballroom
As old as she was
Never the same could she be

In the ballroom
We whispered together
While the music played loudly

There was so much to say, and no need for explaining
And I had eyes for no one but you.

In the ballroom, slowly we spun
Slower and slower, with shallower breath
And today our dance may be done

In the ballroom I met you
And there I can lose you for good
Ah, the wind from the north and the emptier words
Ends the dancing long before it should

In the ballroom, I’m asking you now
Give us just one last chance
For the ballroom was once just for us

We did so much more than just dance.
We did so much more than just dance.


Leora said...

Glorious. They will never build like this again. I prefer it as a ballroom; malls depress me. Funny to see a sign for Urban Outfitters.

Wanda..... said...

Such a beautiful "Grand and Graceful" creation...

Suburban Girl said...

Beautiful..Urban Outfitters-a bit of a misfit, ashame...but the rest is beautiful!

Nicole said...

Oh wow, that isdef. one awesome building. So many delicate details!

moneythoughts said...

Again beautiful pictures. Beautiful building, even with the Urban Outfitters. :-)

Korie said...

ooh! I was wondering what pictures you'd have. CB and I were in this mall once. It's definitely beautiful (well, the architecture part of it).

Libby's Library said...

Gorgeous - my two favorite pics are the second one and the chandelier!
Beautiful Jientje. Just beautiful!

Cherie said...

Stunning. I'm so glad that they were able to save the building. I would love to dance in it too. Looks like there's still plenty of space to me. ;) The song is lovely as well. I heard somewhere the Flemish is the language most closely related to English (the parts that they didn't "borrow" from French), and I can well believe that after listening to that beautifully lilting song.

Melli said...

The more I see of Antwerp, the more I realize I have NOTHING to show you here! NOTHING! LOL! I can't even IMAGINE shopping in a MALL that looks like that! I can't really imagine DANCING there either -- though that's less of a stretch! Absolutely GORGEOUS!

Melli said...

By the way - my favorite is the dancing statue!

Nessa said...

Wow. What a beautiful post. I turned the music on like you said and read and looked. Wonderful.

kayerj said...

Wow! one of your best, thanks

Gattina said...

It really is a wonderful and special place, it looks like out of another time and then there are all these modern shops and boutiques in there, so strange. Next time I want to have a coffee with you there and just looking up to the golden ceiling !
Thanks to your post I can now sing : "Unforgettable, lalala" (take earplugs !)

Unknown said...

Gewoon fantastisch.

MrsLittleJeans said...

I can't tell you how delightful the music and lyrics are...you already know it! Thank you for beautifying my morning.


Jientje said...

@ Leora: Times have changed, they prefer malls over ballrooms nowadays. I feared people would not respect the place, but up until now, and I think we're almost two years later since it opened, I think they do. Let's keep it that way.
@ Wanda: So well said, Grand and Graceful. Thanks.
@ Rebecca: Well Urban Outfitters IS there. Everybody understands why,... now don't we?
@ Nicole: delicate is the word, yes.
@ Moneythoughts: I'm SURE you understand why?
@ Lilacspecs: I hope you liked it!
@ Libby: It was hard to choose. I have so many pictures from this favorite place.
@ Cherie: I'm glad you listened to the song as well. I think Dutch is more closely related to German than to English, but I can't speak or understand German as well as English. But we all learn English at school. And I would love to dance in there too. There's room enough, for more than two.
@ Melli: Nothing? In Washington DC? That cannot be true. There is beauty everywhere.
@ Nessa: I'm so glad you did. And that you enjoyed it.
@ kaye: Thanks!!! Glad you liked it!
@ Gattina: We will!!
@ Lou: You'll never cease to amaze me yourself.
@ MrsMittleJeans: You're welcome!

Loree said...

What an amazing place. It must have looked very magical when it was still a ballroom.

Jientje said...

@ Loree: I'm not sure. My husband says it's prettier now.

Anonymous said...

The words are so are to describe how beautiful this is and the waltz that you take us there with. These are just awesome. What a beautiful post this is. Excellent my friend :)

Dianne said...

it is an amazing and magical place
and your photos of it are treasures!!

P-TER said...

prachtige standpunten en dedails,
het is een plezeir om naar te kijken!
knap Jientje!
PS: de fotobijeenkomst komt er wel maar nu heb ik het even te druk!

quilly said...

This looks to be an intriguing mix of old and new -- the old stately gilded walls and ceilings, and the new, flashily gilded shopping mall. The uniting of the two is jarring, yet harmonious.

Momisodes said...

You weaved these photos and words together just beautifully. The detail in all of the architecture is gorgeous.

Avril said...

Wow - you have photographed the beauty of the building (don't like the modern bits - but I suppose it needed to be used in order for people to see it otherwise it would never have been restored)

Becky said...

Grand ballroom indeed! Magnificent chandelier!

The Retired One said...

The architecture is just breathtaking...I can imagine a great many romances started there....

EG CameraGirl said...

This place is...BEAUTIFUL!

SandyCarlson said...

What a sumptuous place. I sure do love the dancer!

aspiritofsimplicity said...

Wow! What a beautiful and magical place. And, the words to the song just come alive. I can picture myself dancing in there. I think that even those of us who don't dance well would be able to trip the light fantastic in that place. It's like going back in time.

Anonymous said...

At first I thought - shopping - that is sad - on second thought - this is great - everybody can see it, touch it, feel it, smell it, taste it. Regular people - not only the rich and well connected :) As long as busyness comply with the overall style - let them shop til they drop!
These photos have so much detail and soul food in it - I can't get enough!

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