Visit to Belgium

April 29, 2007

Brussels Grand Place

From Wednesday to Sunday, I was in Belgium, taking part in the Meeting of the Minds conference in Antwerp:

On my way, I spent a few hours in Brussels (taking the Eurostar train from London) before getting on a train to Antwerp. I had lunch with BookMooch fan and Associated Press Reporter Aoife White, a Dubliner who’s relocated to Brussels since a few years. Found out that she’d mooched two books from my wife, which was an amazing connection.

Some photos of Brussels (just another amazingly beautiful European city)

I spent a few hours at the Music Instrument Museum in Brussels. Here are a bunch of photos from that:


Picture 2Wednesday night kicked off with me having dinner with Bob Young, the CEO of and founder of Red Hat Linux. We had met a year earlier in London, but I didn’t have BookMooch launched at that time, so I didn’t talk to him about it then. I had told our mutual friend Laurie Racine (also a CC Board Member) about some ideas I had for Lulu and BookMooch to work together, and she wanted us to meet. As often happens, the best way to meet busy people is when they’re away from home. We ate at the Michelin-starred super-casual Gin Fish Restaurant where the chef brings you whatever he wants, and he makes different food each night (mostly fish). Bob & I gabbed late into the night, and we hope to figure out a way that Lulu and BookMooch could work together.

LoicAt the conference, I met French super-blogger Loic Lemeur. He’s also a compulsive serial entrepreneur, and we got on famously. Most recently he was working for Six Apart, but he’s a free agent now and he bounced a half dozen business ideas off me (I wasn’t of much help, unfortunately).

My presentation assignment was “What will the Internet be like in 2020?”. A PDF of my presentation slides are below. I believe there are also plans to put video of the presentations on the web, and I’ll put that up here when it’s available.
Antwerp Buckman 2007

I shared a 90 minute cab ride each way to the Free University of Brussels with BBC Creative Archive project leader Paul Gerhardt. I’ve known a number of people who’ve worked on that project, but never met Paul. After 3h trapped with me, I’m sure Paul had enough of my babbling about CC, Magnatune, and all that, but we got on well and promised to meet up in London, where Paul also works with a number of other UK groups that are running their own Creative Archive inspired projects.

Antwerp is a beautiful city, with lots of narrow streets, and ice cream and French fry (with two dozen sauces available) and waffle vendors everywhere:

The conference had us stay in the conference center “Elzenveld”, which has some connection to Erasmus (I couldn’t read the Flemish sign) and evidently has ghosts associated with it:


The trip ended with me taking an early morning train out of the spectacular Antwerp train station:
Antwerp Train

to meet up for lunch in Brussels with Laurent and Sylvain, the geniuses behind music-web-site Jamendo.
Jamendo Brussels

5 Responses to “Visit to Belgium”

  1. lkratz said

    Hey !

    You blog so fast !


  2. Peggy T said

    I feel the need to travel after seeing those photos!

  3. DNA said

    I was born and raised about a 20-minute walk from the Grand Place, in a poor immigrant neighborhood. In junior high school, I started taking the bus and tram all over Brussels. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but we didn’t have school on Wednesday afternoons, so I’d often go downtown and just walk around. Your pictures make me miss Brussels. Belgium is really rich culturally.

    Anyone going to Brussels should take the 90 tram from beginning to end. You’ll get a great tour of the city and you’ll ride right by where I grew up. Also be sure to see the Cinquantenaire and to eat a Belgian waffle.

    Thanks for posting the pix.

  4. Bernie said

    Antwerp is a lovely city. Was there many years ago at the World’s Fair. The people were very friendly and the restaurants outstanding. My “basic” French was tolerated and it amused them no end.

  5. RoseA said

    I have been trying to travel to Brussels and other places in Belgium with my sister for the last three years but life is always getting in the way. I still have two more years before I have to renew for my passport! My mom grew up in Zarren, my dad was born in Pervysse(sp?) and I have relatives in Nieuw Porte(sp?) Loved the pictures you posted.

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