Friday, May 29, 2009

If surreal had a nationality, it would be Belgian

Thought you might enjoy these weird and wonderful things that have happend in Belgium during the past 3 months:

Nepotism? Nooo...

One in ten politicians hails is either the son or daughter of an existing politician. The proportion is an astonishing four in 10 for francophone federal ministers. The Brussels Parliament recorded the lowest number of family ties with only one in 20.

No joke, really

Pigeon fanciers can sleep better at night knowing that their prize birds can now be insured against theft. The insurance company Marsh also insures against fire, predators, during transport and electric shock for €20 a year. Last week also saw a pigeon called Jonge Supercrack sold for a record breaking €110,000 in an online auction. Ludo Claessens from Putte sold 72 pigeons at the auction, averaging €10,000 per bird.

Window rent rise

Prostitutes occupying the windows around North Station in Brussels are feeling the pinch of the credit crisis. While they pay between €150 to €300 a day to rent a window, the price is set to rise as Schaerbeek commune ups the taxes on the specialised ‘waitresses’ from €2,500 a year to €3,353. Last year, this tax brought in €450,000 to the commune, its third biggest source of revenue.

Testers sought

The Michelin Guide of prostitutes in Belgium is hugely popular with 20,000 active members who exchange tips and ratings. The owner of wishes to stay anonymous but says that there's a real demand for the website's services. There are 100,000 registered users and the site has had over 500,000 hits, he says. Anita in Rue de Livourne? Tania in Aarschotstraat?

Stamped and still delivered

Avid letter writers have taken to hunting down batches of old stamps at the country’s flea markets to save on postal costs. La Poste/De Post confirmed that it will post letters using stamps from as far back as 1962. One woman is even drawing on her batch of stamps from 1936, apparently unnoticed by La Poste/De Post. "I’ve got thousands of them," she said.