• Hoboken Travels: A Peek Inside of Hoboken, BELGIUM {Special Guest Post!}

    Written by:

    Several weeks ago, I received an email from a blogger that truly sparked my interest and knew that we had to work together and feature her in some capacity. Helena, the author of said email, is the blogger behind Sun in Cities, a travel blog {that we are now huge fans of!}, who happens to live in Hoboken…BELGIUM. Yes, the country of Belgium! Who knew that there was a Hoboken in Europe {and, in a country famous for its chocolate, beer and fries, no less}!? Helena and I discussed how we would feature her on the blog, and what better way that to give you a little snippet of her world.  She loves the easygoing way of life in Hoboken and would love for you to take a sneak peek at what it looks like on the other side of the world. Let’s explore!


    Your Hoboken and my Hoboken are not all that different, on paper at least. My Hoboken lies near a river, is close to a big city {humor me, go along with the idea that both Antwerp and New York fall under the same category of ‘big cities’}, and our climate is pretty much the same. But, that’s where our similarities stop, I guess. Your Hoboken has double as many residents and is half the size of my Hoboken. How do you people walk the streets?! ☺ This makes your Hoboken a vibrant city, whereas my Hoboken is just a small town. But, like I said, I love the small town life in Hoboken. People in Belgium are not that open, we go about our days minding our own business, which makes Hoboken quiet and peaceful. Here are some facts and fun things to do in and around my town of Hoboken:

    …Hike Away

    Hiking in forest Polderbos is always a treat. Image by sunincities.

    We are the greenest district of Antwerp, and we like to play that card. We have Polderbos, our pride and joy. In this piece of nature-heaven we have horses and cows, but they’re really good at hiding if you’re trying to find them. I like to go on walks here on a Sunday afternoon, and chances are you don’t see a soul until you reach the Schelde, the river that flows through Antwerp. It’s a very popular place for people to walk their dogs.

    The inside of Fort 8 in Hoboken. Image by sunincities.

    Another nice place to visit is Fort 8 and its surroundings. It was originally built in the 19the century to defend Antwerp together with a whole bunch of other fortresses, but luckily it was never used. From time to time volunteers organize tours inside Fort 8, and I try to visit every time they do because of the unique setting. The fortress itself is huge, and it is surrounded by a beautiful piece of nature.

    The Early Birds’ Market

    A statue of the 'Hobokenaar' by Yvonne Bastiaens, referring to the farmers who used to live here. Image by sunincities.

    ^A statue of the ‘Hobokenaar’ by Yvonne Bastiaens, referring to the farmers who used to live here

    On a Saturday morning, I love to go to our local market. It’s small, but you find everything you need. I like to buy my veggies, some cheese and visit the Moroccan salesmen and buy some of their delicious nuts and dried fruits. Chances are big you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while, so you never leave the market at the time you initially planned. Afterwards the locals {mostly the elderly} enjoy a coffee and some pastry in one of our teahouses. From time to time I like to join them — who doesn’t like pancakes with loads of ice-cream?

    The Cutest Houses

    The cosy streets of Moretusburg. Image by sunincities.

    Not all houses in my Hoboken look like this, but my whole neighborhood of Moretusburg looks exactly the same – adorable little houses {a little tough to see in the snowy weather!}. These houses were originally built in the late 19th century for the workers of the factory in Hoboken. The factory is still there, and most of them are beautifully renovated on the inside now {Editor’s note: Sounds familiar!}. I just love this unique décor and enjoy wandering the streets from time to time.

    Our wedding at the city hall of Hoboken. Image by Maskisien.

    However, my number one favorite building in Hoboken must be our city hall. Not only because it has this beautiful bright color, but also because I got married there in the summer of 2013. Since then I think it’s the most beautiful building in the world ☺

    hoboken belgium castle

    Such a beautiful City Hall!

    The Beautiful Story of Nello and Patrache

    Last but not least, there is the story of Nello and Patrasche, also known as A Dog of Flanders. The story is about the love between the poor boy Nello and his loyal dog Patrache. It’s heartbreaking; according to the legend, the story took place in Hoboken. If you have some spare time, please do read it. It will make you want to hold your dog the entire day.

    Nello and Patrasche. Image by sunincities.

    We also have a little statue of Nello and Patrache in Hoboken. When I went to pre-school, almost every afternoon I saw a busload of Japanese tourists standing around the statue taking pictures. All of that in our small town! Apparently, the story is immensely popular there, and now Antwerp has somewhat claimed the story, built a statue of its own, and now the tourists are gone. For us, it’s almost as heartbreaking as the story of Nello himself.

    Close to the City

    Christmasvibe in the centre of our city. Image by sunincities.

    ^Getting into the holiday spirit in Hoboken, Belgium

    If you are ever in Antwerp, please pay a short visit to the namesake of your city. It’s only 6 miles away, and I would love to show you around! The city of Antwerp is truly magical, with so much to see and do, but if you have been stumped by an elbow ten times, quiet little Hoboken can be a nice retreat. Hope to see you soon!

     

    We are so grateful that Helena reached out to us and that we were able to share her lovely city!

    Have you heard of Hoboken, Belgium? Please email us at hello@hobokengirl.com if you’d like to get in touch with Helena – and visit her blog, Sun In Cities to follow her adventures around the globe! We will definitely be taking her up on that tour soon 🙂


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.


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