Connecting the historic centre of Brussels to its canal, this neighbourhood paints a poetic allegory of the city’s recent artistic bloom rooted in cultural legacy. Located around the now covered river Zenne, craftsmen who needed its waters populated the area before the arrival of modern industries with similar needs. Brewers, papermakers and printers left their mark on this part of town where lofts have taken the place of factory floors, harmoniously embellished by the centuries-old cobblestone streets’ gorgeous architecture.
In the early ’90s, designers and creators with dreamy eyes and empty pockets settled the Dansaert area, which offered cheap rents and perfect location to those who wanted to make it in Brussels. They now strive in this neighbourhood, easily competing with Antwerp’s fashion scene as the gravitational epicentre of pretty things and oddities. Nothing surprises locals anymore as creatives of all kinds flock to the area, safe in the knowledge that originality is worshiped in all its forms around here.
Hip bars seem to pop off the ground, as creatives are a thirsty kin. Business incubators attract all types of restaurants and taverns eager to offer menus as original as the local fauna, always on the look for new trends to wear AND eat. The Brussels Beer Project, an urban brewery dedicated to propel the Belgian beer culture in the 21st century, is established on the Dansaert Street and perfectly embodies this marriage of Old and New Brussels, blending the best of both worlds.
Zinneke (derived from the river Zenne’s name) is a Brussels word referring to bastard dogs of mixed races. It is often used by Brussels inhabitants to define themselves, as they increasingly rarely have ‘purely’ Brussels roots. This mix of cultures and origins is often seen as Brussels’ strength and pride, bastard dogs being smarter than interbred pedigree races with genetic pools too small to be healthy. Add a bit of typical, local self-derision to it, and you obtain a statue of a zinneke dog urinating on the sidewalk of one of Dansaert’s area landmarks.