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ACB News Archive

All our News & Updates in one place.

ACB NEWS Archive

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  • 28 Jan 2021 5:00 PM | Deleted user

    Join us from 15:30 – 16:30 CET on Wednesday 17th February for an hour with the team at Dunhill Financial.

    They will introduce the American Club of Brussels and take you into all the tax matters surrounding American expats in Belgium.

    This free event is one not to be missed!

    Agenda will be announced closer towards the date.

    Register in advance for this meeting, and after registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


  • 28 Jan 2021 3:48 PM | Deleted user

    ACB Talks to Gerald Loftus, new ACB member in Brussels

    During your career as a U.S. diplomat for 23 years (1979-2002) you worked in the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Your interests include cultural diplomacy, but also historic preservation. How did these come about?

    When I was growing up in rural and suburban Pennsylvania, I was in the Scouts and something of an outdoorsman. I used to joke that I could equally have opted for the Forest Service or the Foreign Service. It was the latter, after several great experiences in my college years, a year's scholarship in Aberdeen, Scotland, a summer volunteering in Ramallah in the West Bank, a summer course in Ireland - which put me on a definite international path. A significant part of my career was spent in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2010, I came out of retirement to head a hybrid cultural institute in Morocco, the Tangier Legation TALIM. I wrote an illustrated book on it: "Lions at the Legation and Other Tales: Two Centuries of American Diplomatic Life in Tangier." 2021 is the bicentennial of the gift of the building to the United States by the Sultan of Morocco. I'd recommend Tangier and the Legation for a visit by ACB members. Discovering this beautiful piece of American history in the winding streets of the Medina is a revelation.

    Are you surprised at how global your life has been?

    I must say, I am thankful that my family felt strangely at home wherever we lived. Our adult children were born in-country during my first two assignments (Barbados and Tunisia), and grew up attending French schools (my wife is from Brittany). They've remained citizens of the world. Going down memory lane can sometimes be painful: I remember walking past our former home above the Consulate offices on the seafront of Oran, Algeria, only to see pigeons roosting in the shell of what had been a beautiful building.

    Question: What are your main coping skills during these Corona times?

    My wife’s delicious cooking, though we also keep our neighborhood restaurant in business. Walks in the countryside or driving to Wépion to buy strawberries – that was our “break out trip,” when leaving Brussels was finally permitted! Luckily during the June heat-wave, we got to spend a few days in the Ardennes. In all, we can’t complain. Being locked down in green Uccle is not so bad.

    What are your three favorite places in Brussels?

    1. Long walks in the Forêt de Soignes.
    2. Museum Villa Empain (Fondation Boghossian) on Ave. Franklin Roosevelt.
    3. Sablon area, especially the quirky bar-resto La Fleur en Papier Doré.

    How did your current role as political commentator come about?

    My years as a diplomat, especially in francophone countries, was useful preparation for a role as a political commentator for Democrats Abroad relating to U.S. politics. But it requires a little prep: try explaining the complexity of the Electoral College and of filibuster in a foreign language, when it is hard enough in our native English! Thankfully, Belgians want to understand our complicated politics.

  • 28 Jan 2021 8:56 AM | Deleted user

    Mark Your Calendar for a GREAT start to 2021

    Guided Tour of the Folon Exhibition at Abbey Villers

    Saturday, 6 February at 11:00 or 13:00

    As part of the 20th anniversary of the Folon Foundation, the prestigious 12th century Villers Abbey is showcasing an exhibition of the twenty monumental and original sculptures by the internationally renowned Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon. The sculptures placed in the beauty of a monumental, historical and architectural place are confronted with the spirituality contained in the old stones of the Cistercian site, as well as the colours of autumn and winter.

    The ACB is hosting 2 guided tours with a maximum of 4 people in each tour to ensure compliance with current limitations and will be led by expert cultural guide, Yolande d'Yve. The guided tours are offered on Saturday, 6 February at 11:00 or 13:00. The price is 45 EUR per person. Please note that this is a higher than normal price for guided tours! Given current measures, we are doing our best to support local cultural guides and activities, and proceeds will be given to Yolande for both these tours.

    More information about the exhibit:

    Register now

    Questions? Please contact

  • 28 Jan 2021 8:54 AM | Deleted user

    (Re)discover Brussels and it’s hidden treasures

    The ACB is happy to announce the launching of a #ReDiscoverBrussels series which will bring you through a virtual tour every month to uncover what you may – or likely may not – already know about our city surroundings. These events are free for ACB members and open to the public (15 euros per event). Check out some of our themes below as we get ready to announce our next sessions starting in February!

    • Mushroom hunting around Brussels
    • Brussels – a Smart City to discover
    • Up on a rooftop and other unlikely places to find vegetables growing
    • Art Nouveau & our own collection
    • Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!
    • Quiz Night!
    • A spotlight on wellness time for ourselves

    And more!

  • 28 Jan 2021 8:51 AM | Deleted user

    Stories from the ACB Community: The ACB

    We asked ACB itself to be our first interview in our #100stories series.

    “I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was 100 years ago. It was the 15th of January in 1921. We were a small group of business people working for the Commission for Relief in Belgium and other war missions. A few years back, many of us has started to plant roots in this beautiful city of Brussels. We started getting together for lunch. Frites were always on our menu (they had been around for quite a while by then, you know). And soon our lunch talks turned to inspiration. On this day, we created a Brussels Club, open to all, and we wanted to continue our great conversations between Americans and Belgians.”

    We are curious to know what has brought our #ACBMembers to Belgium; so, we are asking them, “how did you end up in Brussels?” Look for the stories on Instagram through out 2021.

  • 28 Jan 2021 8:31 AM | Deleted user

    All Eyes on #ACBPartner: Serendip Spa & Yoga

    Serendip Spa & Yoga, an award-winning 5-star luxury wellness escape in the centre of Brussels, has been a member of ACB for the past seven years and a long-standing SME in Brussels for more than fifteen years. Housed in two historical buildings in the Avenue Louise district, they offer massage, yoga classes, wellbeing workshops, yoga and spa products – and a warm cup of tea for whenever you visit.

    ACB asked Serendip – what can we all do right now to bring some wellness into our lives? Here are five ideas from their team on how to bring some much needed self-care into your home & (home)-office.

    • Carve out time for yourself in your day. Put it on your schedule, if you need to. We often de-prioritize our own needs for the sake of others or, often, work. Take a walk in nature. Snuggle into that bubble bath. Find quiet space to just sit comfortably. We all need this right now.
    • Take care about the stresses that you are putting on your body. We don’t realize it sometimes – but stress accumulates, and often, in our muscles. One common place? Our forehead. Lightly massage your temples with slow, circular movements to alleviate headaches.
    • Move. It is quite easy to stay rooted to our (office) chair. Try to incorporate slow stretches in your chair three times a day. Gently move your neck from side to side. Stretch your arms above you and reach for the ceiling. Gently twist to the right and left and glance behind you.
    • Create a warm, enticing space to be. We are spending much, much time at home – and in makeshift home-office environments. Design your space with wellness in mind. Organize objects and remove clutter. Make sure you are sitting properly. Place your favourite scented candle near you.
    • Connect to others. Connection is different right now – and yes, it’s more digital than we’d like it to be. However, it’s still needed. Create fun moments to connect to old friends. Cook together with family. Take part in communities around you – such as ACB. And yes, you can do all this virtually as well.

    The Serendip team offers virtual wellbeing sessions to their customers and company teams. Start the day, the project, the team, the year with a wellbeing approach of guided breathing, stretching and creative exercises with the Serendip team of massage experts, yoga teachers and wellness coaches. You can contact the team for more information at

  • 18 Nov 2020 10:11 AM | Deleted user

    Thanksgiving 2020

    We are sad to not be able to bring you the traditional ACB Thanksgiving this year - and we are looking forward to its return next year. In the meantime we have put together some suggestions on how to make the most of this holiday. 

    Here are a few suggestions from our community. If you have any ideas for other posts please let us know at

    Buy the fixings from our newest ACB Partner

    With Thanksgiving around the corner we wanted to introduce you to our newest ACB parter! Welcome to American Groceries Belgium!  They  sell the most diverse and well stocked range of American groceries in the region. To get you Thanksgiving needs met they are offering items such as:

    • Stove Top stuffing in 4 varieties
    • Pumpkin puree
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Gravy mixes

    Read more about this new partner.

    How about a "no cook" option?

    All the amazing food, none of the work! Get your orders in now, for this AMAZING Thanksgiving menu, created by one of our favourite chefs.

  • 18 Nov 2020 9:27 AM | Deleted user

    In this editorial, ACB Member Chair Gwendolyn Bailey spoke with new member Patricia O'Callaghan, who has recently returned to Belgium.

    You say that you “escaped” New York just weeks before Lockdown. That sounds dramatic. How did you manage to plan to come and live in Belgium?  

    Well, in retrospect, I managed to conclude a long career in New York, sell my apartment, and arrive here on 27 February, just weeks before lockdown. Now, I’m enjoying a slower, calmer – and should I say - a more delicious life here in Brussels! For me, Belgium is living up to its reputation as one of the gourmet capitals of Europe.   

    As a dual national – Irish and American – I am grateful to qualify to live in the EU. Memories of student summers in Tournai and Paris are rekindled.  I am glad to now be close to family in Ireland and the U.K.  

    When I lived in New York, I produced a public policy radio show for some years – how we can, and must, actively motivate good public policy still interests me – and Brussels is a good place to experience that.   

    How did moving to America as a college graduate come about – and how would you describe the value of living in America?

    I was quite content to be living in my home town, Cork, working on a daily RTE Radio news show, when “Out of the Blue” I was offered a marketing assignment in sunny San Francisco on a 2-year H-3 visa.  

    I then gained permanent U.S. residence, and eventually U.S. citizenship.   

     “Out of the Blue” is how I describe the many opportunities that would follow.  

    As I was soaking up the sun in California, I thought I should go “global, global, global…”

     “Out of the Blue” I was hired by Transamerica Airlines’ New York base to travel to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, during a 7-year airline career. Our charter flights transported Muslim pilgrims from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast to the Hajj in Mecca. And, whatever the global headlines said  - on Newsweek or Time Magazine – we were there:  transporting Cambodian and Cuban refugees to the U.S. (those were different days!!!) transporting U.S. troops globally (including General Norman Schwarzkopf) and my first trip was to Rio de Janeiro, with a seven-day layover at Carnival time; then a seven-day layover in Seoul, Korea.  Away from home 21 days of the month, we certainly clocked up plenty of air miles!  

    So - America fulfilled its reputation for me as being the "Land of Opportunity".    

    What are things that you like best about Brussels?

    1. La politesse! People here are very helpful and courteous. Belgian family life is admirable.
    2. The food - I LOVE the quality of the food!  Real, honest, seasonal food... I am cooking more (-: 
    3. Eglise Saint-Joseph, Filigranes, streets filled with cyclists, the optimism of the people. 

    In the context of Covid 19, what is the best advice that you find helpful?

    “Count your blessings” is a motto that I always keep in mind.  

  • 18 Nov 2020 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    With Thanksgiving around the corner we wanted to introduce you to our newest ACB parter! Welcome to American Groceries Belgium

    Who are we?

    We are an independent on-line Click & Collect store started and run by a wife and husband team, Kristen Crosson and Christopher Stone. Kristen is American and moved to Belgium in 2016. Chris has lived in Belgium for about 20 years. We live in Corroy-le-Grand with children Nathalie & Saskia (attending Le Verseau Secondary), three dogs, and 11 chickens. 

    Why did we start the business?

    Since moving to Belgium, Kristen was missing many American staples and comfort foods. Searching online, she found some limited products, but the shipping costs were very high and no single store seemed to stock everything. Kristen and Chris thought that there had to be a better way, particularly given the number of Americans in Belgium. The British have their own store, so why not also the Americans? After canvassing many friends and acquaintances, the result was the business plan for American Groceries Belgium.

    What do we sell?

    We sell the most diverse and well stocked range of American groceries in the region. We’re always happy to hear from our customers on what they’d like! Our current groceries include breakfast items, baking mixes, cooking essentials, boxed food, canned goods, snacks and more. Some specific items that or ACB community might be interested in this month include:

    • Thanksgiving foods (but also good year round)
    • Stove Top stuffing in 4 varieties
    • Pumpkin puree
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Gravy mixes

    How does it work?

    We are an online shop with Click & Collect. Customers order online and then can collect their orders at our Wavre Distribution Center or our two satellite Click & Collect locations. Hours vary each day at the Wavre location to allow different customers to come when it’s easiest for them, such as in the morning, early or late afternoon, and evening. Additionally, for those less able to travel, we operate a weekly satellite Click & Collect service in Kraainem (to service Brussels) each Sunday morning and Waterloo each Sunday afternoon. 

    Additionally if there is sufficient demand, we are happy to add more such satellite drop-off locations, perhaps at an international school or a work-place. We are always happy to react to the needs of our customers. 

    Why Click and Collect?

    We wanted to keep the costs down so we can provide the cheapest prices and the widest range of American groceries in Belgium. Shipping and duties are already high, so to avoid high prices we want to keep our costs low and pass on the savings to our clients. We also wanted people to be able to have the convenience of shopping from their own homes, so they can see precisely what is available before taking the time to drive to the store. Most people have access to a car and are able to travel; our Center in conveniently located in Wavre, five minutes from Junction 5 of the E411 and has a lot of parking. For our clients not able to travel, we offer weekly satellite locations for them to come and collect their purchases.

    How has COVID Impacted your launch?

    We planned for a Click and Collect service from the start, to keep the prices as low as possible. Our Click and Collect service is allowed, even in the lockdown!  It allows our customers to order from the comfort of their own home and pick any one of a number of location times and locations to collect their goods. We run full hygenie protocols in our secure Distribution Center, with staff wearing masks and gloves at all times when packing your order. And we do not allow anyone other than ourselves into the packing area; Customers arrive outside and we bring your boxes directly out to your car!

    The saddest thing was that we have set-up a social area for Expats in our Center, with Folgers coffee, films, video games for the kids and even a ‘bring one, take one’ free book exchange! Unfortunately, this social side of our business will have to wait.

  • 18 Nov 2020 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    The ACB pitched in for World Clean-up Day for our event the Brussels Canal Clean-up.

    Thank you to Canal it up for hosting our group of eight intrepid ACB'ers on 20th September for an afternoon of canal cleanup by kayak. It is unfortunate how much plastic trash can be fished out in just a few hours, and a reminder of the systemic changes needed to keep our waterways clean. Registration fees from the event were donated to support ongoing cleanup and advocacy efforts for the Brussels canal.

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