Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
After obtaining a master’s degree in business administration from ICHEC Brussels Management School, I started working in the event organisation domain. I then made my first steps into the world of operational and strategic marketing with Groupe SEB. Today, I’m a senior product manager for Moulinex, Tefal, Seb and Rowenta Food products.
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
I started as a junior with no experience in operational marketing, yet over the years was able to grow, gain experience and take on new responsibilities such as people management.
How would you describe your attitude to work?
I like to take initiatives, try out new things, take up challenges, and find fun in my everyday life. To cut it short, I like to break the routine.
On a personal note, what would you say you’re the proudest of?
To be complimented on my little boy’s education.
To you, what is a Ketje?
A kid who likes to tease; who’s outspoken, daring and not afraid of others.
What do you think distinguishes Belgium, and its people, from the rest?
Belgians like to make fun of others but also of themselves. They have a lot of self-derision in general and no inferiority complex. They’re assertive and proud be Belgian, defending their heritage with love, be it fries, chocolate, beer, comics or folklore. They’re party people; any occasion is a good excuse to have a drink with friends. But Belgium is also a complex country when it comes to politics, languages and regions, which can be quite difficult to explain to non-Belgians.
If you had to nominate three people that, to you, best symbolised Belgium in its full glory, who would they be and why?
Benoît Poelvoorde, my favourite actor, because he’s from Namur just like me, and proudly represents the colours of his city and country. He put Belgium on the map with his appearance in the cult film C’est arrivé près de chez vous.
Eddy Merckx is undoubtedly the greatest Belgian sportsman of all time. He is to cycling what Pelé or Maradonna are to football, reminds us all that Belgium is undoubtedly a great nation for sports.
Hergé, the father of Tintin, earning him both European and international fame.
If you had to take out-of-towners to one essential restaurant in Belgium, which one would it be?
I would take my visitors to a good Belgian brasserie where they could try out our traditional dishes like moules frites, beef tartar, endives gratin or Flemish carbonnades.
If you had to take visiting guests out on a Sunday tourist trail, where would you take them and why?
I would take them to the Citadel of Namur and its underground galleries. More than 500m have been renovated and offer a real journey complete with 3D animations, projections and sound effects that illustrate the rich history of this incredible place.
Sauces, in Belgium at least, are intrinsically linked to French fries. What’s your combination of choice?
I remain pretty basic: a cone of fries with curry ketchup sauce and a fricadelle.
Why do Belgians do it better?
Because they’re not afraid of ridiculous things nor to dare!