There are six of them. Eva, Gaëlle, Mark, Yves, Veronika, Katarina. These artists from many different nationalities have joined hands to support each other’s creative output. Standing at the cradle of the artistic collective there was also Miguel, but that one moved to Berlin, but no worries, his spirit keeps marching on, since the membership keeps growing. Dulce has recently become a full-fledged pillar of the initiative. The collective is based in Brussels.

My wife and myself were invited yesterday, on Saturday, the 18th of November. The exact location of the event was only disclosed at the last minute.

We were welcomed by our host, an exquisite social butterfly, Veronika, a Czech lady who’s fluent in French and also writes in French.

The living room of the apartment was arranged like an ancient Greek theatre. We were treated to fine wine -the kind of wine that has a story to it, which was enthusiastically related by Mark- all kinds of home made cakes and international drinks such as the balkanesque Rakija.

If our mouths got spoiled, then our ears didn’t need to lag behind. We heard French songs, short stories in Spanish, French and English and stimulating discussions.

We met people from Croatia (in the form of the budding writing Arno), Bosnia (an other budding writer), Spain, England, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the ideosyncratic city state of Aalst.

This apartment and its international gathering at no time felt like a clash of cultures, not in the least, on the contrary, it became abundantly clear how easy it could be to create a true European melting pot. If all the different nationalities of Europe could mix more, face to face, there would never be any talk of Brexit or disunion, as there’s so much more that unites us than divides us.

The motives in the stories and the songs were also similar, on the one hand there was the deep longing to love and to be loved, but also to remain authentic to one’s own values and needs, and on the other hand there was the fear and the shock of the wave of terror attacks, the threat of bombs going off, even under our very feet, in the metro of Brussels.

This initiative is very intimate, very precious, and if more apartments could be turned into something like small, organic Parliaments of the people of Europe, we would all sleep a whole lot better and be enriched on many different levels.

Congratulations to all the people who helped organize this event.

Discover the website of Writing Brussels here.