All shades of Brussels. Why So Serious?! – A photo exhibition

Why so serious posterWhat comes to your mind when you hear Brussels? Politics, terrorism, rain? Or Magritte, beer and waffles? We are 5 Cultural Studies Students from KU Leuven who decided to shift the stereotypes about the “heart of Europe” and show the fun side of Brussels. The photo exhibition “WHY SO SERIOUS?!” will be held in the city center from 7th MAY till 24th MAY 2018.

Make laugh, not war

Serious faces on the news, worrying reports from the borders and difficult agreements during the EU summits: the media space makes life in Brussels quite sad. But Belgium and its capital are more than grey skies and grey jackets: the joy of creativity and the unique sense of humor never abandoned this place. Whilst designing the exhibition, we all fell in love with the idea of promoting a positive visual image of Brussels.

How to start?

When the initial idea was born, the next step was to dig deeper. And what’s better to dig deeper than jumping into the past: How did the ‘Bruxellois’ have fun 30, 50, 70 years ago? In our quest for the vintage ‘Bruxellois’, we bumped into an immense photo archive – shout-out to EUROPEANA, apparently the place to be when it comes to images. We found photographs that made us laugh: cows in the streets on a leash like they were dogs; well-dressed, seemingly serious men making fun of themselves by jumping over the friend’s back in an elegant suit… No need to say why we wanted to display these pictures.

Why so serious

© KIK-IRPA, Brussel

Competition and the prize

While vintage photographs are a great way to have a look into the past, we realized that  there is much more going on right now in Brussels. We began wondering how we could capture (and display) the fun and humorous side of today’s Brussels, and the answer suddenly presented itself to us: a photo competition. Fun, surreal and completely crazy photos from Brussels’ streets and houses are welcome – anyone can participate. What do you get? To exhibit your picture right in front of the Central Station in the touristic downtown of Brussels. We already received plenty of the most amazing, weird submissions and had lots of fun arguing whether the portable toilet in the middle of the road is more hilarious than the boy carrying a huge zebra on his back. All in all, we are close to the final selection and look forward to seeing your smiles at KU Leuven Campus Brussels very soon!

We willl open the expo with a VERNISSAGE night on the 7th May from 19:00-21:00 where drinks and snack will increase your visual joy of the exhibition.

Do come, have fun and please, don’t forget to reserve your place for the vernissage here:

Riana Musschoot, Margaux Bertier, Elizaveta Dmitrieva,

Mira Caroen and An-sofie Tratsaert

Why So Serious?!





KU Leuven Campus Brussels

Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères 26, 1000 Bruxelles


Dates & Hours

7-24 May

7:00 – 19:00 Monday-Thursday

7:00 – 18:00 Friday

Closed during weekends and public holidays