Enchanting themes, delicious recipes and plenty of atmosphere sought out for you in France, Italy and Sweden
Once a multilingual secretary, now a multilingual writer
My passion for writing has developed little by little, line by line. In 1999, with a degree Multilingual Commercial Administration and some years of work experience with international companies in Ghent and Brussels, I moved to Sweden with my Swedish husband and our two children. In my new country I set course by enrolling on intensive Swedish language classes. Primarily intended as an integration accelerator, they rather turned out to be an inspiring introduction to the University of Uppsala and, moreover, pushed me on the track of further studies – undeniably also on the writer's path. The move to Sweden revivified my anchored interest for writing letters and my general interest for languages and writing would prosper during my study years in Uppsala.
A Flemish studying French at a Swedish university
Studying Swedish at the Department of Scandinavian languages with the Department of Romance languages as a neighbour had its consequences: it made the silent desire to ever further deepen my knowledge of the French language and culture emerge again. Opting for French studies eventually was neither coincidence nor whim: my background as a Dutch spoken native of the French influenced city of Ghent; some years as a citizen and employee in bilingual Brussels; work contacts and frequent holidays in France – the French language was simply part of my identity and I surrendered when consulting the course program for French studies.
Whereas my language studies in Belgium had focused on practical and commercial business language, studying French at my Swedish university provided insight into the many other aspects of language and culture. The transfer to French studies put me right where I belonged and challenged my Swedish language skills withal. Along with plenty of compulsory academic writing, column writing, mostly about Swedish traditions, also became a satisfying side activity then.
Because Italian I couldn´t resist
While solidly settled in Sweden and my studies French nearly completed, a new opportunity came our family's way. It brought our meanwhile-three-kids family to Italian spoken Ticino in Southern Switzerland around Ferragosto 2007. The relocation hassle included, it was again an enriching experience and definitely an invigorating treat: an ideal climate and breathtaking nature in a well-organised and safe country with lively and colourful Italy just around the corner – what a blissful blend!
Again a new culture and new language too! Culture-wise, discovering Ticino was, among many other things, discovering the special blend of Swiss efficiency-punctuality and the Italian mediterranean attitude. As for my desire and eager to learn that melodious and poetic language, they were frequently thwarted by confusion, frustration or language misunderstandings which not seldom led to fabulous hilarities, now wonderful anecdotes. But one thing is for sure: Italian has captured my heart!
Alls well, that ends well
Eventually, we returned to Sweden and to our village in snowy, cold January 2011 – quite a contrast with that hot August 2007. Again, I needed to set course for the future and I firmly decided that only at my trusted and appreciated Swedish Alma Mater I would successfully reconcile the very rational decision "Sweden-again" with my nostalgia for the charm of Ticino and the Italian culture and flair.
My determination led to a bachelor degree French-Italian and hence to the completion of my "Uppsala years". Meanwhile, I had set my mind on a future in which language, culture and writing would play an essential role – writing about themes close to my heart and connected to the countries close to my heart.
My portfolio categories are largely heritage-inspired; they are born from the heart. Having grown up in the heart of Europe naturally means that the culture, charm and flavours of the neighbouring countries have left their mark on my personality and my tastes. I grew up with the French chanson and Flemish-Dutch Kleinkunst on the radio; with the flavours of the French gastronomy in peace and harmony with our own delicious Belgian cuisine; with interest and esteem for handicraft and artisanry; with the awareness of a rich cultural patrimony.
"Quality takes time" or "quality has its price" were well-established concepts then and are still my motto today. Not surprisingly, this heritage is also a benchmark in my effort to track particularities for my portfolio categories.
Besides language studies, I studied linguistics at the University of Uppsala and an introductory course in Western philosophy at Stockholm University, the latter made me lose my bearings – useful nevertheless.
To captivate, to have and to hold
I write for all kinds of printed or online media who are in search of in-depth content within the niche categories as presented on this website.
I am a young 50+ who prefers quality over quantity and you can entrust me with writing high-quality content on appealing themes, presented in fluid text and in an attractive and correct language: articles, reportage, travel brochures, etc.
I write to captivate, to have and to hold your readers!
(for immediate orientation, select Niche categories from the navigation ribbon)
Language skills – professional competence – passion
Content writing and editing, as well as translating, were key tasks besides the organisational and administrative tasks during my career as a secretary.
As a language student, writing and translating were a crucial part of the course curriculum along with a deepening into the many other dimensions of language, literature and culture.
Now, I invest all those acquired skills and experiences passionately into my freelance writing and journalism activity.
Naturally, I write mostly in my mother tongue Dutch, but obviously and very gladly also in French, Italian and Swedish (sporadically in English).
Quality research – reliable sources – my portfolio
My language skills and working methods allow me to develop and maintain a professional network relevant to my activity; to obtain and process material of excellent quality and from reliable sources.
I have been mapping France and Italy to track down regional particularities for all my categories. I follow and consult diverse quality media in the original language and I often find inspiration in literary works.
My portfolio has developed from personal travel experiences; is constantly in progress and always complemented by quality research material. I organize reportage travel on my own initiative or on specific demand.
The countries of my inspiration
My portfolio is strongly focused on France and Italy, but it definitely contains some beautiful material about Sweden too (and Belgium, to a limited extent).
Sweden, my country of residence, is getting more and more popular, as much as a holiday destination or as a place of residence: for its vast, untouched and accessible nature; for its lifestyle en modernity; for its typical traditions; for plenty more. That Belgium holds a special place in my heart speaks for itself. Hence, I can also suggest themes for these two countries.
Head, heart and hands
Thoroughly prepared themes; creativity and passion; curious senses and my photo camera are the basis for successful work. The pictures on this website are from my personal (extensive) photo portfolio. However, I am an amateur photographer and my photo material primarily serves as a memory support when composing and editing content. For sure, some photographs can possibly fit an assignment, but my strength and focus lie in theme research, in composing and writing content.
Columns and tinkering with language
Besides writing articles and reportage, I take great pleasure in column writing. Furthermore, I can assist you with translating your content.
(see navigation menu > Niche categories > Columns & Translation)
How much do I charge ?
My fees are based on the usual rates within journalism, content editing and translation (Sweden, Europe). Satisfied clients are of utmost importance to me – as much as I believe that dedication and honest work disserve an honest remuneration.
Just want to boast ?
Maybe you are not a content buyer but would like to promote your region, a craft or an artisanal product – or share an authentic recipe or an idea that would fit in one of my portfolio categories? Then let me know. I am always in search of fascinating themes and I always take pleasure in promoting ardour, talent or beauty!
"Why be seduced by something as small as a front door in another country? Why fall in love with a place because it has trams and people seldom have curtains in their homes? [...] To condemn ourselves for these minute concerns is to ignore how rich in meaning details may be."
Traveling is an art, indeed. Traveling is life enjoyment, a revitalizing health cure. Leaving behind our daily concerns for a new setting, every now and then, is mind refreshing.
France and Italy, and all the good things in life
France and Italy keep on seducing and continuously attract admirers of culture and nature, as well as gastronomy lovers. What concerns Italy, I've got particularly attached to Piedmont, a region that besides the cultural attractiveness of its cities and its diverse nature, has a fertile soil and proudly promotes that with countless gastronomic festivals. But all of Italy, with its twenty regions, each with its own history and character, is and remains an inexhaustible source for all the good things in life: culture, nature and gastronomy. Unquestionably, this also concerns France and it is my ambition to cultivate a portfolio with a broad spectrum of destinations and themes.
Regions, cities and villages – seasons and comfort
As well a region as a city or a village can be put in the spotlight through a particular curiosity, seasonal theme or event. For additional traveller's comfort at the destination, I eagerly investigate on local worth-knowing-facts or on relevant literature to add to the reader's travel bag.
... and a little bit of Sweden too
Although very focused on France and Italy, my travel portfolio also contains some content about Sweden.
THE WALK© is also part of my travel reportage writings (see separate category below > THE WALK)
"I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements."
The magic formula
Keen walkers will for sure recognize themselves in this quote from Thoreau's Walking and I sincerely hope to be able to inspire many "not-yet-walkers" with my walking reportage. Who doesn't want to liberate the mind from all worldly engagements every now and then? Thoreau's magic formula is sauntering through the forests and over the hills – preferably every day. Sauntering is permitted, steady walking too!
Easy-going and unpretentious travel
THE WALK© is a unique and independent series as a result of my own desire for easy-going, unpretentious travelling with little luggage and lots of walking, and started off with backpack-walking by the Italian lakes with overnight stays in modest rifugios where savoury dishes and geniality largely compensate for exhausted muscles. Meanwhile, I can't imagine a nicer holiday.
An ounce of preparation
Walking is one of the most elementary leisure activities and suitable to most. Nevertheless, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure: from getting into shape beforehand to the choice of walking routes, selecting accommodation and everything else in between and around. With THE WALK© I happily contribute with smart tips of all kinds. But rest assured: daredevil stunts aren't required for the routes that I carefully select – but, adequate effort and deserved relaxation along with simple pleasure are key concepts for the walks in this series.
Numerous pleasurable possibilities
Many of the routes can be combined with a rucksack-free day or with a short bus or boat trip, just to draw breath or to move on to another section of the journey. Sometimes the walks run entirely through silent and deserted nature, sometimes also through picturesque villages. And a festive finish could be the cherry on the cake: why not round off in a romantic, historical setting to celebrate a successful walking journey?
No walk without food!
Some irresistible recipe discovered en route might also find its way to an article from this series – because walking requires fuel!
A good start is half the battle
For this series I cooperate with qualified tourist offices, guides, rifugios – because "a good start is half the battle"!
"Senza cultura non c'è libertà, non c'è scelta. Non c'è crescita sociale, né reale benessere."
Culture is welfare
"Without culture there is no freedom, no choice. There is no social growth, nor real welfare". I like the extent of meaning evoked by the words of Italian psychiatrist, sociologist and writer Paolo Crepet on culture – his words also fittingly formulate the idea behind my category Cultural Tourism.
Culture – travel destination or armchair pleasure
In this category a cultural theme is always the starting point for selecting a travel destination – it might even urge the reader to return to an already visited place or it may simply provide reading pleasure to the armchair traveller.
Culture is beauty
One doesn't have to be a connoisseur, it is sufficient to be sensitive to cultural beauty – and whether it brings restfulness to the mind or challenges our understanding, it will somehow always enrich our life.
The many facets of Culture
Artistic beauty, but also cultural traditions can be a central theme for a reportage or article in this category. Beauty expressed through one or another art form: it could be a painting or a sculpture or even a literary work – the starting point is that culture and the theme will dominate the trip. I might as well capture the reader's intrest by illuminating just one particular detail of an artwork and from there approach the whole – exciting!
Contact me for themes on cultural beauty!
Wellbeing starts in the kitchen. Both simple and refined ingredients become art in the gastronomic kitchen and pure enjoyment at the table.
Undoubtedly, my gastronomic interest has its origin in Belgium and in my mother's kitchen. Whether it was for the everyday meals, Sunday lunches or feast preparations – delightful kitchen odours were ever-present and triggered a healthy appetite and eagerness to be called to the table. I am simply brought up with great food and now blessed with a keen interest in cooking and appreciative family members (my guinea pigs).
Authentic flavours from France and Italy
Gastronomy is pure pleasure. Moreover, being surprised away from home, with tasty, well-prepared food and authentic flavours, is heaven! For me, "away from home" is often Italy or France where a rich soil, genuine traditions and creativity are the base for the culinary offering that continues enchanting and inspiring.
Sharing is caring
It speaks for itself that I want to share culinary pleasures and discoveries with others and promote the territories of their origin. Besides, "eating well abroad brings me to my cooking pots at home!" – testing in my own kitchen is my motto and established habit. Preferably, I have kindly wheedled an original preparation or a valuable hint from the cook, if not, my detective skills will bring me to authentic recipes. I favour simple, honest ingredients and thorough preparations. I like to follow the seasons. Sometimes, a modern touch is added or the recipe gets adjusted with kindred ingredients in case of availability issues. My taste thrives in Piedmont, but again: also in this category I want to offer diversity – there is always a French or Italian answer to the question "what shall we eat?"
The best sauce
Quite some ultra-tasty dishes from the primitive but very decent rifugio kitchen and discovered on excursions from THE WALK© have found their way to my culinary portfolio – I guess because "hunger (from walking) is still the best sauce!"
Last but not least: in this category also one single gastronomic product can become an article's main theme because of its fascinating cultural and gastronomic characteristics (tasty recipe included, of course).
My gastronomy category started off with mostly French and Italian food recipes. However, even Swedish (and Belgian) recipes can be found in this portfolio category – obviously, because they are too delicious to be true!
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever – Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness .."
Keats' citation may as well be an ode to every crafted product and even to that pretty, randomly discovered curiosity.
Craftsmanship, quality and tradition
In this category the emphasis is rather on Artisanry by proposing content themes for those passionate about quality and tradition, for all who highly esteem craftsmanship. Both artisanal user objects or consumer products and traditional manufacturing methods or techniques can be content topics in this category.
Peculiarities and coincidence finds
Curiosities is a section of this category that has originated by random discoveries. A category "small but brave" – because even though it does not contain that much material yet, it will most probably grow slowly but surely. However, my intention is to present curiosities, discovered here and there, in a thematic context.
The silvered pomegranate on the picture is a find from an antiques market in Piedmont and was a perfect fit for a specific reportage in the making then.
(I dare to roll up my sleeves and be creative myself, so own creations may come along too)
I am, therefore I write.
Besides article writing and reportage work, column writing has been a cherished activity since a long time. It bundles up my passion for writing and the desire of immortalizing experiences while it offers the reader a view on quotidian events from my country of residence Sweden, or experienced elsewhere.
I move between different cultures, hence my columns often articulate thoughts on society or cultural phenomena. Cultural differences fascinate me – they can please or confuse. However, they invite to reflection and consideration.
I rather use a humouristic tone, but unavoidably, also criticism or frustration could be detected between the lines. Whether I walk the philosopher’s path or cheer up with an amusing anecdote, my stories are taken from everyday life – an inexhaustible source.
Translating was a regularly recurring task when I was working as secretary for international companies and it was a crucial part of my following university language studies. It is also part of my freelance journalism and writing activity, due to my multilingual work field.
Translating requires specific skills and particular insight when transferring text content from the source language to the target language and it really fits my passion for "meticulous tinkering" with language. I translate from French, Italian, Swedish (sporadically from English) towards my mother tongue Dutch (occasionally also in different directions between my languages).
I gladly take on assignments within the field of my niche categories, commercial translations (also instruction manuals, product sheets, recipes, etc.).