Hello Veerle Van Den Broeck, we have known each other for a while now, but please introduce yourself to our ROK readers.
I live in Belgium and work as a journalist for the Flemish administration, so I am a civil servant as well. I’m 35 years old. I’m married to Kristof since 2 years (after he proposed on the fabulous Djúpalónsandur in Snæfellsnes back in 2012).
I like travelling, reading, music, discovering new things, baking, quizzing … I also have my own travelblog, which is getting more and more successful.
When did you visit Iceland for the first time?
Back in 2002, I took part in an exchange program of my university. I studied six months at Háskóla Íslands and had the time of my life. I studied English and Dutch at the University of Antwerp, focusing on literature, so it was easy to go abroad.
Did you learn Icelandic too?
Not really. I took a course in Icelandic, but it was too easy and way too basic as I knew the grammar already. We usually spoke Icelandic downtown during the weekend when we (drunk) wanted to impress Icelandic people (drunk as well).
What was your first contact with Icelandic music?
I knew Björk, Sigur Rós and múm before I arrived in Iceland. We used to have this exquisite radio program on ‘Studio Brussel’ called Duyster that featured a few unknown Icelandic bands at the time.
My first Icelandic album must have been Björk’s “Debut”. I saw a múm gig at the art school in the first weeks I was in Reykjavík. That was special as they weren’t really famous back then in Belgium.
You travelled a lot, but why did you became and are you still so attracted to Iceland?
It happened by accident J I didn’t know a lot about Iceland when I arrived here. I just lost my heart here, probably in Dimmu Borgir. I came back a lot to search for my heart, but I never found it back. What makes Iceland and Icelandic music so special to come back and back and back?
Iceland feels like home to me. It has a calming effect: the people, the clean air, the nature, the vibe … Maybe because I met the right people here? The Icelanders I know are far less judgemental than people back home.
You made a very great network of Icelandophiles over the years. Tell us more about your worldwide connections…
I met most of them during my nine visits to Iceland Airwaves. We share a passion for Iceland, music and travelling. Sometimes I don’t succeed in meeting all of my friends during the festival. But it also happens we visit each other during the year.
Do you have any future plans/dreams concerning Iceland and Icelandic music?
I should travel more to Iceland. The Iceland posts on my travelblog do well, so I should add more of them. But I want to see the world too and we have plans for a big renovation of our house, so I will have to keep dreaming for a while.
I know you go to a lot of festivals and gigs. So this will be a hard one to answer: The best live gig(s) you’ve seen by an Icelandic musician/band? In Iceland & abroad.
I have seen great gigs of múm, sóley, FM Belfast and Sigur Rós in Belgium.
As the múm gig during Airwaves in Fríkirkjan a couple of years ago is my favourite gig in Iceland, I choose the three Sigur Rós gigs in Belgium in 2008.
In 2013 Sigur Rós shared the bill of Rock Werchter with my all-time favourite band Radiohead. That was awesome and a trip down memory lane. I got to know Sigur Rós when they were Radiohead’s support act during the ‘Kid A-tour’ in 2001.
Oh damn, now I forget the “Biophilia” Björk concert in Harpa … And some crazy Mugison gigs both in Brussels and Reykjavík. And the Hellvar gig my friends skyped the year I didn’t attend Airwaves. I just can’t choose!
Name some of your favourite bands, albums, songs?
Apart from the big three, I try not the miss gigs of: Hellvar, Mugison, sóley, Boogie Trouble, Bárujárn, Sin Fang, Samaris, Vök, Kira Kira and Æla.
Do you have an all-time favourite video?
All videos that feature Iceland. Apart from the one Justin Bieber made.
Do you have a favourite hang-out spot(s) in Reykjavik?
The lake, C is for cookie, Vesturbær, Heiða Eiríksdóttir and husband Elvar’s place … Everywhere basically. I even like to go for a walk in my old 108 neighbourhood J
What is/are your favourite spot(s) outside Reykjavik?
Favourite Icelandic food & drinks? Other things? Clothes perhaps? Favourite Shops?
I always take some skýr home. And I keep buying jackets from Volcano Design. I love the design shops such as Hrím and Kraum and I always pay a visit to Kron Kron.
Dankjewe Veerle! Takk fyrir! CU in Antwerp or RVK.
You can check Veerle’s travelblog here:
– Wim Van Hooste