About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (a bad wordplay on Orwell's "double plus good" and old machismo - I'm the realest after all) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear' or 'Unripe language'), the umbrella of several literary projects in Dutch.

This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Why is this in English why everything else in Dutch? Because I want to gun for a much wider audience here. Also, my literary English isn't good enough, otherwise I would always write in English.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

State of Failure: Limburg


Introduction

Limburg’s inhabitants are proud of their province, mostly because they never set a foot outside of it. Gently, they hum their exotic dialects and live on the rhythm of nature itself. Is Limburg truly the most convivial province of the country? Bullshit from a tourist folder.

Whoever makes the effort to decipher their unusual phonemes will discover just as much venom, self-satisfaction and envy as the rest of Belgium.  Many a visitor has been mistaken in the conspiratorial stubbornness of the Limburgers.

Important facts
Limburg is the least-populated province of Flanders. Those who could escape it, have long left, upholding a grand tradition of marriage within the family in the province. Limburgers have the unfortunate reputation of being slow in terms of speech. That is so they can even more menacingly, slowly eviscerate you with words.

There’s only one worse place than Limburg, and that’s the adjacent Dutch province, also called Limburg, which produced notorious racist shithead Geert Wilders – and it’s all the way downhill from there for the Netherlands.


Belgium’s grain gin silo

By and large, many forests still remain in Limburg, which has given it sizable populations of deer, wild boars and wolves. Opglabbeek’s nature centre is one of Belgium’s best fine dining places for game. Southern Limburg is more suitable for agriculture, mostly fruit and grain. No less than 96.6% of all national gin deposits lie stored in Limburg, making the province an important military asset.

The story of Petrus Limberger

Limburg was discovered in 1745 by Petrus Lemberger, who lost track of time on the Antwerp Ring Causeway and was looking for a faster route to Cologne. The area was christened from the early 19th century onwards, but the original religion retained many vestiges in the culture, which is known now today as “the Limburg Feeling”, a kind of modern animism.

The province began to drastically change when coal deposits were discovered around 1850. Roads and canals were constructed and hordes of foreign miners were imported. The art of book printing was re-invented, and Limburg got its own newspaper in 1871.

Yet, it would take more than a century, after bitter legal battles, for Limburg to get its own university. At long last, the traffic jam to Brussels was introduced in 2007. Despite the stereotypes, Limburg has reached almost the same state of development as the rest of the country. Belgium has nothing to be ashamed about for its colonial period in Limburg.

To see and visit in Limburg
Bokrijk

Authenticity, liveability and a gushing spirit: the capital of Bokrijk has it all. Local crafts and techniques have been passed on for centuries here, and in terms of architecture and nightlife, Bokrijk can compete with the best provincial capitals of Belgium.

Hasselt

The open-air museum of Hasselt has been made so that people can imagine themselves back in the Middle Ages. The city is ruled according to ancient feudal traditions, and motorized vehicles are forbidden in the city. Quiet Hasselt briefly did make the world news, when a hurricane blew the profits of local festival Pukkelpop up in the air.

Genk

Of equal world fame is the nationality museum of Genk, which houses 90 different foreign couples. The museum is especially proud of its couple of Bhutanese, which with it participates in an international breeding scheme.

The Maasland

The inhabitants of the Maasland still live off of the river: tourists who want to get tipsy for the afternoon. The Meuse river is a perfect example of a closed ecosystem: once a year, it floods, changing the surrounding sandflats into fertile soil, so that the Maaslanders can plant sufficient gin berries for the following tourist season.

Tongeren and Haspengauw

In Tongeren, you can find the statue of Ambiorix, the king of the Eburons. From there, visitors can discover lovely Haspengouw. De fruit orchards there were planted in 2008 as part of a fiction drama, but they remained there because, ah, who cares.

Voeren

Who now looks at the picturesque landscape of Voeren can barely imagine the bloody Battle of Voeren took place just a few decades ago. Here, the 8-man army of the Flemish Militant Order chased out the 6 militia members of Back to Liège, and restored order. But the smallest spark can light the fuse once more.

Unemployment and sexual predation

The post-industrial downturns of the ‘70s and beyond hit Limburg hard. First, the mines closed, later the car plants went, and then their most beloved celebrities from the ‘90s turned out to be sex offenders.

But Limburg is also home to the world’s only Christian democratic superhero, Wouter Beke, whose superpower is being the colourless bitch boy for political bullies. His sidekick, Jo Vandeurzen, is a lovable but sad dog.

Techno and Italians

Another economic glimmer of hope for Limburg is its entertainment industry. Pictured: Regi Penxten, famed dance producer.

‘90s Eurodance titan Pat Crimson is CEO of an airline straight to Ibiza and founder of a few Russian language schools. Other dance prodigy Regi Penxten employs 500 dentists, and techno legend Praga Khan keeps afloat several embalming companies.

Having a sizeable Italian community, this means Limburgers also get to enjoy top-quality Italian food, music and the occasional drug deal gone fatal.