Month: April 2016

important announcement – merge

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – to better serve and entertain the Belgian Community in and around Atlanta, beATL and the Belgian Club Atlanta have merged forces!

After many years of organizing successful/memorable/broadly enjoyed events for Belgians, the Belgian Club Atlanta is retiring.

Cindy will remain at the helm as the organizer of the Easter Egg Hunts and Saint-Nicolas/Sinterklaas festivities, but the admin (announcements, invitations and RSVP’s) will be from now on handled through beATL.  It makes sense to have it all ‘on one site’.

Make sure to email beATL if you have children who would like to participate in these annual activities.   A new ‘kids-list’ will be created.


meet our new Consul General

Freshly arrived in Atlanta, Mr. William De Baets, who was Counselor at our Embassy in Washington, stepped into Mrs. Geneviève Verbeek’s shoes on April 1st.  No joke.

After 41 years in the diplomatic world, Geneviève retired at the end of March, happy to end her career in Hotlanta, a city that captivated her.  She made many friends in our Belgian community and she will be missed.

I had the pleasure to meet William to introduce him to beATL.  We had a nice chat about what beATL does for the Belgian community, but we also approached the spicy Delta topic, our 21st of July festivities and other little items on my agenda.

So let me tell you a little bit more about William.   Born in Ghent, having moved to Gistel, he attended Onze-Lieve-Vrouwecollege in Oostende, Koninklijke Kadettenschool in Laken and the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. After a Navy Officer career,  he joined the Belgian diplomatic service in 2000.  Fluent in French, Flemish, English and Spanish, he has been based in Côte d’Ivoire, Venezuela and Ethiopia before going back to Foreign Affairs in Brussels as Head of the Crisis Center and B-FAST. He joins us from his last posting in Washington.  His wife María Jesús is from Granada, Spain, and she will join him in Atlanta early July with their three children: Edith [by then 11], Manon [9] and Lucas [8].

William is a dynamic and very open person while being a good listener.  With too little time for sports, William is an amateur musician with a predilection for piano and trombone.  Grand amateur of classical music, he loves opera.

Awaiting his family, he dedicates himself to mastering his new role, with the disappearance of the direct Delta flights to Brussels as high priority on his agenda.  Early July he hopes to show the fabulous and thriving Beltline to his family while he is under the impression that his kids will rather lead him to Coca-Cola World instead.

On behalf on beATL and its beATLes, I want to welcome William and his family, wishing them all a fabulous and fructuous time in Atlanta, and William in particular a successful  and memorable next step his career.

And I take the opportunity to wish Geneviève a happy and healthy new life with her family and friends but more specifically with her first baby grand-daughter who makes her so proud.

With Ghent in the background

With Ghent in the background

Gentle hike at Georgia’s Grand Canyon | 4/16/2016

Come and embark on a light hike at Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon ‘Providence State Park’.  It will be a relatively easy 3 mile hike, even if you have to go 150 feet down and up again. The stretch that we will be setting foot on, encompasses a vast amount beautiful scenery. Start the Spring off right with this rejuvenating stroll through the park,  known as one of the seven natural wonders of Georgia. The exposed sandy canyon bluffs are extremely beautiful with many bands of different coloured rock – bright red clay, white kaolin, as well as sands coloured ochre, pink, orange, beige, purple, lavender, grey, yellow, tan and black.

For those interested in some local history, we will start our day in Plains, the hometown of Jimmy Carter (about 30 minutes drive from the Canyon).  Our program will include Plains High School followed by the Boyhood Farm.  And you may want to do a goofy photo-stop at the famous grinning thirteen feet tall peanut statue that could be the world’s second largest peanut.

You can either do both or pick one of the activities [see details in Logistics below]… Yes, there is a lot of driving involved.  Yes, it will be a long day. But so worth it: natural beauty and history with a bunch of Belgian fans … Something that you wouldn’t have done on your own … So don’t moan and join us!

No excuse … the date has been carefully selected after your tax return!  The perfect way to relax with your friends and family!


  • When & Where – Saturday April 16th, 2016
    • 10.30 am at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site300 North Bond Street, Plains, GA 31780
    • LUNCH [bring your picnic] at 1 pm at ‘Providence State Park‘.  Meet at the park’s visitor center | Providence Canyon Outdoor Recreation Area, 8930 Canyon Road, Lumpkin, GA 31815.
  • Entrance fees:  Providence Canyon – $5 cash per car or your Georgia State Park Annual ParkPass | Free entrance at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.
  • Picnic – shelter is not guaranteed, so you may feel better by bringing your folding chairs /and or blanket and whatever you will need for an enjoyable lunch with a magnificent view!  Playground and restrooms close by.
  • Clothing – Despite the obvious appropriate dress code that includes hat and sunglasses, comfortable shoes are highly recommended.  Note that the bottom of the canyon, we will crossing, always has water ..
  • RSVP please … Indicate  in the comment section [of the RSVP]  your phone number [= must for last minute change if any] + where to expect you: Plains or Hike!


  • All events are organized in good faith and with a very big heart.
  • Parents are the sole responsibles for their family members, relatives and friends and cannot rely on any beATL’s members to watch over their loved ones during any of beATL events.
  • Providence Canyon: Visitors are urged to use caution on trails and to not go beyond fences or overlooks. Erosion can cause the canyon walls to collapse. Do not allow your children to walk outside the marked trails.  Stay behind fences and off the fragile canyon edges at all time!
  • PARTICIPANTS TAKE PART AT THEIR OWN RISK and must act responsibly at all times. Each participant understands that during the course of the activities certain events may occur.  Neither beATL or its representatives are liable for any loss or any kind of damages, including, but not limited to, accident, illness, injury, death, any actions of other people, property loss, theft, force of nature, to participants during the activity or on their way to or back from an event.   Participants agree to assume all risks associated with the activities and will not hold responsible the organizers and hosts for any claim arising from his/her participation.
  • It is important to keep yourself and others safe while visiting the park especially with high temperatures. You should increase your intake of non-alcoholic, non-carbonated, caffeine free beverages such as water and juice. Wear clothing that is light colored and loose fitting and avoid extreme temperatures if possible. Heat related illnesses can be serious and sometimes fatal. This includes: sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Please take all necessary precautions to avoid heat illnesses.
  • The weather in South Georgia can be unpredictable at times. Severe thunderstorms are possible with high temperatures in the afternoons. Check the weather forecast before you visit and be prepared. Keep a watch on the skies and be ready to move indoors when lightning begins to strike. 
  • At anytime during your visit you may see wildlife. Please be cautious and avoid getting injured by the many types of wildlife that can be found during our visits. This includes, but is not limited to: spiders. ticks, bees, fire ants, snakes (venomous and non-venomous), deer, armadillos, foxes, opossum, and many others. Wildlife is protected under law in all national parks. It is illegal to bother, touch, or try to kill them. If you do encounter wildlife, please stay at a safe distance and do not disturb them.

Providence Canyon

Belgian THIRSTday | 4/7/2016

Spring break time for most but still … Our monthly gathering will be held at The Chapter Room in Sandy Springs on Thursday from 7 pm.   The Chapter Room is among the best beers bars in Atlanta and offers a large selection of international and craft beers …


  • When: Thursday April 7th, 2016 from 7 pm
  • Where: 5600 Roswell Rd, Sandy Springs, GA 30342 – Almost next door to 5 Seasons Brewery. To get to the bar, you may have to sneak around the side of the building and find the hidden door to the basement entrance.
  • Parking: ample free parking within the shopping complex
  • Curtesy RSVP even if not coming …