Joram Van Holen took all the photographs in the four books, including this Ghent cafe interior

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels

an urban guide for the curious

I wrote this guide as a way of introducing people to a different side of Brussels. The aim was to ignore the crowded tourist places and focus instead on the off-beat and eccentric side of the city, like the little bars decorated with old photgraphs, the tiny shops that specialise in carpet slippers or kitchen knives, the museums that hardly anyone knows about.

It is a very personal guide to the city where I have lived for 24 years.

Now in its fourth fully revised edition

Also published in French


The 500 Hidden Secrets of Antwerp

an urban guide to a port city

After the success of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels, I suggested to the publisher that we could possibly do the same thing for Antwerp. I spent the winter of 2012 walking the cold, snowy streets of Antwerp in search of the hidden details, like the quiet renaissance garden of the Rockox Mansion, the eccentric architecture of Berchem and the cool cafés of Het Eilandje.

Now in its second fully revised edition

Also published in French


The 500 Hidden Secrets of Ghent

an urban guide to a forgotten city

One year later, I set out to tackle Ghent, a city I had been visiting regularly since 1980. Here was a more challenging book, for Ghent is a city of just 250,000 people. Some résidents told me that I would never find the 500 hidden secrets that I needed to fill the book. But Ghent is a rich historic city with far more than 500 hidden secrets.

Now in its second fully revised edition

Also published in French

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Flanders Fields and the Belgian Coast

an unusual guide to battlefields and beaches

In 2013, I came up with a new idea for a guide. This time I left the cities behind and set out to explore the battlefields of the First World War. My aim was not to write just about the war cemeteries and museums, but also about the local bars, cool B&Bs and interesting beers. This book is currently out of print.


The 500 Hidden Secrets of Bruges

a guide to the Bruges no one knows

In 2017, my publisher came up with one final idea for a guide. "What do you think about a guide to Bruges?" he asked. Of course I was interested. I spent about six months exploring the city on foot and on bike, trying to find places off the tourist trail. It wasn't always easy to escape the crowds, but I managed to track down 500 places that were virtually unknown. Even the locals don't know some of the places I found, like the hidden street art and the romantic English cemetery in the suburbs.


The 500 Hidden Secrets Game

invented by Pleuntje Jellema and Stephen Murray

"During the Christmas holidays we invented a game with your guide to Ghent. We had guests visiting, and we split the group into two teams of four. Each had a copy of the guide and a different starting point."

"Over the course of two hours, they had to tick off as many secret spots as possible."

"In addition, they had to take a photo and find a worthwhile piece of information that was not included in the guide."

Bonus points for an entire list of 5 hidden secrets.

The 500

Hidden Secrets

of Brussels

"this little gem is an instant Brussels bestseller"


The 500

Hidden Secrets

of Brussels

more comments ::

"best Brussels guidebook"

"the descriptions are short and snappy and give you just enough information to tease you  into discovering them for yourself"

Julian Hale

The Brussels Tribune

"Really love your book. I always knew Brussels was a great city and no way boring. We enjoyed our stay in Sweet which your book rightly recommends. Sofie the owner was sweet."

Gary Mayne


fourth fully

revised edition

in bookshops

now ::

order a copy here ::

Now in French ::

Bruxelles surprises:

500 coups de coeur

Second revised French edition now in bookshops

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Ghent


First of all we would like to thank you for compiling such a wonderful guide. Over the past few months we have found it a great source of inspiration while exploring our own town and have enjoyed sharing copies with friends too.

Pleuntje Jellema and Stephen Murray