There is Rob Van Remoortere (36) from the Haringrodewijk. He already builds special ones with his real Sascha Lego sets. “I played with it as a kid, but always had to wait for my birthday from Santa Claus to get a new box. As an adult I have more budget and therefore more options. Although I am glad that I regularly receive a box as a gift from friends, because Lego is not cheap. For example, we are working on a set around the architecture of Singapore.”
Rob and Saschsa have a fondness for The Simpsons and Harry Potter. “With that last series it is completely unhinged because we are huge fans of the wizarding world.”
Lego fans can fall into two categories: people who get creative with a stack of blocks and people who buy specific sets. “We belong to the latter. During the autumn and winter it is very nice to build such a set together in the evening.” And will not be broken down afterwards. “The whole thing is just too beautiful. We have transformed a separate room in our house, a former utility room, into a Lego room. Includes a flying dragon and much more.”
Does Rob have any ambitions? “We already have the Hogwarts set, of course, but that’s only half of the Harry Potter school. We have just seen an ‘unofficial plan’ of the rest of the castle being made. Making it complete, that would be the ultimate experience. Made we will have to freestyle and therefore buy new, expensive blocks. But we are happy to do that.”
Tom De Bruyker (55) from Deurne is the chairman of BeLUG, an association that brings Lego enthusiasts together and organizes, among other things, the Brick Mania fair in Antwerp Expo. There the builders present their works of art, including in the past examples of the Cathedral of Our Lady and the Central Station. “We don’t just want to bring fans together with our events, but also give them the chance to show what they’re up to.”
As a species, Tom was often busy with Lego bricks, but then came what he de Middle Ages Re. “In my adolescence I started to develop new interests. Only much later, after the birth of my child who later started playing with it, did the interest return. And then there were sets around Star Wars released. Ever since I became a fan of that film series, I dived into the building blocks again. By the way, I’m not the only one because the Middle Ages are really a phenomenon. Lego is an easy tool with possible possibilities in which your imagination can run wild not only as a child, but also as a child.”
For example, Tom and his husbands Cathy now make pieces around a Roman theme. “Just think of a temple of an amphitheater scene. They are often quite large and have already been in various museums. beforehand we are working on a work around the twelve labors of the Greco-Roman hero Hercules.”
Eight million cubes
The construction Lego builder in these parts is Dirk Denoyelle (57). The comedian and voice impersonator plunged into Lego in the late 1990s. He specialized in busts of well-known Flemish and world stars and was able to make this his profession over the years. In this context, he founded the company Amazings, which organizes workshops and exhibitions.
Dirk also fell prey to the Middle Ages. As a little boy he was a big fan of Lego, but only after the arrival of his offspring he rediscovered it. “A little later I decided to copy Willem Vermandere as part of a theater performance.” deadly has not stopped – the man – to a select wreath of Lego Selected Professionals and now makes ‘heads’ of someone in 3D, among other things, to order. “But because that is quite expensive – in addition to the cost price of the blocks, each assignment easily takes three weeks of work – I also do cheaper mosaics.” All of this is sold worldwide by Amazings (“from New Zealand to Izegem”) and for that purpose the company has around eight million Lego blocks in stock. For roughly rosse eyebrows, new building blocks are ordered.
What makes Lego special? “For what marble was to Michelangelo, although of course I don’t want to go with the comparator. I’m not very handy with a pencil or brush, but I can get along very well with the blocks. Lego is my creative outlet.”
Dirk Denoyelle comes from Roeselare, but has lived in Antwerp for thirty years. “I call myself an immigrant to Antwerp residents, I tell my friends in West Flanders that I am active there as a missionary,” he laughs. “I currently live in Hoboken, where Amazings is also located. You will hardly find anyone there that both parents -let alone grandparents- are real Antwerpers. And just like with Lego, I also like to build my neighborhood. Even if it’s just by waving to a neighbor and saying goodbye. And when everyone starts to do that, the blocks fall into each other, as it were.”
How many times has he started with bare feet for such a notoriously mean Lego block? “Surprisingly, never. But one of our ‘works of art’ is a container with transparent yellow and red building blocks. People can take off their shoes and walk on hot coals, as it were. Kids don’t feel it, but the taller and nothing you are, the more it hurts. Very nice to see”, Dirk chuckles.