4 maart 2014

RAVAGE - remember the chaos of the Great War in Leuven

YENN package with focus on the Great War:

  • 2 x ILUVLeuven ticket (value 16 euro per ticket), with access to the Library Tower, M-Museum Leuven, M-treasury in Saint-Peter’s Church and the historic City Hall
  • 1 night bed & breakfast with healthy bio-organic products, local delicacies and home baked bread and other sweets
  • incl. VAT, tourism taxes, wifi internet
  • City map
The City of Leuven suffered from the start.  There was heavy bombing of the historic city centre already early on  in August 1914.

The burning of the University Library and "le Sac de Louvain" are remembered in many historical books
on the Great War.
More informatie on
http://www.ravage1914.be/en and on http://www.martyrcities.be


YENN b&b is located in a town house reconstructed after this Great War.

Witness thereof are the remembrance stones in the facade.

There are many facade stones like this in Leuven, very many.
Look for them when walking around in streets and on squares and you'll get an idea of the RAVAGE and chaos in that part of history.

The origings of our house date back to the end of the 1880's, when these boulevards were developed after bulding the Leuven Railway Station.
The boulevards were grand avenues, with stylish modern houses where the grand families of Leuven enjoyed modern architecture and amenities like tapwater and gas lighting, and lived in healthy large rooms with high ceilings and large windows.

This area was burned and bombed right from the start in August 1914 because of its location: pressed between the railway Station (critical for logistics and local opposition) and the University Library (where Nazi leaders thought the local intelligentsia was in hiding).

I checked the archives and found the original drawings for reconstruction in the post-War era.

Courageous people.
With a positive attitude en full of courage reconstruction began and rebuilding plans were filed for approval at the city offices.





Approval for reconstruction was given on 30th June 1920.   






Watching these drawings in detail, you'll see what corrections were expected, where the architects made changes, and what finally was approved.

At that time in the post-Great War era people didn't realise what was yet to come in 20 years time.

There are so many areas in the world where people still experience RAVAGE and chaos every day.
Let us consider this focus on the historical era in Leuven with respectful memory of  every person past or present finding courage to start all over again and again.

How come we can not forget this long Great War ?  Some academic approach is available here:
http://disabilityhistorylectureseries.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/disability-history-lecture-3/

27 januari 2014

accommodation in Leuven area - Rock Werchter 2014

Dear festival visitor,

YENN has 1 night availability during Werchter festival in july 2014:
- businessflat Birgen on Sunday 6 July, max. 3 persons


For Leuven city centre you can check with my colleagues http://www.leuven.be/en/tourism/staying/.

You can look a bit further afield and explore the area around Leuven.

More information can be found on http://www.toerismevlaamsbrabant.be/en/staying-over-in-flemish-brabant/index.jsp#1 where you select the Region Hageland or you choose for a municipality close to Leuven.

More about the area around Leuven and the municipalities here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leuven_administrative_Arrondissement.

You can search the database of "Logeren in Vlaanderen Vakantieland" (= holidays in Flanders - vacationing country) www.logereninvlaanderenvakantieland.be where you choose Hageland region or the province of Vlaams Brabant.

You'll find here "vakantiewoningen" (= self catering accommodation), campeerterreinen (camping sites), gastenkamers (b&b) and hotels.

Try to find a location with bus or train connections to Leuven railway station, where all festival busses arrive. More information on http://www.rockwerchter.be/en/practical-info

You can also bring (or rent) a bike and go on your bike to the festival location.

Let us know if this information has been useful to you or if we can add anything practical for future visitors.

Good luck !

... and maybe for a city trip for Leuven book with YENN b&b ?

Feel free to follow us on www.facebook.com/YENNLeuven, check us out on Tripadvisor and visit www.yenn.be of course.

Information about the festival on http://www.rockwerchter.be/nl

3 januari 2014

Diversity at YENN b&b in Leuven - some visitors' statistics from 2013

In 2013 there were
- visitors from 22 different countries
- travelling from 4 continents (Africa was not represented in 2013)
- 30 % of Belgian travellers, 70 % of foreign visitors
- 35 % of Dutch language speakers (visitors from Belgium & The Netherlands)
- 62 % of European visitors, and only a small number intercontinental travellers
- within Europe 85 % travelled from West-European countries and only 15 % from the former Eastern European countries
We had visitors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Hungary, Ireland, India, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovania, Spain, the UK, the US, South-Korea and Sweden (alfabetical order).

2014 has started nicely with a check in from a visitor from India ;0))

Why do travellers visit Leuven and stay at YENN b&b ?
65 % are work related visits
30 % are leisure travellers
5 % are conference related visits

Length of stay:
52 % stay for 1 night only
43 % stay between 2 to 5 consecutive nights
5 % stay more than 5 consecutive nights

Single travellers of in company of others ?
58 % are single travellers
32 % are couples
10 % are travelling with family or friends (groups from 3 to 6 persons)

24 december 2013

YENN was the first b&b to join the "regional products & producers' association" Straffe Streek - and we're still happy to support them

When YENN b&b started out in Spring 2009, there was this global ecological Conference in Copenhagen and I started thinking about my own ecological footprint and our USP.
- should I go for Fair trade products ?
- should I go for organic products ?
- how can I manage this small hospitality business with the best possible sustainable approach ?

That's when I approached & joined Straffe Streek Vlaams-Brabant:  a non-profit organisation supporting the marketing and branding of our own farm products, locally produced specialties, breads, chocolates, beers, coffees etc...

Apparently my request to join set a trend ... after YENN, so many other b&b's, restaurants, hotels joined in and Straffe Streek has been a succes.

I hope you enjoy this all at http://www.straffestreek.be/information.php and feel free to ask more about regional products when staying at YENN b&b.

Here you can read an article published in Flanders Today on the best of the Flanders provinces
http://www.flanderstoday.eu/living/bite-praise-provinces

To return to my initial questions about how to profile YENN in its own way AND limit my ecological footprint at the same time, I decided to go for a mixture of
- regional and local products
- bio-organic products
- fair trade products
added with home made breads & bakeries for the breakfast table.
I added to this my definite choice for green and sustainable cleaning products for maintenance of the rooms and linen.

We've had enthousiastic responses to this from our visitors.  Ask more about this when you visit.

23 november 2013

Ask for our surprise breakfast basket in your room - spend a nice weekend in Leuven















Breakfast in bed ?  Breakfast in your room ?
Let YENN b&b treat you and treat your loved ones as well.
















For a small surcharge you can enjoy our elaborate breakfast in your room.  Ideal for a slow start on a weekend in Leuven.
















Follow us on www.facebook.com/YENNLeuven for more information.

8 november 2013

Glutenfree requests ? Piece of cake at YENN b&b

There are readymade bread baking mixtures available in specialty stores and supermarkets.
There are also glutenfree breads and sweets available in most of the quality supermarkets.

I like a challenge and tried my hand this week for this visitor with a glutenfree request.  We've had similar requests before, so it's not the first time for me.

On the picture below you see a collection of homemade sweet and savoury goodies:
(from left to right)

  • banana cake (see former blogpost, but this time glutenfree ;0))
  • crunchy brown bread with sunflowerseeds (bottom)
  • savoury black olive & olive oil roll (top)
  • savoury white roll sprinkled wit cumin seeds (top)
  • chunky sugar sweet roll topped with apple and cinamon (top)
  • apple cake




More on our activities on www.facebook.com/YENNLeuven or on www.yenn.be

24 augustus 2013

YENN b&b's favourite: banana cake or banana bread

YENN b&b tries to limit it's ecological foot print by offering local or organic products at breakfast, ecological cleaning products and sustainable bathroom commodities. 


Moreover Leuven is the World Capital of Banana's

Ingredients:
4 medium bananas, mashed
250 gr (9 oz) self raising flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
100 gr (4 oz) butter, softened
200 gr (7 oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
Measure all the ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into a tin, well greased or lined with greaseproof backing paper.
Bake in a medium hot oven until done.
The cake you had this morning was made with flour for "brown bread" and therefore the crunchy bite in it.  I replaced the self raising flour with "brown bread flour", added more baking powder (see instructions on the baking powder as to how much you need, my small packs are 1 pack to 500 gr of flour).
This cake freezes well.
I bake it when I have 'brown & spotted' bananas (the ones that no one wants to eat anymore).
Have fun and let me know the result when you make it.

Banana bread sprinkled with oat flakes

banana cakes with coffee

banana cakes for work or school

18 augustus 2013

Home made at YENN - with love - and lots of quality ingredients

More and more I offer home made breads & sweets for breakfast.
First choice ingredients and the love of preparing this is is one of the assets of YENN b&b.

A cake-like bread in which bananas are used, topped with almonds
As a large "tray"-bake or as small mini-cakes.
For the romantics souls in the shape of a heart.
Banana-cake-bread enriched with healthy grains
like oats and broken flaxseed, with sunflower or pumkin seeds 
A variety of breads: dark whole-grain beer-bread with pumkin seeds
or lighter whole-grain bread with almonds, raisins and dried cranberries
Focaccia prepared with olive oil, coarse sea salt,
oregano and sundried tomatoes


Rice pudding with red berries, 
or other fresh fruit of the season 
- top of the list with most of our guests  

7 juni 2012

about preserves, confitures, jams, marmelades, etc...

Once in a while I challenge myself and try my hand on fruit preserves.
Today I had some strawberries, some apples, half a pommegranate and half a lemon, all lingering in or out of the fridge.
Hmm, too good to throw away, a bit too damaged to put on the breakfast table.
I started slicing & cutting, and along the process I thought of making a preserve ...
See the result : looks good & tastes even better !
I wonder what the guests will think of this.

Some days later I combined figs, pommegranate and lemon and ... hmmm,  the preserve had a nice taste and was quite crunchy with the crushed pommegranate seeds in it.

3 mei 2012

YENN b&b licenced by Flanders' tourism board

Some more history or YENN b&b.

In 1996 I bought this book in the Oxfam bookshop in Oxford : "how to start your own holiday accommodation" ...
ever since 1994 we house exchanged for our family summer vacation ...
running my own b&b seemed a challenge for me ... after my retirement.
In 1997 we started living here in this beautiful large town house (we = myself, the husband & 2 sons, still small at that time) at Tiensevest where we rented out 4 rooms to students - typical for Leuven.
In 2003 mom (= me) became 40, didn't cherish the prospect of having the office job till her 65th and realized that if and when she was to realise her b&b, she'd better get started ! 
A dream is a plan with a deadline: before my 50th I should be up & running - husband agreed, children OK'd and so I started ...
- for myself professionally (can I, may I, do I want to do this ?) 
I was still in an interesting fulltime job and I had never been self employed before ...
I never worked in hotel & restaurant business either.
- but also from a pragmatic point-of-view: 
I visited the very first b&b fair in Brussels,
took courses at Syntra (Hotelmanagement, 2 years - still grateful for the inspiring teachers!),
I invited the prevention officer of the Leuven Fire Brigade for advice and
I had a meeting at Leuven Tourism office (I still remember my first contacts with Nancy Brouwers). 
By then it was early 2008.
Plans were taking form:
interior architect was set to work,
our students were told they could not rent anymore after the summer, etc... 
In July the students went out, building contractors came in,
until December 2008 ... 
Beginning of 2009 started slow - reculer pour mieux sauter !
If only for the international economic recession and the hotel and travel crisis.
Leuven Hotel managers were in despair. 
What did I do ? 
But, the point of no return was there.
By Summer 2009 YENN b&b was licenced by the City of Leuven.
Our Fire prevention plan was OK'd and 
Tourism Leuven started promoting YENN b&b.
However, there was a new set of regulations worked on on a higher level -
Flanders' Tourism Board was developing a new set of rules and regulations for b&b to live by ... YENN still had time to get the files ready.
Finally, November 2011, all papers & stamps collected and and sent to Brussels -
the deadline was very near now. 
But yes:
Right now YENN b&b is licenced by Flanders' Tourism Board as a b&b with Comfort label, corresponding to 3 or 4 stars hotel services (also depending on the room you consider);
And YES, I'm still happy I dived in, planned this dream, and took the chances: hospitality is a nice sector to work in, for business or for leisure visitors, it's a real asset to be able to offer travellers a home away from their home.