The average American has never heard of Gent ( that ain’t surprising ), but Brussels is better known then Belgium or Flanders since it is the capitol of the European Union and the headquarter of the NATO.
So, you better present Flemish cities as parts of the Brussels butterfly, according to Sas Van Rouverij, alderman of Gent.
The body is Brussels and Antwerp, the juncture of the wings is Gent in the west and Leuven in the east, the left wing is Brugge (Bruges) and Oostende, the other wing Hasselt and Genk. That is also because you have to think a bit larger then we are used to in Flanders. It is very well possible for an American to say about Oostende “Oh, I didn’t know Brussels had a beach”, while for us Flemings this is hilarious because we think in very small units.
(based on an article in De Standaard, 16/02/2006, De gemiddelde Amerikaan heeft nog nooit van Gent gehoord, Schepen Sas van Rouverij heeft boek uit over stadsmodel voor Gent, interview)
Flanders is like this : I once went to a local tavern in the polders (there where our nature organization has several nature reserves ) to make an appointment to come and eat soup after a guided visit with a group. “Not possible”, the old lady told me, “because you are not from around here”. I was astonished. Indeed I did not live in the same settlement, but I live in a town of the same municipality (the distance is 15 km = 9.3 miles) and I spent all my free time in the polders and I am pretty well known as nature conservationist. So her son had to act as a mediator to finally get “a permission” to come and consume in this tavern. Big sigh.
Photo : Horse Parade 2005, Brussels ( 185 decorated horses for the celebration of 175 years Belgium were exhibited in Brussels, Luik, Knokke, Waregem, Antwerp and Brussels again )