Museum builder at heart, from childhood.


In a previous life, 75-year-old Eddy Van Belle was the chairman of Brussels food multinational Puratos, a global leader in bakery ingredients. When he was about 10, his passion for collecting reared its head. In recent years, it has grown into a real passion for building museums, at home and abroad.

For Eddy, as for so many, it started with the occasional gadget at some flea market. Until a petroleum lamp caught his eye. From then on, his enthusiasm for lamps of all shapes and sizes was unstoppable. Before he realised it, he had 6,500 of them under his roof: pocket, church, car, mine, indoor lamps ... you name it. Gradually, Eddy's attic threatened to burst at the seams. The sine qua non of marrying the woman he had met was that she love his collection as much as him. On that point, he could already rest assured. What's more, she herself suggested that he put them in a real museum. That set the ball rolling...

But even before Lumina Domestica in Bruges was born in 2007, he had a taste for chocolate. That same year, Choco-Story in Bruges opened, a showcase of all kinds of objects from the chocolate craft, gleaned thanks to his extensive network at the time of Puratos and the Belgian chocolate brand Belcolade, which is part of it. The following year, that other Belgian icon, the fry, got its own place, also already in Bruges. Meanwhile, Choco-Story attracted interested parties in Prague, Paris, Uxmal (in Mexico), Brussels, Valladolid (also in Mexico), Beirut, Colmar and Playa del Carmen (again in Mexico) and soon Turin. Even the pilgrim with a sweet tooth will get their money's worth in a Choco-Story in Lourdes, a museum of religious traditions as well as a pilgrimage museum. A Choco-Story is planned for 2025 in Mexico City (yes, in ....). And with any luck, cat lovers will soon be able to visit their own museum here in Asse.

Why pile up so many museums, you wonder. Well, you have to have something to do after retirement, and what could be more fun than giving shape to your passion in a profitable museum? Now, there are limits. Once, he dismissed a proposal to create a lift museum from scratch for being a tad over the top. However, if you still have a nice museum tip ... let's hear it.