We, Lieve (52 y.) Fronk (49 y.) and Aurora (18 y.) love talking, laughing and music.
Communication is always easy as we speak several languages
Fronk is crazy about Brazil, where he lived for 2 years
Lieve adores India and Aurora is mad about Greece.
We have a preference for natural, vegetarian food.
Lieve and Fronk practice Yoga daily..
We and our neighbours live on pleasant terms with each other.
Tranquility is a must in our home and in the building.
Please ring our bell... N°116/14 (fifth floor)
FLANDERS TODAY a flemish online newspaper has published an article about us and about Airbnb:
“In the last year we’ve had 60 or so guests staying with us at home,” says Fronk, who, with his partner Lieve, is one of the best-rated Flemish hosts on Airbnb, a hotel-like service for the digital age. “We have had guests from Brazil, the US, Canada, Iran, Japan, Bulgaria and more. Though no one from Africa has yet requested to stay.”
Airbnb is an online marketplace for temporary accommodation across 33,000 cities in 192 countries. Trip planners can find spare rooms, flats, sofa-beds and even igloos and private islands. Some hosts are simply renting out a spare room for a couple of weeks a month to travellers to supplement their incomes or to fill the house when they themselves are away.
Airbnb is in the vanguard of the so-called “sharing economy”, in which web services help private individuals monetise their possessions and share anything from school runs to electric drills. Flanders has more than 900 listings on the site.
Fronk and Lieve say that their guests have loved Antwerp and always have a good time. Yet if a number of their guests are visiting for tourism, many are in town for less conventional reasons. One was interviewing for a job at the opera house. Another was doing a course with world-famous contemporary artist Jan Fabre, while a third was studying with a leading dancer. A medievalist stayed for several weeks to learn Dutch for her research, while a Canadian rock band crashed when gigging down the road.
Connecting with new people with different world views is one of the attractions, as is discovering a unexpected shared interest. “The other day I was having a bowl of soup with one of our guests, who had just arrived from the United States,” recalls Fronk. “To our surprise, we soon discovered that we were both working on essays on the same subject.” Fronk, who is a literary translator of Russian and a performer, and Lieve, an organist and soprano, say that in their year of hosting they have yet to have a bad experience. Some guests stay several weeks, some come back for a second or third visit. “But we make it clear on the website that we are vegetarians, that we do yoga and that this is a family house,” Fronk explains. This attracts people who are into the same things (and probably discourages those who want to spend their time exploring Antwerp’s party scene).
Fronk and Lieve live in Borgerhout, a neighbourhood with a large immigrant population just east of the city’s Central Station, which is visible from their balcony. Borgerhout itself does not house many attractions and enjoys a reputation for being a rough sort of place. But guests have never had any problems, says Fronk. Indeed, he wistfully recalls a middle-aged American visitor looking out of the window at the district where Fronk grew up and declaring it a beautiful place.
Importantly for guests, the area provides easy access by foot or bike to Antwerp’s main sites, including the zoo; elephants can be heard vaguely trumpeting from the flat’s balcony.