‘A dog of Flanders’ tells the story of Flemish boy Nello and his dog Patrasche. Written in 1872 by Marie Louise de la Ramée, it is one of the most read stories about Antwerp around the world. Translated into 25 languages, it has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, inspired 5 Hollywood movies and a much loved cartoon series; a children’s classic as far afield as South Korea and Japan. So it's surprising that so few Belgians should know this story of friendship and fidelity.
Together with the City of Antwerp, Hoboken District and CNN awarded guide Tanguy Ottomer, we brought this story into the 21st century. Just like in the original tale – where the mayor of Antwerp announces a design contest – we launched a competition for artists of all ages. Receiving dozens of beautiful entries, the winning design was by Batist Vermeulen, graphic designer and sculptor from Ghent. In the children’s classic Nello and Patrasche lived in Hoboken, and died in the Antwerp cathedral. Now they rest in peace forever, in the shadow of the Antwerp Cathedral.