This month the spotlight falls onto INC’s multi-lingual Belgian Vice President, GM organiser extraordinaire and former criminologist, Brigitte de Cleer
1) What brought you to Madrid?
Having finished my studies in Criminology Law I decided to pick up a 6th language and came to
Madrid to study Spanish and …. where I promptly met my husband. Here I am X years later!
2) What exactly is a criminologist?
Well, we investigate the various psychological and sociological causes and consequences of crime. It is a vocational job and huge passion of mine. I specialised in juveniles, trying to find solutions for youngsters in extreme circumstances. It is very rewarding and enriching.
3) Moving on to your currently role within INC, how do you search out such interesting places for our GM’s ?
Well, like a true criminologist, my antennae are always working!!!!! I spend a lot of time just watching and observing, talking to people, being (politely!) curious and ready to learn about everything including: art, gastronomy, whatever topic might be of interest to the INC. I think I am addicted to my work for this wonderful club, with so many good friends!
4) What is your secret Madrid?
Some of my favourite secret spots are the walking paths only known to locals near the mountains where I live, between Becerril de la Sierra and Cerceda. So…….if you want to know more, you will have to come so that I can show you!!!! We could even stop by one of my favourite cake shops called, Domca.
5) If you could wave a magic wand what would you do……?
I’d travel, travel and then travel some more……getting to know different cultures, new lifestyles, different aspects of nature and generally enjoying life to the full. I’d also like to fulfil one secret wish of mine, even if it were just for a day, which would be to resume my criminologist career as I once did, with a private detective in Madrid.
6) How has this city changed you and what does the city mean to you?
Being a long-term expatriate has made me value even more those friends I had in Belgium prior to moving here. Fortunately Madrid is a wonderful city and has given me fabulous friends, beautiful places to visit, lots of art to appreciate and at the end of the day ….I can come and relax in our house in the mountains, just like Heidi, after a fascinating day in the hustle and bustle of Madrid.
7) How long have you been a member of INC and what does membership mean?
I have been a member of INC for about 8 years now and it has been a hugely positive experience so far. Not least because it has given me a fascinating insight into the many different facets of Madrid whilst enjoying many international friendships.
My current role as INC’s Vice President and organizing GM’s has given me the chance to work for the club and try to give a little bit back to the association that has given me so much. It brings me much pleasure to try to offer you interesting and original events every month.
8) What Spanish customs has your family absorbed into your family life?
As we are a mixed Belgian/Spanish family we always try to combine both cultures. So we celebrate Saint Nicolaus (Sinterklaas) on 6th of December as well as the Reyes Magos. My cooking used to be Belgian- French but now I’ve branched out to include paella, tortilla de patata etc!