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The yuppies are taking over the city: “Brussels is becoming a city where everyone looks the same”

The yuppies are taking over the city: “Brussels is becoming a city where everyone looks the same”

In one of the first chapters, Kooiman presents a checklist of twenty questions, ranging from “Do you drink natural wine?” to “Do you travel abroad more than places in the Netherlands outside the Randstad?” and “Do you eat out in restaurants where communal dining is the norm?” If you answer “yes” fifteen times, you belong to the oat milk elite, abbreviated as HME. He himself scores nineteen points.

I noticed that the question of whether to drink oat milk is not included in the list.
Koyman: Oh yes indeed. Funny. Yes, it has changed a lot again. Oat milk has been replaced by pea milk, and now it is cool to drink cow’s milk again. Oat milk is available everywhere, so it is no longer exclusive enough.

You wrote part of your book in Brussels, where you stayed for a month. What did you notice about the city?
Koyman: To be able to continue my life in Amsterdam here without any hassle. I rented an apartment on the Dansaertbuurt, the equivalent of Amsterdam North. I had coffee in the morning at MOK, the meeting place for the art crowd. I did some shopping at an organic supermarket and got a trial subscription to Yyoga. And of course I went to the Nightshop. You don’t get more elite oat milk than that: natural wine is always reserved and small boardRestaurant in an old garage.

Is there a little that makes Dansaert different from Amsterdam-Noord?
Koyman: I think the big difference is that suddenly there is a travel agency or a grill room next to these restaurants and cafes. The elite oat milk spots seem less concentrated in Brussels.

So the urban elite is less dominant in Brussels?
Koyman: I thought so, yeah.

Yet the comparisons are endless. Amsterdam has Vanmoov, Brussels has Cowboy. Shared dining is also a well-established concept in Brussels. A few months ago, Rocycle opened in Ixelles, a fitness trend from Amsterdam where you can take a class in a dark room with loud music.
Koyman: What? Is there also a Rocycle in Brussels?! Then you’re doomed.

Why is this mark on the wall?
Koyman: These gyms are actually a symbol of this lifestyle. Only people from a certain group come to them. People who work hard, party hard and exercise hard to keep themselves going.

What awaits Brussels then?
Coyman: A city where everything and everyone looks the same. Where the urban middle class increasingly takes over the city and bends it to its will.

What makes the Oat Milk Elite such an attractive group to belong to?
Koyman: Suppose you were born very poor, there is a good chance that you will end up in abject poverty. Same thing if you were born very rich. Then you inherit a position from your parents and it takes a lot of effort to change it radically. The oat milk elite is a culture that is suitable for the middle class. It is actually upper middle classYou have to go to the right places, dress the right way and eat the right food, but it is possible. But if you look at the numbers, the middle income group is shrinking. The group is being squeezed by rising house prices and inflation.

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