• BJW aims to celebrate and showcase contemporary jewellery, a creative and innovative practice translating into an almost systematic desire for experimentation and a break from traditional jewellery codes.






    Noun, Brusseleir dialect


    1. Stricto sensu: arm of the Zinne river crossing Brussels (Senne in French, Zenne in Dutch, Zinne in Brusseleir)

    2. Mongrel dog

    3. Nickname given to the people of Brussels, for their multicultural or cosmopolitan character


    Zinneke?! What is the origin of this rather funny word?


    At the beginning of the 16th century, Brussels was crossed by the river Zinne, which served as an open sewer, therefore attracting many rats. To fight against this invasion, the people of Brussels – colloquially called the Brusseleirs - began to adopt dogs. These dogs, left to roam freely, began to mix and reproduce and quickly enough a huge number of mongrels took possession of the city. To get rid of them, the inhabitants decided to drown them in the Zinneke, an arm of the river Zinne. The zinnekes were therefore, originally, these little mongrels, breedless and destined to drown in the river.

    By extension, the word zinneke came to denote pejoratively the inhabitants of Brussels : a linguistic and cultural mix of identities, half Flemish, half Walloon, with their own customs and bastard language.

    But more recently, the once inglorious zinneke word has gained acclaim. What once was perceived as bastardisation, is now a re-appropriated and praised specificity, a value, a plea for diversity. More than six out of ten Brussels residents are of foreign origin, making Brussels one of the most culturally diverse, cosmopolitan and multilingual cities in the world!

    Brussels is like a mongrel dog: mixed, resilient, lively and not taking itself too seriously.

    Brussels Jewellery Week aims to embody this typical Brussels identity by being a dynamic, joyful, multicultural artistic happening. A true zinneke event that aims to attract international contemporary jewellery to Brussels.


    Meet Les Brucelles asbl, the zinneke non-profit organisation behind Brussels Jewellery Week.