Safer Spaces and nods to surrealism – introducing the Institute’s stickers by Sam Vanbelle

May 27, 2024 | News

This spring we embarked on a creative journey with the Belgian illustrator, designer and teacher Sam Vanbelle. The end result is a whimsical sticker sheet embodying select parts of the programme and principles of the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux. Take a peek below!

A sticker sheet with six separate stickers, including the likes of high heels, a cat as well as two coffee cups and coffee jug.

The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux stickers designed by Sam Vanbelle.


While we wish to leave room for interpretation, allow us to reveal some of the themes that are included! The sticker sheet, clad in a colour scheme you might have come to recognise, highlights among other things our commitment to create Safer Spaces in our work, both internally and with our audiences and partners.

As for current picks from our programme, you can spot an adaptation of the sculpture Monobloc Moments by Finnish artist Sara Bjarland and shoes reminiscent of the killer heels often worn by Boys Won’t Be Boys creative director Rikkert van Huisstede. It only seemed fitting to also include a nod or two to the 100th anniversary of surrealism in Belgium. Ceci n’est pas un institut !

What else can you spot in the illustration? Perhaps a hot beverage Finns are known to drink in abundance or certain safety gear related to the cycling culture in the Benelux…


Illustrator Sam Vanbelle

An illustrated Sam Vanbelle smiles and holds a coffee cup.

Self portrait by illustrator Sam Vanbelle.


Sam Vanbelle is an editorial and commercial illustrator with a heart for social design, known for translating complex ideas into simple and clever illustrations. As diversity is important to Vanbelle, they show a wide variety of people in their illustrations, including but not limited to people of colour, strong feminine figures, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and persons with disabilities.

Little did we know that Finland had been present in Sam’s life for quite a while already:

I’m an Antwerp based illustrator who starts their days with a coffee, in a carefully selected Moomin cup out of my collection. As a student I spent my pocket money on the beautiful silkscreened books by Napa Books from Helsinki. And I don’t like to do the dishes, except with our Kauniste towels. So, there is a lot of Finnish stuff in our house in Antwerp. This nice collaboration might be an extra push to visit Finland with my girlfriend and our kid.

We wish you wonderful future travels to Finland, Sam! You can count on us for tips on the most exciting cultural events – not to mention the best cinnamon rolls.


Illustrations by Sam Vanbelle

Visit Sam Vanbelle’s website.

Follow Sam Vanbelle on Instagram.

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