You will hardly believe your eyes when visiting Yvette Dardenne at 8 Rue du Condroz in rural Grand-Hallet, near Hannut. It all started with a tin box from Côte d’Or from the 1950s, which she received from an aunt in 1988. Meanwhile, her collection is up to almost 60,000.
Indeed, tin’s the thing at Yvette’s home. Tins of all sorts of colours, formats and from a variety of different brands. Biscuits, sweets, chocolate boxes — you name it. Featuring the royal family, Father Christmas, Disney figures. They are piled up all over the place: on the floor, on shelves and stairs, in the hall, in the living room and the dining room. ‘Our diet is high in iron,’ she laughs. Over the years she has even needed to acquire some additional room to fit them all in. The extra mill space in question is used solely for metal tins.
‘However, when my collection of wicker baskets (10,000 items) began to expand in the mill’s attic, then my husband felt it was time to get involved,’ giggles Yvette, like a little girl caught with her finger in the jam pot. Her oldest example comes from England and dates back to 1868. The name Huntley & Palmers, the famous British biscuit manufacturer, is printed on it. This was also the very first tin to be printed directly. Apparently, this is when the right method was discovered, as metal does not absorb ink in the same way as tissue paper.
People come from far and wide to visit Yvette’s museum. You can go and take a look for yourself, as long as you make an appointment first.