The Flemish are falling out of the love with clubbing, according to the findings of a report by a local daily newspaper. There are only 122 nightclubs and 140 dance caf├ęs in the Flanders region of Belgium, compared with a combined figure of almost 400 back in year 2000

"Running a night club or discotheque is very expensive. It's a big success if you reach break even," says Rudy Victor Ackaert of Culture Club in Ghent. Club owners say they are faced with rising costs coupled with a declining club culture amongst the younger generation. Ackaert said Culture Club only survived thanks to sponsorship, resident DJs on Saturdays and company parties.

Ackaert blamed shifts in spending patterns of the young as the one of the main causes for the slump. "Teenagers spend more money on mobile phones, trips or their PlayStation nowadays. Concerts are also gaining ground," he said, saying that instead of going out, they would rather stay home with friends and buy a crate of beer.

Nightclubs also have an image problem. "Society associates discos with alcohol, drugs and fatal traffic accidents during the weekend," said Luc De Bauw of the Flemish hospitality industry. He added that private nightclubs - with paid-up members - did not have such a negative image.