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"I never knew Brussels had a seaside." [...]

Related: Antwerp - Antwerp fashion - Belgian art - Belgian cinema - Belgian erotica - Belgian music - Louis Paul Boon - Brussels - Willem Elsschot - Flanders - Gent - Man Bites Dog (film) (1992) - Noel Godin - HUMO - Nederlands - Jean Ray


Belgium is one of the smallest countries in Europe. It lies on the protestant-catholic border between northern and southern Europe. In the north, people speak Dutch (Nederlands), in the south French (Français). Big companies like to test their brands here, because of these two uniquely different cultures in one small country. The largest city lies in the centre of Belgium, Brussels, people speak Dutch (Nederlands) and French. The second city is Antwerp, where I live. For the 1958 Brussels World Fair Belgium replicated a giant iron atom, picture to your right. Also check Gent.

Belgian culture

A discussion of Belgian culture requires discussing both those aspects of cultural life shared by 'all' or most of the Belgians, regardless of what language they speak, and also, the differences between the main cultural communities, the Flemings and the French-speakers from Brussels and Wallonia.

Most Belgians tend to view their culture as an integral part of European culture; nevertheless, both main communities tend to make their thousands of individual and collective cultural choices mainly from within their own community, and then, when going beyond, Flemings draw intensively from both the Anglo-Saxon culture (which dominates sciences, professional life and most news media) and French and other Latin cultures, whereas French-speakers focus on cultural life in Paris and elsewhere in the French-speaking world (la Francité), and less outside. A truly scientific discussion would also include discussion of the different cultures of Belgian ethnic minorities such as the Jews who have formed a remarkable component of Flemish culture - in particular that of Antwerp for over five hundred years. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Belgium [Nov 2005]

Crossroads of Europe

Geographically and culturally, Belgium is at the crossroads of Europe, and during the past 2,000 years has witnessed a constant ebb and flow of different races and cultures. Consequently, Belgium is one of Europe's true melting pots with Celtic, Roman, Germanic, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Austrian cultures having made an imprint. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgium

Antwerpen [...]

One of the largest cities in Belgium. Although about a 100 kilometres from the coast, Antwerp is one of the largest seaports in the world. It is the city where I have lived since 1983.

The Belgian Army

"The Belgian army," says Fox News Channel’s John Gibson, "is well known to be too old and too fat to fight anything. It has no interest in going off to war. It employs so many people in do-nothing jobs that it can’t afford any real military equipment anyway."

"So if you were wondering why these guys won’t fight or even assume a threatening posture," Gibson continues, "it’s because they’re too old and fat from feeding at the public trough…and have trouble enough fighting bad breath, never mind a real enemy soldier." --John Gibson; Feb 14 2003

Antwerp fashion

After Antwerp fashion designers had scored a number of successses in the national Gouden Spoel (Golden Spool) competition, the Antwerp fashion world really took off in march 1988. That was the year six young designers, namely Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, Dirk van Saene and Marina Yee took part in the British Designer Show in London. To everyone's surprise, they were the indisputable revelation of this international fashion trade fair and they soon became known as the 'Antwerp Six'. And they created a furore. [...]

Belgian Fantastique

Belgium is renowned in the fantastique with authors like Georges Eekhoud, Franz Hellens, Thomas Owen, Jean Ray, Marcel Thiry and Jacques Sternberg. --translated from http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgique [Aug 2005]

History of Belgium

  • Belgium History Timeline

    Crass and Bourgeois

    Relations between France and Belgium have always been a curious mixture not so much of love and hate as of benign neglect and disdain.

    If Brussels now is to many in France the symbol of all that is wrong about Europe, it was in the mid-19th century the symbol of all that was crass and bourgeois about wealth and commerce and colonialism. And yet in the second half of the century a kind of golden age brought together Belgian and French artists whose tragedies and whose genius traveled back and forth between the artistic capital of Europe and its provincial cousin. -- Katherine Knorr [...]

    Belgium divides Europe

    The Low Countries, which are today called Belgium and the Netherlands, had long been under the rule of the Spanish Habsburgs. In 1517 Luther's reforms will split the Low Countries. In the south, Belgium, Catholicism remains strong, while in the provinces of the north, the Netherlands, Protestant reforms are adopted and the Dutch Calvinists rebel against the Catholic Habsburg rule.

    Though the Catholic Holy Roman Empire does not end until 1806, the German states are irrevocably separated from the influence of Rome during the age of the Reformation.

    20th century Europe bears the imprint of Reformation. Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the south of Germany, Austria, and Hungary, Poland, and parts of the Balkans in eastern Europe, have continued to be predominantly Catholic. The rest, Scandinavia, England Scotland, Switzerland, the north and east of Germany, and parts of eastern Europe have largely remained Protestant.

    Underground Research Center

    The Belgian Underground Research Centre has as its main goal to unearth previously obscured Belgian underground culture (high and low) that is of such a quality that it is interesting to the rest of the world. You can read more in Dutch on the following page: URC [Dutch Only]

    Kamagurka, Herr Seele

    Luc Zeebroek (alias Kamagurka) has been publishing his comic strips and editorial cartoons in newspapers and magazines (humo) for more than 20 years. In them, the mundane is put under a magnifying glass and hilarity is induced through the senselessness of everyday reality. He created Cowboy Henk together with Herr Seele. [...]


    1. Lonely Planet Belgium & Luxembourg - Leanne Logan [Amazon.com]
      With Lonely Planet’s new "Belgium & Luxembourg" in hand, you will wind your way to Brussels Grand Place, discover the country’s finest baroque guild halls, popular pavement cafes and intimate cellar restaurants and admire the zany, intellectual comic-strip-art displayed with Art Nouveau at the Centre Belge de la Bande. Tour picturesque Bruges, one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities, glimpsing the famous relic of Christ’s blood, or bring the house down at the ‘party city’ port of Antwerp where one can find eclectic restaurants alongside a red-light district, right-wing politics next to cutting edge fashion, and baroque art and architecture flanking trendy nightclubs.

    2. Political History of Belgium from 1830 Onwards - Els Witte, Jan Craeybeckx, Alain Meynen [Amazon.com]
      "The new political history of Belgium provides the reader with insights into the management of the economic recession of the 1980s, the constitutional reforms of 1988 and 1992-93, into recent developments among political parties and pressure groups and the problems facing them today, and into the changing relations between parliament, the government and the titular head of state. --amazon.com "

    3. Frommer's Brussels, Bruges & Antwerp - George McDonald [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      About the Author
      George McDonald has lived and worked in both Amsterdam and Brussels as deputy editor of the KLM in-flight magazine and as editor-in-chief of the Sabena in-flight magazine. Now a freelance journalist and travel writer, he has written extensively on both the Netherlands and Belgium for magazines and guidebooks. He’s the author of Frommer’s Amsterdam and Frommer’s Belgium, Holland & Luxembourg, and a coauthor of Frommer’s Europe. --via Amazon.com

    Top 10 Brussels & Antwerp Bruges, Ghent (2004) - DK Publishing

    Top 10 Brussels & Antwerp Bruges, Ghent (2004) - DK Publishing [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    From the top 10 Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels to the top 10 chocolate shops, Belgian beers and museums - this guide is packed with useful tips to make the most of your time.

    See also: Antwerp - Ghent - Brussels - Belgium - tourism

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