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Archives for Belgium

The low countries

Antwerpen, BE (View on map) Another border crossing is on the way. Even though The Netherlands and Belgium may have a lot in common, language and large parts of history included, there are distinct differences between the two countries. Belgians have very little difficulty recognising their neighbours from up north and this is why: Stef… » read more

Posted by Bruno

Joining the Scouts

Finland is one of the few European countries that stick to strict military conscription. Other countries struggle to find alternative constructions to force different layers of society to interact during at least one period in their lives. In Belgium, compulsory military service was abolished in 1994, but they have an interesting alternative to it. On a voluntary basis and without any aggressive undertone to it. Resembling Donald Ducks` cousins as `The Junior Woodchucks`, many Belgians spend at least one year of their life as members of the Scouting.

Posted by Bruno

Career choices

`Man bijt hond` (`Man bites dog`) is a typical Flemish TV program that brings a mixture of social documentaries and `non-news`. It sends out reporters to ordinary people, to see what they eat for dinner, how they spend the day and what kind of, sometimes strange, hobbies they have. It is no surprise that many people in Belgium like to compare what I do to `Man bijt hond`. Enough a reason to ask people a question in the `Man bites dog` style: What did you want to become when you were younger?

Posted by Bruno

Sacrifice Day

Today is just another ordinary day for most Belgians. They may be looking forward to Christmas, but they have nothing to celebrate on this 19th of December. For the Muslim community in Belgium and across the world, today is `Eid al-Adha`: Sacrifice Day.

Posted by Bruno

EU careers

An international environment, with many young people around and plenty of career opportunities ? Brussels sounds like a perfect place for graduates who want to work for anything that`s got to do with Europe. The weather and the dog crap in the street seem to be the only disadvantages of Brussels life.

Posted by Bruno

Strength through unity II

After having provided a certainly oversimplified draft of the issue between the Wallon and Flemish community, I will now describe the different opinions I have collected over the last day. For the sake of completeness, I have collected these opinions in French-speaking Louvain-la-Neuve, Dutch-speaking Leuven and bilingual Brussels.

Posted by Bruno

Strength through unity I

After three days in Wallony (the French-speaking South), I am traveling to Flanders (the Dutch-speaking North) today. From Louvain-la-Neuve to Leuven, two university cities separated by 30 kilometres and 1 language barrier, anchored in the Belgian Constitution. may even transform into a national border if Flemish separatist movements manage to push their independence project through. Before proceeding to the opinions about what is keeping all of Belgian occupied these days, here`s a quick background explanation of the language trouble in Belgium.

Posted by Bruno

Belgian music

Voted `Biggest Belgian ever` by the French-speaking community in 2005, singer Jacques Brel is one of the best examples of the export success of Belgian music. Brel, who died in 1978, was one of the very few Belgians who proved able to be successful in both Flanders and Wallony, recording songs in both Flemish and French. Only a handful of others after him managed to break through the language barrier to become successful in all of Belgium.

Posted by Bruno

Belgians partying

Yesterday`s interviews revealed that Belgians are fond of laughing. It turns out that they are also big fans of partying, especially students. Their `party season` starts at the beginning of the academic year and ends.. at the end of it. The time between the end of the party season marks the beginning of a summer season, which is again full of festivals and local activities. A quick round up of the entire Belgian partying year:

Posted by Bruno

I arrived in Belgium today and will start my trip in the French-speaking part (Wallony) of the country. Today in Liège, I will visit Namur and Louvain-la-Neuve before entering Dutch speaking territory (Flanders). Today, I am asking the Belgians in Liège about national pride. Most frequent answer.. a big sigh. Some even start by listing things they are not proud of.

Posted by Bruno