Belgium - education
The education system in Belgium has four stages: pre-school for
2-6-year-olds, primary school for 6-12-year-olds, secondary school for
12-18-year-olds and the higher education of 3-7 years. The Constitution
guarantees free education, free choice of school and the right to education in
morals and religion. Since 1983, Belgium has had 12 years of compulsory
schooling, however, compulsory schooling cannot be imposed beyond the age of
sixteen. Compulsory schooling and minimum requirements for final examinations
are determined centrally, but since 1989 the responsibility for the educations
has been outsourced to the individual language communities: the Dutch, the
French and the German. In each of these, in the 1990's, the language community's
own system, the free, predominantly Catholic system, and the state coexist; all
are supported by the government and schooling is free.
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Belgium has a number of state-funded universities and colleges. There are two
universities (one Dutch and one French) in Brussels; in addition, there is a
Dutch language in Ghent and a French language in Liège. Belgium's oldest
university in Leuven, Catholic and founded in 1425, was divided in 1969 into
two, a Dutch language in Leuven and a French language, Louvain-la-Neuve, in the
Walloon village of Ottignies. In the years 1960-90, the number of students at
higher education institutions increased fivefold, and the proportion of women
increased from 19% to 43%.
ETYMOLOGY: The name Belgium comes from Latin Belgium, after the Gallic nation Belgae.
OFFICIAL NAME: Belgium/Belgium
CAPITAL CITY: Brussels
POPULATION: 11,250,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 30,500 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Flemish, French, German
RELIGION: Catholics 88%, Protestants 1%, other Christians 1%, Muslims 3%, others 7%
CURRENCY CODE: EUR
ENGLISH NAME: Belgium
Flemish 58%, Walloons 31%, Italians 2%, Moroccans 1%, French 1%, Turks 1%,
Dutch 1%, others 5%
GDP PER residents: $ 23381 (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 76 years, women 82 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.945
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 13
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .be
Belgium, a densely populated country in north-western Europe, which, neither
naturally nor culturally, forms any unit; almost none of the state borders
follow differences in natural conditions, language or business conditions.
The fact that the country has nevertheless been a united state since 1830 is
primarily due to the location between the great powers France, Germany and Great
Belgium has been a battleground for many European wars due to its location,
but for the same reason the country has been open to trade and cultural currents
and has played a leading role in the development of European culture and economy
since the Middle Ages. That is why the capital Brussels was designated the
"capital" of the EU.
Belgium - religion
The majority of the population is Roman Catholic. State and church have been
separated since 1831, but the state remunerates parish priests of all
denominations. The dispute between Flemings and Walloons means that there are
two languages of worship and that the Catholic University of Leuven is divided
into two: the old University of Leuven is Flemish, while a new French language
has been built in Louvain-la-Neuve, Wallonia.
Belgium - Constitution
Belgium is a constitutional monarchy organized as a federal state. The
country consists of three regions, Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, as
well as three linguistic-cultural communities, the Flemish, the French
and the German-speaking.
At the federal level, the legislature is exercised jointly by the House of Representatives with
150 members elected directly by proportional representation, by the Senate with
71 members, of which 40 are elected directly, 21 are elected by the
Community parliaments and 10 are elected by these 61, as well as by the King. Since
1893, there has been a duty to votein Belgium. The House of Representatives has
the last word on legislative issues - except in special matters such as
constitutional amendments and changes in the organization of state bodies. In
these cases, as well as by amending the legislation on languages, the members of
the House of Representatives and the Senate are divided into two language
groups, a Dutch and a French, and a majority is required in both groups in both
chambers. The executive power is formal with the king, but is exercised through
the government, which consists of an equal number of Dutch- and French-speaking
At state level, the Constitution defines the geographical area of
competence of the regions and communities in relation to Belgium's four
language areas : the Dutch-speaking, the French-speaking, the
German-speaking and the bilingual Brussels. The regions have their own
government and parliament, which are elected directly by proportional
representation. Their competencies include environment, planning legislation,
public works, finance and employment. In these areas, they can enact laws and
conclude international treaties. They have the right to tax and have their own
The Communities' area of competence is culture, education and
certain social conditions. They have the same rights in these areas as the
regions and also have their own government and parliament, composed of members
of the regional parliaments. However, the parliament of the German-speaking
Community is directly elected.
Belgium - Management
Belgium's constitutional structure is reflected in the administration. There
is thus a bilingual federal administration (Dutch/French), three monolingual
Community administrations and three regional administrations, one of which is
bilingual (Dutch, French and Dutch/French in Brussels). These administrations
operate independently of each other, as the federal administration is not
superior to the others. Belgium is divided into ten provinces administratively
subordinate to the regions, as well as 589 municipalities under the supervision
of the provinces and regions.
Belgium - the political system
Federal structure was implemented in 1993 as an attempt to resolve the
dispute between the country's Dutch-speaking and French-speaking population,
which since approximately 1960 had dominated Belgian politics. Until then, both the
state and political life were highly centralized.
In addition to the language dispute, the political debate was particularly
marked by the dispute over the position of the Catholic Church in society as
well as by disputes over economic policy.
Increasing regionalization in the years after 1970 and competition from the
language parties led to the old parties being split into resp. Dutch- and
French-speaking parties, which have since lined up according to their linguistic
affiliation, ie. either in Flanders or in Wallonia as well as in Brussels.
As a result, Belgium has almost gained two independent party political
In Flanders there is the Christian People's Party CVP, the Socialist Party SP
and the Liberal VLD; in addition, the Flemish national party Volksunie, the
similarly Flemish national and strongly extremist Vlaams Blok and the
environmental party Groen.
In the French-speaking party system, the largest party is the Socialist Party
PS; then comes the Christian-social PSC and the liberal PRL. Among
French-speaking residents of the metropolitan area, the protest party FDF has
been a factor for many years. In addition, there are extremist parties such as
the UN and the environmental party ECOLO.
Belgium - legal system
Belgium's legal system belongs to the French legal family. Napoleon I, as
the country's then ruler, introduced the French law books in the early
1800's. Despite recent amendments introduced by the two countries independently
of each other, the Belgian Civil Code differssay not much from the
French. However, it often happens that Belgian and French courts interpret the
identical text differently. The Belgian courts have, for example, given the rule
in the Civil Code, art. 1134 (3) that agreements must be fulfilled in accordance
with honest conduct, far greater weight than the French. Belgium has also
introduced a number of special laws that modernize civil law. A 1991 law thus
provides consumers with far-reaching protection against misleading advertising
and unfair contract terms. Similar laws were introduced in the early 1990's in a
number of other European countries.
Although Belgium's own case law and legal literature are of the same quality
as the French, Belgian lawyers use the French sources almost as much as their
Belgium - economy
Belgium has a highly developed industrial and service economy with a very
large foreign trade.Since World War II, Belgium has been one of the strongest
advocates of economic cooperation in Europe, and already in 1951 the country
co-founded the European Coal and Steel Community, the forerunner of the EU.
The international orientation is not least due to the fact that Belgium has a
so-called open economy and is very dependent on economic developments in the
outside world. Internationalization affects economic policies to ensure the
country's international competitiveness and reduce public sector debt.
The main trading partners are Germany, the Netherlands and France, which
together accounted for almost half of Belgium's foreign trade in 2005. In
addition, the United Kingdom, other EU countries and the United
States. Denmark's exports to Belgium in 2005 were DKK 8236 million. DKK, and
imports were 16,866 mill. The most important product groups in both directions
were machines and chemicals.
For decades, the country faced two major economic problems: high public debt
and high unemployment. Through persistent and large budget deficits, the country
has built up the largest public debt among EU countries, measured as a
percentage of GDP.
It reached over 120% of GDP in the early 1990's, and with persistent general
government deficits, in 1992 the government adopted a multi-annual convergence
plan tightening fiscal policy. In 2005, government debt was reduced to 94%
Belgium's considerable unemployment was, despite a relatively low employment
rate and extensive state aid to industry in the mid - 1990's of approximately 12%; it
briefly reached around 7% just after the turn of the century, but rose again to
over 8% in 2006.
The unemployment problem is linked to a number of factors: youth unemployment
is high, a large number are long-term unemployed, and a large proportion of the
unemployed are women. Finally, unemployment is regionally unevenly distributed,
much higher in Wallonia than in Flanders. Unemployment is sought to be reduced
through costly action plans for the unemployed, division of labor, job training
courses, early retirement, etc.
The great importance of foreign trade means that Belgium has a strong
interest in currency stability, and the country has therefore participated in
the current international fixed exchange rate systems since World War II. Thus,
Belgium has been a member of the EU countries' monetary union, the European
Monetary System (EMS), since its introduction in 1979.
Belgium is also participating in the cooperation on behalf of Luxembourg, as
the two countries have been in monetary union since 1921 and, among other
things, also keeps common balance of payments and foreign trade statistics.
In 1982, Belgium was granted a devaluation of the franc of 8.5%. Since then,
the franc has in principle been pegged to the strongest EMS
currency. Belgium-Luxembourg has had solid current account surpluses since the
mid-1980's, and the rise in inflation has been brought into line with
inflationary developments in key trading partners.
Denmark's exports to Belgium (incl. Luxembourg) in 2005 were DKK 8236
million. DKK, and imports were 16,866 mill. The most important product groups in
both directions were machines and chemicals.
Belgium - social conditions
Belgium has a comprehensive social security system based on statutory social
security schemes for employees and the self-employed. The insurance funds are
limited by subject, and the premiums are covered by payments from both employers
and employees. In contrast to Denmark, social benefits in Belgium are mainly
financed by labor market contributions, which in 1993 amounted to approximately 15% of
The social insurance covers partial loss of income due to illness,
unemployment, disability, old age and accidents at work, just as child allowance
is paid to children whose parents are associated with the labor market. The
retirement age is 60 years for women and the self-employed and 65 years for male
employees. The size of the old-age pension depends on the total life income. The
unemployment benefit is in proportion to the individual's previous salary and
varies between 40% and 85% of this, depending on dependents' obligations and the
duration of unemployment.
The health insurance pays a share of the cost of consultations and
doctor-prescribed services, including hospital treatment. The share is 75% for
the most common services. The rest is paid by the citizen himself. Only
particularly necessary medicines are covered by the scheme.
In addition to the insurance schemes, there are tax-financed welfare schemes
for the citizens who are not covered by the insurance. The benefits are
generally at a significantly lower level than the insurance benefits, but vary
according to the reason for the need. Disabled people and the elderly receive
higher care benefits than people in so-called unspecified need.
Especially in the area of children's institutions and within the care of
the elderly, a number of social services are provided by private, mainly
Belgium - health conditions
Life expectancy is 79.1 years for women and 72.4 years for men, which is
slightly lower than the EU average. The population is slightly increasing with
13 births and 11 deaths per. 1000 residents per year. Infant mortality is 8.4
per 1000 live births (1993).
Mortality due to cancer, especially lung cancer, is the highest in the EU,
while in the case of cardiovascular disease it is on a par with that of the
Mediterranean countries, ie. lower than in Denmark. The number of deaths caused
by road accidents and suicides is high and well above the EU average. Alcohol
and tobacco consumption is somewhat higher than in Denmark, especially for
men. AIDS appeared early in Belgium. With 14 registered cases per. 100,000
residents, there are now fewer than in Denmark. Over a quarter are estimated
to be heterosexually infected.
Belgium spends 7.9% of the country's GDP on health care (1991), the share is
thus almost 20% higher than in Denmark. With approximately one third of the funds go
to the hospital system, less than in almost all other western European
countries. The public sector's share of health care expenditure is 70%, and
public health insurance is often supplemented by private insurance. The country
has more active doctors (approximately 3.3 per 1000 residents) than most other
Western European countries.
The three Belgian regions have extensive autonomy, also in terms of the
organization of health care.
Belgium - military
The peacekeeping force of the armed forces is (2006) 36,900. On 2 January
2002, the defenses were merged. The land forces COMOPSLAND (Landcomponent/Composante
Terre) are 24,800, with two mixed brigades, an airborne brigade and a
hunter battalion. The equipment of the land forces is soon out of date. Naval
forces COMOPSNAV (Marine Component/Belgian Navy)
is at 2450. Flight Turks COMOPSAIR (Luchtcomponent/COMPOSANTE
Air) in 6350 is reasonably modern equipped. 1500 solves joint military
tasks, and the military medical service COMOPSMED(Medische
Component/Composante Médicale) is at 1800. The reserve forces
are at 18,650, of which 8500 to the land forces and 2200 to territorial support
Belgium was one of the founding members of NATO in 1949.
Belgium - Libraries and archives
National Library of Belgium, Bibliothèque royale Albert Ier/
Koninklijke Bibliotheek Albert I in Brussels, became grdl. 1837; it
contains valuable manuscripts from the Burgundian collections. In 1978, by
law, all municipalities were required to operate a public library, supplemented
by central funds; since 1921, the libraries of the local communities had been
run by church, political and other organizations. By 1990, the laws had become
widespread, especially in many Flemish municipalities. Among the municipal
libraries, the city library in Antwerp occupies a special position with its rich
The State's main archive is the National Archives in Brussels, Archives
générales du royaume/Algemeen Rijksarchief, where the archives
concerning the history of the province of Brabant go back to the High Middle
Ages. In the provinces there are a number of state archives in addition to local
city archives and clerical archives.
Belgium - mass media
Belgium has a diverse range of media and a long press history. One of the
first newspapers in Europe was published in the early 1600's. in Antwerp. As a
consequence of the country's linguistic division, the media primarily addresses
their respective language groups.
De approximately 30 dailies - most of which are published in French, one in German and
the rest in Dutch - have a total circulation of 1.4 million. (2005). In
Flanders, the largest newspapers are Het Laatste Nieuws (Grdl. 1888)
and Het Nieuwsblaad (Grdl. 1923. The leading newspaper in Wallonia,
both in terms of circulation and influence, is Le Soir (grdl. (1887),
which is also best known internationally. The free newspaper Metro is also
published in Belgium in both Dutch and French. News coverage generally has a
local and political character, although dailies are increasingly detached from
political parties.Ownership is highly concentrated, large companies own more
In addition to the national news agency Belga, there are special
agencies affiliated with the EU, first and foremost Agence Europe. In
addition, a number of news agencies from the rest of the world have established
themselves in Brussels with their own EU correspondents.
The Dutch state radio and television station Vlaamse Radio- en
Televisieomroep (VTR), like the state-owned Walloon Radio-Télévision Belge de la
Commonauté Française (RTBF), has five radio and three television stations. The
state channels face stiff competition from a number of private commercial
channels, primarily VTM and VT4 in Flanders and RTL TV1 in Wallonia. The state
television monopoly ended in 1987. Belgium has Europe's largest distribution of
cable television; 95% of all households are connected.
Belgium - architecture
The architecture before the independence of Belgium in 1830 is treated
under Flemish art.
Belgian architecture was in the early 1800's. under the influence of French
neoclassicism, but around 1830 a historicist current broke through. For
religious buildings, a suitable expression was found in the Romanesque and
Gothic idioms, while for public buildings, Renaissance or Baroque was preferred.
This eclectic historicism, represented by Joseph Poelaert's Palace of
Justice in Brussels (1866-83), was predominant until the 1890's. Here, with the
art nouveau movement, a change took place in architecture, which placed Belgium
and especially Brussels as one of the leading architectural centers in
Europe. The boom was largely due to quite a few architects, first and
foremost Victor Horta, but also Paul Hankar and Henry van de Velde. Alongside
the art nouveau movement, however, building continued in the historicizing
From the 1920's, Belgian architects followed the two dominant currents of the
time: the Art Deco movement gained ground especially in the cities of Ghent
and Charleroi with Albert van Huffel, for example, and functionalism took root
in Brussels, where the Institut des arts décoratifs was established in
the Bauhaus school. 1926 with Henry van de Velde as leader. An advocate of
functionalism was also Victor Bourgeois.
The years after World War II were marked by Europe's general orientation
towards American modernism, which became prevalent in both architecture and
urban planning. And just like in the rest of the Western world, a reaction to
modernism arose in the 1970's. In Belgium, it was mainly performed by the Atelier
de recherche et d'action urbaines and by the architect Lucien Kroll in Brussels,
whereby the postmodern ideology had also taken hold in Belgium.
Belgium - handicrafts
Basically, handicrafts have followed the same trends as architecture. A
number of prominent artists made the period around 1900 one of the richest in
Belgian art history.
Victor Horta, Henry van de Velde and Paul Hankar created a wide range of
interiors, furnishings and craftsmanship with the characteristic flowing and
curved line games of the Art Nouveau style, which in Belgium often acquired a
more abstract and stronger ornamental character.
In the field of utility graphics, Henry van de Velde influenced the design of
posters and typography; the textile art, which has centuries-old traditions in
the area, was expressed in blankets. In addition to French-inspired works,
simple, form-fitting furniture was created that points to the Belgian Art
Belgium - visual art
The visual art before the independence of Belgium in 1830 is dealt with in
the article Flemish art.
In the first half of the 19th century, visual art in Brussels was dominated
by the neoclassical tradition, which had received new impulses from the exiled
French painter JL David, who moved here in 1816.
A large part of the period's French-oriented artists, FJ Navez,
perpetuated the principles of David well into the twentieth century. At the same
time, a national romantic painting flourished in Antwerp, where Gustave Wappers
(1803-74) from 1839 led the art academy, which became the center of a
Landscape painting followed the classical tradition. Gilles François Closson
(1796-1842), however, added a romantic-realistic spirit before French
naturalistic tendencies broke through around 1850. Charles de Groux
(1825-70), Constantin Meunier and other like-minded people formed the
association La Société libre des beaux in 1866. -arts, the stronghold of Belgian
realism. At the same time, Alfred Stevens made a career in Paris with his often
mundane portrayals of women.
Antoine Wiertz was Belgium's most original painter around the middle of the
19th century. His gloomy version of Romanticism was to have a major impact on
symbolism in Belgium. This also applies to Félicien Rops. The connection to
contemporary French art was strengthened by its formation in 1884 by the artist
group Les Vingt, which spoke Émile Claus (1849-1924), Theo van
Rysselberghe and Fernand Khnopff as well as James Ensor, who emerges as the
most important Belgian artist of the turn of the century. His paintings show
symbolist features, but at the same time anticipate expressionism.
The end of the 19th century was dominated by symbolism - which the pastel
painter and illustrator Léon Spillaert (1881-1946) led well into the 20th
century - around the association La Libre Esthétique with Fernand Khnopff,
Jean Delville (1867-1953) and Félicien Rops, William Degouve de Nuncques
(1867-1935), the former naturalist Léon Frédéric (1856-1940) and numerous
The sculptor and illustrator George Minne also originally belonged to the
symbolist milieu, while Henri Evenepoel kept close to the development of French
art from post-impressionism to fauvism.
The Fauvist painter Rik Wouters brought the latest European trends of the
20th century to Belgium, followed by his friend Edgar Tytgat, who together with
the expressionist-oriented Frans Masereel emerged as the most important graphic
artists of the period.
In the early 1920's, "Flemish expressionism" asserted itself with artists such
as Constant Permeke, Gustaaf de Smet and Frits van den Berghe, while Victor
Servranckx (1897-1965) like George Vantongerloo, who was associated with the
Dutch De Stijl - group, was one of the pioneers of abstract art.
Surrealism kept its entrance into Belgian visual art approximately 1925 with EIT
Mesens and René Magritte, while Paul Delvaux and Marcel Mariën (1920-94) joined
the group during the 1930's.
The period after 1945 was dominated by the Cobra group, represented by Pierre
Alechinsky, Christian Dotremont and Pol Bury, while the abstract art, both
lyrically and geometrically, once again played a role in Belgian art.
Since the advent of surrealism, Belgian visual art and poetry have been
closely linked. This is true of many of the personalities who have dominated the
country's art scene since the 1960's and who do not fit into any categories:
The poet Marcel Broodthaers, who in 1963 decided to become a visual
artist, Panamarenko, who has been building poetic and utopian flying vessels
since 1967, or Thierry de Cordier (b. 1954), who in 1988 decided never to leave
his garden house again.
The younger Belgian art, which ranges from Patrick van Caeckenbergh's (b.
1960) wildly imaginative installations, over Didier Vermeiren's (b. 1951) and
Jan Vercruysse's (b. 1948) studies of the sculpture's possible form and content
to Luc Tuymans' (b. 1958) sublime paintings, today appears as one of the most
original in Europe.
Belgium - comics
Belgium has made a number of major contributions to the art of comics,
particularly within the tradition known as the Belgian-French. It ranges from a
very inviting, popular line to serious adult series and, precisely because of
its versatility, has helped to promote the recognition of the art of comics in
the latter half of the 1900's. The best known Belgian series is Tintin by
Hergé (Georges Remi); the active reporter was first seen in 1929 in the
Catholic, Pedagogical Children's Supplement to the daily newspaper Le vingtième
siècle. In Tintin, Hergé perfected the so-called pure line (ligne claire),
which has since been used by many European cartoonists. Another typical Belgian
style is visually dynamic, comic line that André Franquin from 1946 developed in
its edition of Splint & Co. (Spirou). Franquin has countless heirs,
many of whom have appeared in the weekly magazine Spirou, named after the
series. Spirou has also housed other Belgian-French classics, including Lucky
Luke and the Smurfs. After World War II, the Belgians were also
pioneers in publishing series in album form. This form later spread to the rest
of Europe, where in the 1970's it helped to significantly change the comics
market, so that newspapers and magazines were no longer the series' primary
Belgium - theater
The theater of Belgium in the northern part of the country has been
characterized by Dutch theater tradition. Het Vlaamsch Volkstooneel (Flemish
Folketeater), which was founded in 1920 by Jan-Oskar de Gruyter (1885-1929), and
which brought high-quality performances throughout the Flemish area, was of
great importance. Michel de Ghelderodes drama. The French-influenced theater
life got Brussels as its traditional headquarters, from the 1700's. concentrated
around the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie, which most frequently performed operas,
and the Théâtre royal du Parc, the actual speech stage. In Brussels, the Théâtre
national de Belgique (Belgian National Theater) was established in 1945; a
section of it was to cover the theatrical life of the northern part of the
country under the name Nationaal Tooneel. Internationally, Belgian theater is
best known for its drama, for example by the symbolist MauriceMaeterlinck.
Belgium - dance
Belgium's first real ballet company was established at the Théâtre royal de
la Monnaie in 1819. The company has been predominantly led by foreign ballet
masters, for example in the 1800's. by the Frenchman JA Petipa and his son L.
Petipa, respectively. father and brother of choreographer Marius Petipa. Another
Frenchman, the choreographer Maurice Béjart, took over the management of the
ballet in 1959 and gave it international fame and partly independent status from
1960 under the name Ballet du XXe Siècle. However, the company was dissolved
when Béjart resigned in 1987. The Brussels Opera House has since been home to
smaller companies, in 1988-91 for the American Mark Morris and his Dance
Group and from 1992 for Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and her Rosas.
In the years after World War II, several provincial Belgian cities have had
their own ballet companies, such as the Ballet royal de Wallonie in
Charleroi in 1966 and the Koninklijk Ballet van Vlaanderen in Antwerp
in 1969. These classical companies have been influenced by foreign
choreographers, while Béjart in 1970 with Mudra (a school and a
workshop for dance theater) set in motion a development which in the 1980's and
1990's has borne fruit with modern Belgian choreographers such as Anne Teresa de
Keersmaeker, performance artist Jan Fabre and Wim Vandekeybus and his Ultima
Vez as well as Alain Platel and his Flemish Les Ballet C. de la B. Not
least Platel's experiments with multicultural elements in dance have provided
inspiration for 21st century choreographers such as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the
leader of the hip-hop company Hush Hush Hush, Abdelaziz Sarrokh.
Belgium - music
The Belgian area has a rich musical cultural tradition with flourishing
periods in vocal polyphony in the 1400's and 1500's. and instrument construction
in the 1600's and 1700's. Shortly after the formation of the Belgian state in
1830, conservatories were established, laying the foundations for a national
musical life. The Conservatory of Brussels was headed in 1833-71 by the
musicologist F.-J. Fétis.
The country is known for its excellent violin tradition with names such
as Henri Vieuxtemps, Charles-Auguste de Bériot and E. Ysaÿe, all of whom worked
both as performers and as composers. Following the French model, a national
opera developed, but from around 1870 the influence of Richard Wagner prevailed
(E. Mathieu, J. Blockx, Léon du Blois). Choral music occupied an important place
in the 1800's. (cantatas and oratorios by, among others, P. Benoit, E. Tinel, J.
The country's most important musician in the second half of the century was
the organist and composer César Franck, who, however, mainly worked in Paris
(organ and chamber music, a single symphony). Leading composers around 1900
include P. Gilson, J. Jongen and F. Alpaerts, all of whom were influenced by
Wagner and Richard Strauss.
Musical modernism was introduced through P. Collaers Pro Arte concerts
(1921-33) with works by Schönberg, Alban Berg, Webern and Milhaud. In 1925,
the group Synthetists was formed, speaking names such as M. Poot and
G. Brenta. This established a tradition of neo-romantic modernism. J. Absil
developed a polytonal style, while P. Froidebise's interest in Webern's tonal
language, in serialism, and in aleatoricism. H. Pousseur, part of the European
avant-garde, founded in 1958 the first Belgian electronic music studio, APELAC,
which in 1970 was incorporated into the Center de recherches musicales de
Wallonie. A similar Flemish institution is found in Ghent with the
Institute of Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music, founded in 1962 by Louis de
Meester. The non-avant-garde composers include V. Legley, W. Kersters and P.
The folk song of Flanders is characterized by alternating time
signatures, modal or pentatonic tonality and a modest ambition, while ornaments
and syncopes are rare. The Walloon folk song is predominantly French in style
and content. The traditional folk musical instruments include violin, turntable,
bagpipe, guitar, drum and rattle. In the 1900's. the accordion has been given a
Belgium - film
Since the introduction of sound film in 1930, Belgian film has been divided
into two wings, a Dutch and a French. French-speaking talents have for the most
part been brought to France, while the market for Dutch films has been limited
to Belgium and the Netherlands. Economically, they are primarily based on
co-production agreements and, since the mid-1960's, state aid. Belgium has always
had a large and fruitful production of documentaries, represented not least by
the director Henri Storck (1907-1999). Among the creators of fiction films, some
have managed to stand out internationally, first and foremost the very
style-conscious André Delvaux (1926-2002), who in 1963 was appointed head of the
prestigious film school L'Institut national supérieur des arts du spectacle,
and the feminist experimenterChantal Akerman and Marion Hänsel (1949-2020),
whose film also depicts a feminine universe. In recent years, however, Belgian
film has been primarily known to the magical realist Alain Berliner (b. 1963) as
well as the brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, whose socially conscious
depictions of the outcasts of society have brought them numerous film
awards. Finally, Belgium is known for its animated films, the film
adaptations of the national cartoon heroes Asterix, Tintin and Lucky
Belgium - beer
Belgium has the world's most advanced beer culture. It's about. 140 breweries
in the country, and these vary in size from extensive industrial complexes to
farm breweries, and at least 40 different types of beer are produced. The
under-fermented stock types make up approximately 75% of consumption. The traditional
type of pilsner, produced by the breweries Stella Artois in Leuven and Jupiler
in Liège, is of a high international standard and is sold steadily, but since
the 1990's the specially brewed beer (the remaining 25%) has gained a larger and
larger market share and becomes exported in large quantity.
The specially brewed ones are usually over-fermented, and among the
well-known brands are: Hoegaarden (witbier) and Duvel (a
golden ale). Particularly popular is the specialty beer from the six Belgian
Trappist monasteries: Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Sint-Sixtus
(Westvleteren). In these monasteries, the beer is still brewed on site. A
distinction is thus made between monastery ales (eg Leffe and St.
Bernardus), which are made under license, and genuine Trappist ales, which
are available in several variations. A special type of beer is lambic,
which is brewed on wheat and has spontaneous yeast added.