Education in Belgium

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.

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


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%

COIN: Euro




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)




Belgium is 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 Britain.

  • Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as BE which stands for Belgium.

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. Check youremailverifier for Belgium social condition facts.

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 ministers.

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 budget.

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 systems:

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 own.

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% of GDP.

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 GDP.

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 voluntary organizations.

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 units.

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 old collections.

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 media.

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 styles.

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 Deco style.

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 Rubens-oriented art.

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 foreign artists.

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 channels.

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. Ryelandt).

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. Cabus.

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 prominent place.

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 Luke.

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.

Belgium Education

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