Culture Belgium

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Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Belgium

Belgium : Discover the country's culture

Read

Tom Lanoye
Dimitri Verhulst
Guido Gezelle
Paul van Ostaijen

Novels, accounts, short stories

The works of Georges Simenon, Marguerite Yourcenar and Amélie Nothomb.

Guides

Belgium and Luxembourg Travel Guide, Lonely Planet 2010


Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp & Ghent Encounter Guide, Lonely Planet 2010 (new edition due Dec 2012)

Music


The songs of Jacques Brel.

Belgium : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

843 - Separation of France and Lotharingie.
14th Century - The Netherlands, which are attached to Belgium, came under the influence of the Burgundians, and then the Habsburgs.
1555 - Reign of Philip II of Spain.
1579 - Independence of the United Provinces of the North, those in the South remaining Spanish.
1795 - Occupation by France.
1830 - Secession of the Belgian provinces and independence.
1831 - Léopold I becomes King.
1865 - Leopold II succeeds him.
1908 - the Congo is passed into Belgian rule.
1909 - Reign of Albert I.
1914-18 - Germany invades. The Belgian army manage to hold a position behind the Yser River until 1918. 1934 - Reign of Leopold III, who abdicated 17 years later in favour of Baudouin I.
1977 - Belgium is split into three regions: Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.
1991 - Establishment of Dehaene government.
1993 - Belgium becomes a federal state, governing Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.
1993 - Death of Baudouin I. His brother succeeds him under the name of Albert II.
1996 - Gathering in Brussels of more than 300,000 people for a demonstration of support for children who have been victims of paedophile networks.
1999 - Guy Verhofstadt is elected Prime Minister.
2002 - The Euro takes the place of the Belgian Franc
2005 - Belgium celebrated its 175th anniversary.
2010 - Government collapses, triggering early parliamentary elections
2011 - After 541 days without government, Elio di Rupo is elected Prime Minister at the head of a coalition of six parties.

Belgium : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events

Events

1st January
New Year's Day.
February
Shrove Tuesday: carnival in Binche (Hainaut), Eupen and Malmédy (Liège).
March
Ars Musica Festival. Concerts, workshops and meetings on contemporary music.
Beginning March
Dead Rat Ball in Ostend.
March-April
Easter.
1st May
Labour Day.
May
Ascension. Procession of Saint-Sang, in Bruges.
End May
Pentecost.
Brussels Jazz Marathon. Street Festival.
May to November
Flanders Festival.
End June-beginning July
Ommegang Procession in Bruxelles. Traditional Procession.
July
Ghent Celebrations.
July-August
Blankenberge festival of sand sculptures.
From mid-July to mid-September
Zeebruges festival of sand sculptures.
Brussels summer festival, including the Queen Elizabeth race.
21 July
Bank Holiday.
August
Flower carpets on the Main Square in Brussels (every other year, the next in 2008).
15 August
Assumption. Mad celebrations in Liège.
Beginning September
Celebration of mussels at Sainte-Catherine's Square in Brussels.
3rd week-end in September
Wallonia celebrations, in Namur.
Marrow festival in Antoing.
1st November
All Saints' Day.
From end November to mid-January
Bruges festival of snow and ice sculptures.
December
Christmas markets in Brussels, Bruges, Anvers, Liège, and in the eastern cantons.
25 December
Christmas.

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