What is culture ? Cultureis the way of life of a group of people.
BASIC Elements of a country’s Culture based on:• COMMUNITIES• ECONOMY• FESTIVALS• REGION• RELIGION• LANGUAGE• GOVERNMENT• ETHNICITY• ARTS• FOOD
WELCOME TO BELGIUM
Identification. Gallia Belgica was the Romans name for the northern part of Gaul, the northern limit of their empire. In early modern times, the name was used as an erudite synonym for the Low Countries. After the 1830 revolution and the establishment of an independent kingdom, Belgium became the official name of the country.
Location and Geography Location and Geography. The country is located at the western end of the northern European plain, covering an area of 11,780 square miles (30,510 square kilometers); the neighboring states are France, Luxembourg, Germany, and the Netherlands. The two main rivers are the Schelde and the Meuse, both of which begin in France and flow toward the Netherlands.
Location and GeographyThe land rises progressively toward thesouth. Flanders (northern part of thecountry) is less hilly than Wallonia(southern part). The German-speakingpopulation lives at the borders withGermany and Luxembourg. Discoveriesof coal in the hills of northern Wallonia ledto the early industrialization of the area. Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
three equal vertical bands of black (hoistside), yellow, and red; the design was basedon the flag of FranceYellow - a symbol of generosityRed - hardiness, bravery, strength &valourBlack - Determination
BRUSSELS THE CAPITAL Antwerp City Hall in the center of Grote Market
Independence: 4 October 1830 (a provisional government declares independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King Leopold I ascends to the throne)The independence of Belgium received the approval of the Europeanpowers at the London Conference of 1830-31. The Independence Day ofBelgium commemorates the formal establishment of the independentkingdom and the crowning of Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg. Prince Leopold Iof Saxe-Coburg was appointed king of the Belgians on his willingness tosupport the constitution drawn up by the National Congress.
Executive branch:chief of state: King ALBERT II (since 9 August 1993);Heir Apparent Prince PHILIPPE, son of the monarchhead of government: Prime Minister GuyVERHOFSTADT (since 13 July 1999)cabinet: Council of Ministers formally appointed by themonarchelections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; followinglegislative elections, the leader of the majority party orthe leader of the majority coalition is usually appointedprime minister by the monarch and then approved byparliament
Belgium Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EUs headquarters, and those of several other major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups, the Dutch speakers, mostly Flemish, and the French speakers, mostly Walloons, plus a small group of German-speakers.
Belgium Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government. The name Belgium is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northern most part of Gaul that, before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples.
Population The population of Belgium is 10,403,951 as of July 2008. The capital city Brussels contains 1,019,022 people.
Belgiumclasses as well as along the linguistic border and aroundBrussels. The presence of important Francophone minorities insome parts of Flanders has been the source of political conflictsand led in the 1980s to the resignation of several centralgovernments.
HistoryBelgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and wasoccupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. It has prospered inthe past half century as a modern, technologically advanced Europeanstate and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons ofthe south have led in recent years to constitutional amendmentsgranting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.
History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation. Although the name of the modern state refers to the original Celtic inhabitants after the Roman conquest in 44 B.C.E. , the population was Romanized and adopted the Latin language. Latin gave rise to a series of dialects including, in the southern part of the country, the Walloon dialects. The name "Walloon" derives from a Germanic word meaning "foreign," and refers to the Roman Empire.Flemish culture came to northern Belgium as a consequence of the Germanic invasions of the fourthcentury. In the central and southern regions, the Germanic invaders formed small kingdoms and adoptedtheir subjects culture.Until the eighth century, conquests and divisions modified the borders of these kingdoms. The last divisiontook place at the treaty of Verdun (843) between the grandsons of Charlemagne, who divided the HolyRoman Empire into three parts, of which the central part, Lotharingia, encompassed the territories betweenthe Netherlands and Italy, including present-day Belgium. However, Lotharingia was absorbed into theGerman Empire, and the idea of a state between France and the German Empire did not resurface until thefourteenth century. The Burgundian princes inherited, conquered, bought, or received in dowry most of thefiefs constituting the Netherlands, Belgium, and northern and eastern France. They established their court inBrussels and brought the French language to their states. The possessions of the dukes of Burgundy wereinherited by the Habsburg dynasty in 1477.In the middle of the sixteenth century, a religious civil war led to the division of the Low Countries into twoparts. The north became the Netherlands, a Dutch-speaking, Protestant state. The south remained Catholicand was associated with the Habsburg dynasty until the French conquest in 1794. Under the Habsburgrulers, the use of Flemish progressively declined, but the position of French was reinforced during theFrench administration (1794–1814).
CULTURAL HERITAGEBelgiums cultural heritage includes thepaintings of Pieter Breugel the Elder (c.1515 or 1530–69), Jan van Eyck (1395–1441), and Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), and the music compositions ofOrlando di Lasso (1532–94) and CésarFranck (1822–90). Modern Belgians writersinclude the Nobel Prize-winning dramatistMaurice Maeterlinck (1862–1949), and thepopular detective novelist Georges Simenon(1903–89), who was born in Liège.Prominent modern painters includeexpressionist James Ensor (1860–1949)and surrealist René Magritte (1898–1967).
Belgian Family Values. Family plays a central role in mostBelgians lives.. The obligation to the family is a personsfirst priority.. Many people remain in the town in whichthey were raised, which creates closeextended families. Appearances Matter. Appearances are important to Belgians.. They can often be seen washing the pavement or steps in front of theirhouse or even sweeping the street.. Cleanliness is a matter of national pride.. Belgians take great pride in their houses. To have overgrown hedgesor untidy gardens would disgrace the family and insult their neighbours.. Belgians take pride in their personal appearance too. They dress welland are concerned with the impression they make on others.
Equalities in Belgian Society. Belgium is on the whole an egalitariansociety.. Women are not expected to change theirname when they marry.. There are laws governing paternity aswell as maternity leaves and lawsforbidding sexual harassment in theworkplace
Language Linguistic Affiliation. The main languages are Dutch and French; they are also the joint official languages. Although German is also recognized as the third national language, it is not used frequently in the national administration. French was introduced as the language of the political elite by feudal lords of French origin, particularly the dukes of Burgundy, who choose Brussels as their main city of residence. In the eighteenth century, French was widely adopted by the bourgeoisie, and in 1830, it was adopted as the official language. Through education and social promotion, French replaced the local dialects in Wallonia and Brussels, but it was not as widely adopted in Flanders. In Wallonia, a series of Romance dialects rather than a single language were widely spoken but never had official status. Brussels was originally a Flemish city, but the influence of French has always been strongest here, and only a tenth of the population speak Dutch.The language spoken in Flanders is Dutch, which is commonly called Flemish. TheTaalunie, an official institution, guarantees the international unity of the Dutchlanguage. There is a great diversity of Flemish dialects which differ in vocabularyand pronunciation. French is still spoken in Flanders by some people in the upperand upper middle
Language French, Dutch, and German are the official languages. There are hundreds of different dialects coming from French and Dutch.
FOLKLOREMany of Belgiums colorful festivals are based on localmyths. One is the famous Cat Festival of Ypres. Accordingto legend, medieval Ypres was overrun by rats, and catswere brought in to kill them. But the cats multiplied toofast, and people took to throwing them off the tops ofbuildings. (Today this action is imitated during the festivalwith toy cats.) Folklore also surrounds Belgiumstraditional puppet theater, whose marionettes are basedon characters from the tales of their particular cities.
RITES OF PASSAGE (Religion) Belgium is 75 % Roman Catholic and 25% Protestant. Religion has been another source of division in Belgiums history.
Religious Beliefs.Catholicism is the main religious faith. Thegovernment financially supports the Catholic andProtestant churches as well as the Jewish andMuslim faiths. The Catholic Church controls animportant network of schools with 70 percent of thepupils in secondary education and two mainuniversities. Religious beliefs and practice declinedduring the twentieth century, but approximately 65percent of Belgians believe in God. Many peoplewho say they do not believe in God take part inreligious rituals for major events such as baptisms,weddings, and funerals. Minority faiths includeMuslims, Jews, and Protestants.
Economy - overview:This modern private enterprise economy has capitalized on its centralgeographic location, highly developed transport network, anddiversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentratedmainly in the populous Flemish area in the north. With few naturalresources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of rawmaterials and export a large volume of manufactures, making itseconomy unusually dependent on the state of world markets.Roughly three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Publicdebt is nearly 100% of GDP. On the positive side, the governmenthas succeeded in balancing its budget, and income distribution isrelatively equal. Belgium began circulating the euro currency inJanuary 2002. Economic growth in 2001-03 dropped sharply becauseof the global economic slowdown, with moderate recovery in 2004.
EtiquetteThere are not many interactions in the streets, asresidential, working and leisure areas tend to be distinct.Among young people, especially Francophones,A stone bridge crossing a canal in Bruges. The northpart of Belgium consists of isolated farms betweenvillages, while the south tends to contain larger groups offarms.girls rarely shake hands but kiss other girls and boys.
Meeting Etiquette Greetings entail a degree of formality. A brief handshake is the common greetingamong people who do not know each other.. Once a relationship is developed, three kisses on the cheek may replace thehandshake. This is more a kissing of the air near the persons cheek. Start with the leftcheek and alternate.. Men never kiss other men; they always shake hands. Gift Giving Etiquette. If you are invited to a Belgians house, bring flowers or good quality chocolates forthe hostess.. Older Belgians may expect flowers to be unwrapped.. Do not give white chrysanthemums as they signify death.. Flowers should be given in an odd number, but not 13.. Liquor or wine should only be given to close friends.. Gifts are opened when received.
Dining Etiquette. Belgians socialize in their homes and restaurants.. If you receive a written invitation, the response must be written as well.. Wait for your host or hostess to introduce you to the other guests. Arrive on time. Punctuality demonstrates respect.. Wait for your host to tell you where to sit.. Women take their seats before men.. Table manners are Continental -- the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in theright while eating.. Keep your wrists above the table when eating.. Wait to see if your host offers a toast before sipping your drink.. The guest of honour may also give a toast.. Women may offer a toast.. It is polite to stand for a toast.. The Flemish raise their glasses twice during a toast. The glass is initially raised duringthe toast and then at the completion of the toast.. Never leave food on your plate. It is seen as both rude and wasteful.. Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate,tines facing upwards, with the handles facing to the right.. Belgians take pride in their cuisine, so praising a meal is a sincere compliment.
"Belgian musical instruments and music"B 1 Classical MusicBaritone saxophone 2 Blues and jazzD 3 Folk and other traditional musicDoedelzak 4 ChansonM 5 Hip-hopMuchosa 6 Pop and RockP 6.1 Indie RockPipasso 6.2 PunkS 6.3 MetalSaxophone 7 Trip-HopSchäferpfeife 8 Electronic Music 9 African musicThe music of Belgium is a cultural crossroads where Flemish Dutch-speakingand Walloon French-speaking traditions mix with those of German minorities and ofimmigrant communities from Democratic Republic of the Congo and other distantcountries.
Dress Etiquette. Men should wear dark coloured,conservative business suits withwhite shirts and silk ties. Belgians, especially those in the cities, wear modern Western-style clothes. Men who work in offices are expected to. Women should wear business wear suit jackets to work. It is generallysuits or conservative dresses. acceptable for women to wear slacks to work. The ethnic costumes of the Flemings and Walloons are seldom. Men should only wear laced worn today. On some farms women stillshoes, never loafers or other slip- wear the traditional dark-coloredons, as they are too casual. clothing and white aprons, and men wear the old-fashioned caps.. Polished shoes are an integralpart of a professional image.
Ancient Belgium Dressing Style Modern Belgium Dressing Style
Modern Wedding in belgium Ancient Wedding in Belgium
BELGIAN ARCHITECTUREParliamentarium Brussels The Cube Brussels Cheval Noir BrusselsRue de la Loi Brussels Mormont House Grand Hotel Casselbergh Atomium
Government Its government is a federal parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy.
Ethnicity Belgium is divided ethnically into the Dutch-speaking Flemings and French- speaking WalloonsEthnic groups:Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other11%
FestivalsCenturies of tradition make for great festivals. Belgium ishome to hundreds of festivals, pageants and carnivalsthroughout the year. In fact, it would be difficult to find atime in Belgium when there isnt some kind of organizedrevelry taking place whether it be themed on music, art,film or exuberant historic processions that have takenplace yearly since medieval times. A few are simple, butmost are elaborate, with old customs re-enacted andlocals dressed in ornate costumes. At the end of the day,however, theyre all about having a great time. Below area few Festival Highlights that take place throughoutBelgium.Some festivals:Ommegang Festival -BrusselsCarnival de Binche – Binche ,Stavelot (Mid-lent Carnival) - StavelotZinneke Parade - Brussels .
Arts Belgium enjoys its fine arts and it has many historical museums Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique is one of the most famous museums located in Brussels. The Royal Museum contains over 20,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings, which date from the early 15th century to the present.
Sports Belgium has a great soccer team. It has a produced many Olympians which have done well Cycling is also very popular in Belgium
Food Belgium Cuisine is very popular in Europe. The most famous dish in Belgium is the Belgian Waffle.
Food in Daily Life.Bread and potatoes are the traditional staple foods. Most meals include,pork, chicken, or beef, and Seafood is popular in the northern part of thecountry. The national drink is beer, but wine is imported in large quantities.In northern cities, popular dishes include mussels with fries and waterzooia broth of vegetables and meat or fish. Throughout the country, Frenchfries are eaten with steaks or minced raw meat. Cooking is traditionallydone with butter rather than oil; there is also a high consumption of dairyproducts. Immigration has ensured a diversity of "ethnic" restaurants andis gradually changing the eating habits of the residents in culturally mixedareas. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Christmas is an occasion for large family meals with grandparentsand cousins. There are many other occasions for long meals at publicand private celebrations, such as weddings, funerals, and the daysdevoted to city and parish saints. Pastries are associated withreligious and civil occasions. At Christmas, people eat sweet bread inthe form of the child Jesus; at Easter, children are told that eggs aredropped in the gardens by flying churchbells; and sugar beans aredistributed to those who visit a young mother.
End Belgium culture is very unique and Belgium is a great tourist attraction. If you are looking for something new you should go there.