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UNCTAD report ranks Belgium as world No 2

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s ‘World Investment Report 2011’ rates Belgium world No 2, after Hong Kong, in terms of policies favourable to foreign direct investments (FDI) as well as the quantity-quality ratio of these investments. In the words of Michael Hanni, UNCTAD economist and co-author of the report, “the absolute level of investments is very high and their value in relation to GDP is high too.” The country’s notional interest legislation plays an important role in this ranking...

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Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか?
Such a small & minor country but... マイナーな小国、しかし・・
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Belgium among world’s least religious countries

Belgium among world’s least religious countries | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it
Belgium is one of the least religious countries in the world, according to a recent study published by market research firm WIN/Gallup International. The study surveyed 63,898 people in 65 countries and found that 44% of Belgians consider themselves to be religious, while 30% say they are not religious and 18% are atheist.

The results show that Belgium is in line with the rest of Western Europe, where 43% of the population are religious, 37% not religious and 14% atheist. The least religious country in Europe is Sweden, with only 19% believers and about 78% non-believers or atheists. The Czech Republic follows closely behind, with only 23% of its population following a religion, as does the Netherlands, with 26%. In France, 40% consider themselves religious.

According to the study, 63% of the world population is religious, a number which continues to grow. One in five worldwide are non-believers, and 11% are atheist. The most religious regions are Africa (86%) and the Middle East and North Africa (82%). Thailand (94%) is the most religious country in the world, while China’s population includes 61% convinced atheists.

WIN/Gallup also examined the relationship between gender, age, income, education and religion, and found that people with a higher income tend to be less religious, while 70% of people with a low or average income are more religious. The group of convinced atheists surveyed generally have an above-average income.
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150 new breweries in Belgium this century

150 new breweries in Belgium this century | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

As of 2014, Belgium has 247 breweries, a significant increase compared to the beginning of the century, according to figures from the FPS Economy. The increase is due to the return of small, independent brewers.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Belgium had more than 3,000 breweries, but in the decades that followed, many brewers went out of business or were taken over by large industrial brewers such as Stella Artois in Leuven, which eventually became Interbrew, and now AB InBev.

As a result, by the end of last century only about 100 breweries remained in Belgium. Since then, however, the number of breweries in the country has increased by 70%. This positive trend is due in part to the rise of smaller craft brewers in Belgium, so that the country now boasts nearly 250 breweries.

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Job adverts in Belgium up 26%

Job adverts in Belgium up 26% | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

A growing confidence in the resilience of Belgium’s economy has led to a sharp increase in the number of job vacancies in the first quarter of 2015, reports Jobat. According to the most recent Robert Walters European Job Index, the total number of job advertisements this year has already increased by 26% compared to 2014.

The Robert Walters index tracks advertisement volumes across the leading job boards in Belgium and other European countries. The figures paint an encouraging picture for Belgium’s future, as a sign of growing consumer confidence and a rebounding economy.

''Exports to continental Europe continue to rise. This has had a positive impact on the economy and translates into greater demand for candidates in many sectors,” explains Antoine Biot, managing director of Robert Walters Belgium. “Both companies and candidates have more and more confidence in the market, a trend that is predicted to continue in the coming quarters.''

As export levels grow in Belgium, the supply chain and logistics sector saw a 33% rise in job adverts since the end of last year, followed by property and construction (23%) and accounting and finance (15%).

The total number of jobs advertised in Belgium across all sectors grew by 26% year-on-year.

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Experts call for drastic action against Asian tiger mosquito

Experts call for drastic action against Asian tiger mosquito | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it
Belgian scientists are worried that the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is gaining a foothold in the country, which could lead to the spread of dengue and yellow fever. They are calling for more monitoring to prevent health problems.

Scientists from Antwerp’s Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) have been finding the insect in cargo that enters Belgium via ports and airports since 2013. The mosquito is often found in water in old tyres and in plants from the US and Asia.

According to federal public health minister Maggie De Block, it is probably impossible to keep the insect from settling in the country, but thorough monitoring of certain cargo could slow down the process.

“The mosquitoes don’t seem to survive the winters,” said ITM researcher Maxime Madder. “But we are worried about the risks for Europe.” Climate change will probably enable the settlement of the Asian tiger mosquito in Europe, he said.

Madder has called for an drastic expansion of inspections. He said that more staff is necessary and that they should not just check cargo at ports and airports but also passenger flights and properties of companies that process old tyres. Those measures are included in a proposal under discussion by members of parliament.
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Skeleton of soldier killed at Waterloo found under Belgian car park

Skeleton of soldier killed at Waterloo found under Belgian car park | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

The 200-year-old skeleton of a soldier killed at the battle of Waterloo has been discovered under a car park - just like Richard III - and identified by archaeologists.

After a painstaking process historians identified the man as Friedrich Brandt, 23, a Hanoverian hunchback who trained in the East Sussex resort of Bexhill-on-Sea.

Brandt, a member of George III’s German Legion, was killed by Napoleon’s forces and was found with a musket ball between his ribs, the Sunday Times reported.

An archaeologist working for the Belgian government, Dominique Bosquet, called the find ‘unique,’ explaining that no complete skeleton had ever been retrieved from the battle of Waterloo.

The mystery surrounding Brandt’s origins and identity was cracked by Gareth Glover, 54, a former Royal Navy officer and historian, who said Brandt would never have been allowed to serve, because of his deformity, under modern military standards.

However his Hanoverian unit, loyal to the king, would have fought alongside British and Dutch troops against Napoleon

The skeleton was uncovered in June 2012 when a digger excavated a car park near the Lion’s Mound area at Waterloo battlefield just south of Brussels.

It took three years of intense research and a little luck to pin-point Brandt’s identity.

A piece of wood carrying the initials CB, and the date 1792 as well as 20 German and French coins amounting to a month’s wages and an iron spoon proved crucial.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3026442/200-year-old-skeleton-hunchback-soldier-killed-battle-Waterloo-Belgian-car-park-believed-trained-Sussex.html#ixzz3WSUF6fyz ;
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook...

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Club Brugge beat Anderlecht in Belgian Cup Final

Club Brugge beat Anderlecht in Belgian Cup Final | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Club Brugge on Sunday won the final of the Belgian Cup against Anderlecht 2-1, reports brusselnieuws.be. Club Brugge confidently took a 1-0 lead in the 12thminute after a stunning volley from Tom De Sutter. In the 89th minute, Anderlecht’s Aleksandar Mitrović equalised the score, but three minutes later Club Brugge striker Lior Refaelov responded by scoring the winning goal.

There was a lot of excitement around the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels’ Heysel neighbourhood leading up to the match, after the Royal Belgian Football Association and Brussels police encouraged supporters to “have a real football party”. The match got off to a late start, with kick-off at 18.30 instead of the scheduled 18.00.

It is not the first time the two teams competed against each other in the Belgian Cup Final. The first was in 1977, when Brugge won 4-3 over Anderlecht in a spectacular match, and again in 1994 when Anderlecht won 2-0.

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Brussels Airlines : un Airbus A320 en livrée spéciale « Tintin...

Brussels Airlines : un Airbus A320 en livrée spéciale « Tintin... | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it
Airbus A320 Rackham de Brussels Airlines (livrée Tintin) – © Airbus En partenariat avec Moulinsart, Brussels Airlines a dévoilé le 16 mars à l’aéroport de Bruxelles un Airbus A320 aux couleurs de Tintin. Immatriculé OO-SNB, l’appareil est baptisé... #a320 #brusselsairlines #livrée
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Visit Antwerpen – Official tourism portal of Antwerp Tourism & Convention.

Visit Antwerpen – Official tourism portal of Antwerp Tourism & Convention. | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

On 27 February 2015, Antwerp City Hall will be celebrating its 450th birthday. We will honour this a whole year with the exhibition “450 years of City Hall. The city’s most famous house”, a café in ’t Schoon Verdiep, events, new publications and a totally new tour. As you can tell, the City Hall’s unique birthday will not go unnoticed.

 

You have already visited ‘t Schoon Verdiep, did you say? Fine, but did you know that there was a harmonium hidden behind the wedding hall? Have you ever wondered how beautiful the view is from the top floor? Have you been in the bomb cellar? Do you know why there is an eagle on top of the City Hall? As you can tell, this tour is unique. Places that you normally do not get to see as a visitor, you can now visit all year long.

 

Period: 1 March 2015 - 24 February 2016

 

The walk takes two hours. The route is accessible to wheelchair users, with the exception of the bomb cellar and the harmonium, which can only be accessed by stairs.

 

Times:

Sunday:  2.00 p.m. – French and EnglishSunday:  3.00 p.m. - Dutch

 

Cost: 

Pre-sale: EUR 7Door: EUR 9 (as long as tickets are available)Visitors with an Antwerp City Card: EUR 7

 

How to book

Option 1: Visitors’ Centre Antwerp Tourism & Conventions

Visitors’ Centre Grand Place, Grote Markt 13, 2000 Antwerp

Visitors’ Centre Central Station, level 0, near the escalators, Koningin Astridplein, 2018 Antwerp

Opening hours

 

Together with a guide, you leave the tourist office on the Grand Place to explore the magnificent Renaissance Palace from top to bottom. Not only political, cultural, economic and sporting events are covered, the architectural features and current shortcomings are also paraded. After all, the building is in need of a thorough overhaul so that it can shine the next 450 years. The guide will be happy to discuss them with you, together with the future plans.

 

Feel free to follow this tour.  Our Antwerp guides will take you to their City Hall that will be shown off in that way for one year only. Go for it!

 

More information about 450 years City Hall: www.antwerpen.be/450jaarstadhuis

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Belgium takes gold in European Indoor Athletics Championships

Belgium takes gold in European Indoor Athletics Championships | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

The Belgian Tornados relay team on Sunday took home a gold medal on the final day of the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague for the men’s 4×400-metre relays. The team, with Julien Watrin and the Borlée brothers, Dylan, Jonathan and Kevin, finished in 3 minutes 02.87 seconds, beating the 2011 European and Belgian indoor record.

Father and coach Jacques Borlée had Watrin start first, allowing him to keep a steady second place until Dylan launched into the race behind the Polish leaders. When Jonathan stepped in, he was able to tighten the gap, but it was Kevin (pictured) who made the final winning spurt past Poland’s Jakub Krzewina for the gold.

The silver medal went to Poland (3:02.97), and the bronze to the Czech Republic (3:04:09).

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Germany's violation of Belgian neutrality : WWI

Germany's violation of Belgian neutrality : WWI | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Belgium's neutrality was recognised in international law, particularly by Germany, as the Kaiser himself had promised to uphold it. But on 2 August 1914, banking on Queen Elisabeth's ties with Germany, he gave Belgium an ultimatum to allow his troops to pass through Belgium to invade France, Russia's ally. The ultimatum was rejected by the government and King Albert I gave his famous patriotic speech to parliament: Un pays qui se défend s'impose au respect de tous, ce pays ne périt pas. J'ai foi en nos destinées. (A country that defends itself, commands the respect of all; such a country does not perish! I have faith in our destiny.) War broke out and German troops invaded the country. After fighting in the Walloon provinces, involving both French and Belgian soldiers, the invading army arrived at the gates of Brussels on 19 August.

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Ready, set, eat! : Making 40 days without meat fun

Ready, set, eat! : Making 40 days without meat fun | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Today, thousands of people in Belgium will once again kick off the annual 40-day Dagen Zonder Vlees(Days Without Meat) challenge. Since 2011, this yearly Flanders-based awareness campaign (DZV) has aimed to get as many people as possible to eat as few animals as they can for 40 days.

It’s not about pushing a strict vegetarian agenda, says DZV, but rather about finding a fun way to get people to think about and see the impact that eating (or not eating) animals has on the environment.

They’ve come up with a website that lets you track the impact that your lower meat intake in terms of your ecological footprint, the litres of water used to produce your food and the amount of fuel. As the days go on, you can see the impact of the resources you’ve saved grown enormously simply by eating less meat.

So far, 19,000 people have committed to taking up the challenge on Facebook. When you sign up, it’s in Dutch, but nothing so complicated Google Translate can’t solve for you.

But how do you get through 40 days without your stoemp and sausage? Easy. The best piece of advice is to try not to think about what you’re giving up but about what you’re gaining. A chance to get to know new foods and flavours or to try restaurants you’ve never been to. Here’s how you can do it.

Learn new recipes
Learning how to cook vegetarian is learning a whole new skill set. The place that many people playing around with eating less meat go wrong is that they try to cook the way they always have by just replacing the meat.

While doing this once in a while can be great, you’ll quickly find that prepared veggie burgers and Quorn products are expensive and rarely satisfy your craving for a juicy steak.

Better to rethink your plate entirely and perhaps push your comfort zone, focusing on learning meals from cuisines that are more traditionally vegetarian, such as standard dishes in many Indian and South-East Asian cuisines. You’ll eat fresher and discover how to use new herbs and spices.

If you like, search around for courses that teach vegetarian cooking or specific cuisines, like this one from Pimpinelle (in French) that will teach you several vegetarian Korean recipes.

The DZV campaign has a whole page linking to delicious, belly-filling recipes that don’t contain meat. Another great place to find inspiration is Pinterest, where a quick search for vegetarian foods will have you scrolling for hours through mouth-watering photos of meat-free meals, which should link you to their recipes.

Try new restaurants
Another advantage of eating less meat is that, while you might feel a little leaner, your wallet may be getting a little fatter. Diets that include meat are estimated to be about twice as expensive as meat free ones. So by eating less meat, you’ll probably have more cash to take yourself out on the town.

Your newfound wealth is a perfect reason to branch out and discover Belgium’s meatless food scene. In Brussels, La Tsampa and Dolma are two excellent choices. La Tsampa is a bright, airy spot at the back of an organic shop of the same name. They serve up fresh, inventive all-veggie food, including vegetarian versions of Belgian staples, such as carbonnade / stoofvlees.

Dolma is open in the evenings with a full, all-you-can-eat hot and cold vegetarian buffet, including dessert.  It also has an organic shop of the same name, which recently moved to a new location across the street from the restaurant on Chaussee d’Ixelles.

If you feel like stepping out of Brussels, try Ghent for great meat-free food. With its Veggie Thursdays, where schools, offices and restaurants make a weekly effort to offer more vegetarian meals, Ghent has become the Belgian capital of vegetarian eating. Accompanying this are several great options for restaurants, including Komkommertijd, a vegan all-you-can-eat buffet, and the slightly more inventive kitchen of Avalon near the Gravensteen castle.

If you really want to reward yourself for a job well done, book a table at In De Wulf, the one-star Michelin restaurant that was voted best restaurant in Europe last year. It will set you back at least €150, and it’s far from strictly vegetarian, but chef Kobe Desramaults, who has shot to the top of the Belgian food scene in recent years, will arrange for you a vegetarian tasting menu that will change the way you think about food, meaty or otherwise.

Photo courtesy Dagen Zonder Vlees

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Dramatic fall in applications for Belgian nationality

Dramatic fall in applications for Belgian nationality | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

The number of people applying for Belgian nationality has dropped off sharply due to tough new rules introduced in 2012 by the previous federal government.

The number of application has plummeted in recent years, from 18,732 in 2013 to just 113 in 2014, according to figures published by Het Laatste Nieuws. And the downward trend looks set to continue, with just 11 people applying for Belgian nationality so far this year.

Despite the sharp drop, authorities are still struggling to clear the backlog of cases waiting to be approved. Some 42,000 applications were still due to be processed at the end of last year, according to the report. More than 2,100 applications have been approved since then, while 1,200 have been rejected.

Tough new procedures were introduced in 2012 to replace the snel-Belgwet procedure, which granted nationality automatically to anyone who had lived in the country for seven years.

Under the new rules, candidates must show that they speak at least one of the three national languages, are integrated into the society and have worked at least 468 days in Belgium during the previous five years. There are also strict requirements concerning any absences from the country, even for short periods.

Residents married to Belgian citizens have far few problems and are processed much more quickly.

Critics argue that the new rules prevent many people, such as part-time workers, from applying for nationality.

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Abandoned Power Plant, Charleroi, Belgium

Abandoned Power Plant, Charleroi, Belgium | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

In a small neighbourhood known as Monceau-sur-Sambre, within the Belgian town of Charleroi sits an abandoned power station, the magnificent abandoned cooling tower of which still looms over the town no longer creating electricity, but providing plenty of dystopian vistas.

Power Plant IM was originally built in 1921 and when it was finished, it was one of the largest coal burning power plants in Belgium. Water would be let into the cooling tower where it would be cooled by the wind that swept in from portals in the base of the tower, releasing billowing columns of hot air. By 1977 the power plant and its massive tower was the main source of energy in the Charleroi area and is said to have been able to cool down 480,000 gallons of water per minute. By the 1970s new components were even added to the power plant that could also use gas power. However the power plant's days in the sun were numbered.

After years of service, a report found that Power Plant IM was responsible for 10% of the total CO2 emissions in Belgium. Due to this, protests from Greenpeace in 2006 gave the power plant a lot of negative attention and it closed in 2007.

After it was closed down, there were reports of looting by metal scrappers, but today there are often security guards The power plant still lies abandoned, and is said to be scheduled for demolition, but until that time it continues to stand as a popular location for urban explorers.

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Belgium: Jihadis threaten to kill Antwerp mayor if he doesn’t convert to Islam

Belgium: Jihadis threaten to kill Antwerp mayor if he doesn’t convert to Islam | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Well, you see, he provoked them. If he had just kept his mouth shut, all would be well…wouldn’t it?

(Yes, folks, that is sarcasm. The idea of tiptoing around so as not to offend Islamic jihadists is a recipe for surrender and subjugation.)

“Convert to Islam or Die! Mayor of Antwerp Given Ultimatum by Extremists,” Sputnik International, May 25, 2015:

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – Islamic extremists in Belgium have publicly threatened to kill the mayor of the Belgian city of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, if he does not convert to Islam, local media reported Monday.

A sign written in French stating threats against de Wever, who is also the head of the nationalist political party the New Flemish Alliance, was placed on one of the main squares of Antwerp. Experts are currently assessing the seriousness of the action and the message.

“I always warned that we will not get rid of the threat from Islamic extremists in the near future. This was ignored for years. This wound became apparent now with [the current developments in] Syria and will fester for a long time before we will get rid of it,” de Wever said.

Throughout his political career, De Wever has repeatedly received threats. The Belgian government has provided him with security guards at state expense.

In the light of advance of the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group in the Middle East and a number of ISIL-inspired terrorist attacks in Europe, the European Union has currently seeing a surge in anti-Islamization sentiment.

According to September 2014 statistics from Belgium’s Ministry of Interior, between 300 and 350 Belgians have gone to fight alongside the ISIL in Iraq and Syria since 2012.

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Apple confirms store will open in Belgium

Apple confirms store will open in Belgium | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

pple will open an official Apple Store in Belgium, the company confirmed today.  The announcement verifies rumours of the technology giant’s plans to open an official store in the country.

Some suspect the store will take over a space in Brussels shopping mall Le Toison d'Or, home to the new Marks & Spencer, where some of the windows are currently covered with large black panels.  However, this has not been confirmed by Apple.

Apple’s announcement has been vague, confirming only that there will be an Apple store in Belgium at some point in the near future. "We look forward to bringing the unique Apple retail experience to our customers in Belgium," a spokesperson told De Standaard. The newspaper had no luck acquiring any details about the location, nor a date. In Belgium, Apple products are currently sold by a select few authorized distributors.

Apple yesterday posted 14 new jobs for Belgium on its website.

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Belgium withdraws support to Burundi

Belgium withdraws support to Burundi | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Concerned about the recent escalation of violence in Burundi, Belgium’s international development minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) has announced that Belgium will suspend its aid to the country, reports De Standaard.

"I am very worried about the escalation of violence," said De Croo, referring to the last two weeks of street protests in Burundi which have left at least 19 dead and 216 wounded. The reason for the unrest is President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he will run for a third term in the June elections, presidents only being allowed to serve two terms in Burundi.

Both Belgium and the Netherlands provide financial support to the Burundian police. However, only €3 million of the €5 million set aside for the cause have been paid. De Croo has made clear that the remainder of the Belgian contribution, in addition to another €2 million to support to the electoral process in Burundi, will be withheld.

The Netherlands will also withdraw its support, according to De Croo, after the European observation mission in Burundi ruled that the country is currently not able to organise free and transparent elections.

 

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Record sales in Belgium tripled in four years

Record sales in Belgium tripled in four years | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Last year there were 150,000 vinyl records sold in Belgium, for a turnover of €3.19 million. That is a tripling of record sales compared to 2010, according to figures from the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA).

Vinyl sales hit rock-bottom in 2010, with only 46,971 records sold. In 2014, however, there were 150,000 records sold. "Records are now sold in larger stores. That was unthinkable a few years ago when the vinyl enthusiast could only find them in specialist record shops," explains Olivier Maeterlinck of BEA.

While record sales have tripled in four years, their turnover has more than quadrupled, from €773,525 in 2010 to €3.19 million last year. "The average price of a record has gone up in recent years due to increased demand. But more and more artists are releasing their new albums in vinyl again, or re-releasing old ones," explains Maeterlinck.

But vinyl, he add, "remains a niche market.” "Stromae’s Racine Carrée was the best-selling record in 2014 with 1,000 copies. It was purchased more than 100,000 times on CD or online.”

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Ghent first Belgian city to launch plan to expose discrimination

Ghent first Belgian city to launch plan to expose discrimination | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Ghent is the first Belgian city to adopt a comprehensive action plan to combat discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, religion, age or disability. The city plans to use undercover researchers – known as mystery shoppers – to expose discrimination by companies, landlords and employment agencies. The tests will initially be carried out by staff at Ghent University as research projects.

The university has already carried out research in the rented property market, which revealed that one in three potential tenants is turned down because they sound or appear foreign, while half of candidate tenants receiving social benefits are rejected.

The city has turned to the university to ensure that its methods for detecting discrimination are rigorous. “The key problem with discrimination is ensuring that complaints are legitimate,” said equal opportunities councillor Resul Tapmaz (pictured). “By employing scientific methods, we can build up a picture of discrimination.”

The city already has a policy that allows it to cancel contracts with contractors that have been exposed for discrimination. It now plans to meet offending organisations and individuals to persuade them to change their recruitment policies. The city also wants to encourage organisations in the culturalal sector to serve as models by recruiting staff from all segments of society.

But Tapmaz admits that the city has limited powers to impose sanctions on the grounds of discrimination. He hopes that governments will take up the city’s ideas and change policy at the regional level. “It’s not enough to raise awareness; we have to go further,” he told De Morgen.

 
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Population of Belgium to reach 13.1 million by 2060

Population of Belgium to reach 13.1 million by 2060 | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Belgium’s population (11.2 million in 2013) could reach 11.4 million by 2020 and 13.1 million by 2060, according to the latest calculations from the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) and General Statistics Department.

In the short term, Belgium’s population growth is slightly lower than expected, while the long term forecast shows an even greater growth than was previously thought. Last year the FPB predicted a total population of 12.5 million by 2060. The Bureau has since revised their prediction, with an additional 600,000 inhabitants. "New insights into international migration have affected the predictions," Johan Duyck of the FPB told brusselnieuws.be.

"In the long term, taking into account the expected growth of the world population and increasing globalisation and mobility, migration flows should rise again,” according to an FPB press release. This will be only slightly tempered by stricter rules for family reunification which are expected to inhibit the growth of non-European migration in the short term.

The predictions include a significant increase in the total number of households in Belgium, as the number of single parent families continues to rise, by as much as 23.5% by 2060.

Life expectancy is also expected to increase, to 86.3 years for men and 88.4 years for women by 2060, while fertility rates across the country should remain steady at about 1.8 children per woman.

 
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Ghent, Belgium: The Vegetarian Capital of Europe!  | Kind Eats

Ghent, Belgium: The Vegetarian Capital of Europe!  | Kind Eats | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

When I first heard about Ghent’s status as the “Vegetarian Capital of Europe,” I was a bit surprised as Ghent is a relatively small city in northwest Belgium known for its medieval history, canal-side architecture, and historic museums and churches. Some describe Ghent as Belgium’s best kept secret. While foreign tourists often flock to Bruges, many Belgians choose Ghent if they’re looking for a weekend getaway. It’s a vibrant city with a relaxed vibe. It has much of the historic charm that Bruges offers, but the nice thing is you won’t find large crowds of tourists, which is one thing you will certainly find in Bruges, especially during the peak summer months.

As for Ghent’s vegetarian status, back in 2009, Ghent became the first city worldwide to adopt a weekly vegetarian day. The local government recognized the health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet and mandated that all Ghent restaurants offer at least one vegetarian menu item. This initiative was well-received by not only the restaurants but also by the local community, prompting many restaurants to eventually offer set vegetarian menus. Additionally, on Thursdays, the designated “vegetarian day,” schools serve entirely vegetarian meal in their cafeterias.

In additional to local restaurants offering vegan-friendly menus, there are also a number of entirely vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Ghent. Here are our top picks healthy vegan and vegetarian food in Ghent:

Lekker GECAvalonGreenwayKomkommertijd

Upon our arrival at Ghent’s central train station, we literally walked across the street to Lekker GEC, an entirely vegan and organic café that is quite the hot spot among the locals. It is so popular that as soon as the doors opened for business at 12pm, a line of hungry diners quickly formed.

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Waterloo coin scrapped due to French protest

Waterloo coin scrapped due to French protest | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Belgium will not get a new €2 coin in commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo, which took place 200 years ago, ending the reign of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Belgium has scrapped plans for the creation of the coin after France made its opposition clear.

In a letter to the European Council, France requested that Belgium not produce a coin that commemorates the humiliating French defeat at Waterloo, calling it “a negative symbol” and one that would “undermine the unity of the Eurozone”.

In Brussels on Thursday, spokesperson for the finance ministry, Francis Adyns, announced that Belgium would withdraw its plans for the controversial coin, despite already having produced and packed 175,000 of them. The coins will not be released into circulation.

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Belgium is fifth largest importer of Champagne

Belgium is fifth largest importer of Champagne | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

Champagne imports to Belgium last year rose by 2.3% to 9.74 million bottles, making Belgium the fifth largest importer of Champagne, reports the Benelux Champagne Agency.

Belgium accounts for 6.67% of global Champagne exports, according to the agency. On a global scale, Champagne imports last year rose by 0.7% to 307.1 million bottles. The largest importers of Champagne are the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Japan.

Total sales amounted to €4.5 billion in 2014, the Champagne region’s second best year ever, "mostly thanks to export," added the agency.

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Belgium’s minimum wage among highest in Europe

Belgium’s minimum wage among highest in Europe | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

National minimum wages in the European Union member states vary considerably from country to country, according to figures released on Thursday by the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat).

Bulgaria’s minimum wage of €184 gross per month, for example, pales in comparison to that of Luxembourg, which is €1,923 euros gross per month. Belgium comes in second place in the ranking, with a gross monthly minimum wage of €1,502.

Out of 22 European countries surveyed, ten countries have a minimum wage of less than €500 gross per month, while in five countries this number is between €500 and €1,000 gross, and in seven countries it exceeds €1,000 gross per month. Minimum wage in the US, by comparison, is €1,035 gross per month.

At the bottom of the ranking are Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania, while Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands take the top places.

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Belgium’s 5 ugliest famous buildings

Belgium’s 5 ugliest famous buildings | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it

There’s a lot to like about Belgian architecture: Bruges’ rows of stepped gables help make it a fairy-tale city, Brussels’ and Leuven’s city halls are marvels of the Gothic age, Antwerp’s central train stationregularly makes it onto lists of the most beautiful stations in the world, even the Justice Palace with its perpetual scaffolding is beautifully imposing.

But it’s not all cobble stones and gothic towers. Over the decades and centuries, Belgian architects have been known to make some questionable choices. Plenty of attention, for example, has been given to the sometimes unfortunate taste in housing design, brought to the public’s attention thanks in large part to the popular blog Ugly Belgian Houses.

Of course, beauty is a construction of one’s culture – in Brussels in the mid- and later twentieth century, many an intricate Art Nouveau building that we would consider beautiful today was torn down because contemporary standards viewed it as old-fashioned. So, one day, we might look back at these chunks of concrete and glass in awe and deference.

But for today, here are five important buildings around Belgium that despite, at times, the noblest of intentions, encourage us to turn and look away…and enjoy the ancient, the well-crafted and the innovative designs standing on the other side of the street.

1. Antwerp Tower, Antwerp

This rather uninspiring testament to 1970s architecture on Antwerp’s Frankrijklei doesn’t offend so much due to its design, which is dull at best, but because of its location — sticking out like an 87-metre sore thumb along an otherwise charming stretch of Antwerp’s old city centre.

Standing 24 floors high, this tower, built in 1974, is the second tallest building in the city and serves as a shopping and office complex in a city with far more charming places to shop and work.

2. Boekentoren, Ghent

Conceptually, Ghent’s Boekentoren, or “Book Tower”, (pictured) is a beautiful thing. Commissioned in 1933 to architect Henry van de Velde, it was erected to be the “Tower of Wisdom”, a fourth structure to join Ghent’s three mediaeval towers – Saint-Nicolas’s Church, the Belfry and Saint Bavo’s Cathedral – dedicated to holding and sharing knowledge as Ghent University’s main library. However, aesthetically, what graces Ghent’s skyline today is an enormous block of incongruous, modernist concrete in one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

But we shouldn’t be too hard on the Book Tower. It does, after all, contain some 46 kilometres of books, and inside it can be a beautiful spot to study (not to mention give great views of the city).  Currently, it’s undergoing a major restoration that, while it won’t change the look of the tower (which is a protected site), will update the building’s facilities and modernise its interior.

3. Cité Administrative, Liege

So far only Flanders has been called out for its ugly buildings, but Wallonia has its share of architectural mishaps. A shining star among these is the Cité Administrative building in Liege. As its name suggests, this busy collection of concrete squares, modelled in the style of the United Nations building in New York City, serves as a building for public service offices for the city of Liege.

It’s saving grace is its famous “tache” (stain), an inscrutable, Rorschach-like black blot on one side of the building, which leaves you thinking that the otherwise lacklustre edifice might be worth a longer look than thought at first glance.

4. AC Portus, Ghent

While few know the official name of this building on Keizer Karel Street in Ghent, many Gentenaars will agree that it is among the ugliest buildings in town. It does seem to be designed to be almost purposefully unattractive with its two shades of industrial grey and cream and its narrow windows peaking covertly out from their sides, unwilling to let more than a single sliver of natural light enter.

However, AC Portus will soon be getting a makeover. What the final outcome will be, no one knows – different architect bureaus are currently presenting their plans in a competition. But we can assume that its looks can only improve.

5. Royal Palace, Brussels

Being old does not excuse you for being ugly, a principle exemplified for many by the Royal Palace in Brussels’s city centre. In 2009, this 1904 monolith was voted the third ugliest building in Belgium, beating out some of the other contenders on this list. And it’s true that, while impressive in size, its grey blandness makes the palace lack a certain regal air. Perhaps that is why the Belgian royal family prefer making the less visible Castle of Laeken their permanent residence.

However, the Royal Palace has some redeeming features, like one of Brussels’ coolest museums beneath it, the Coudenberg, which lets you walk the ancient streets of Brussels buried well below current street level, as well as a ceiling made entirely of beetles.

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World Mayor: Ghent Mayor Termont debates

World Mayor: Ghent Mayor Termont debates | Do you know "Belgium"? ベルギーって言う国知ってますか? | Scoop.it
World Mayor runner-up Ghent Mayor Daniel Termont debates with citizens

 

3 February 2015: City Mayors invited those who participated in World Mayor 2014 to put questions to Ghent Mayor Daniël Termont, winner of the 2014 World Mayor Commendation for SErvices to European Cities. From the questions received, a representative selection was forwarded to the mayor. He replies below with candour and thoughtfulness.


QUESTIONS
By Hans v D, Brussels, Belgium
Question: You have devoted most of your working life to local government in Ghent - first as councillor then as mayor. Did you ever envisage a different career path?

Mayor Termont replies: At 18, I seemed predestined to take over my parents’ business in all kinds of second hand goods. That is why I studied book keeping. But things turned out different: through my work in youth welfare, I was able to get a job at the socialist Health Service ‘Bond Moyson’. In the meanwhile, I was elected as city council member in Ghent, at the age of 23. After the local elections of October 1994, I was asked to become deputy-mayor – a full time job in Ghent politics. I was deputy-mayor for the Port and Economy for 12 consecutive years; the last 6 years I was also responsible for festivities (amongst others: the ‘Ghent Festival, the biggest outdoor cultural event in Europa, every year for 10 days long in the inner city). At the end of 2006 I was elected mayor. Over the past years, I was frequently asked by my party leaders to take up a job in national politics, but I always refused to do so. I wanted to retain a 100 per cent focus on my duty towards Ghent and the Ghentians.


By Frank D W, Cologne, Germany
Question: How can you ensure that city policies enhance a climate of innovation and support initiatives that make the city a better place to live with high quality of living but at the same time reduce the footprint of the city on our environment. Which initiatives are you taking towards a ‘green city’. As world leaders are unable to make binding agreements on climate change issues, how do you think Mayors of the big cities can contribute to a reduction of our dependence on carbon energy?

Mayor Termont replies: Ghent has set out ambitious climate targets. We want to become al climate neutral city by 2050. This means that by 2050 our city has no impact any more on the climate. To put that ambition into practice we signed, the first city in Belgium to do so, the Covenant of Mayors to reduce our energy consumption and our CO2 emission by more than 20 per cent by 2020 and made a carbon footprint of our city and drew up a local climate plan.

We work on several aspects and the new multi-annual city budget 2014-2019 adds an extra investment of 17 million euro directly addressed to climate action measures (stimulating energetic renovations, energy-efficiency of social housing, energy coaching for companies, renewable energy). Other budget increase is partly addressed to climate measures (e.g. cycling infrastructure, renovation of municipal buildings, stimulating the use of public transport). In total over more than 100 million euro of the city budget will contribute to our climate ambition for the period 2014-2019. For instance we want to double the renovation degree in Ghent and want that every renovation contributes to reducing energy demand.

We have developed a wide range of actions to help our citizens to meet that target. We offer free building advice, renovation advice on site, advice on financial issues, cheap loans, grants for energy investments and we guide our citizens through the renovation process so they can make the best choices. We also offer guidance to our companies. They can get assistance to implement energy measures. Another key element in our climate policy is working together with our citizens to connect them with their environment and creating relations between citizens and technologies, services, organizations, subsidies and actions. Thus stimulating co-creation. By collaboration projects with different stakeholders, concrete action in the field of energy or mobility gets visible results on the livability....

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