Heart of Europe
Belgium – a small country, a densely populated earth block size with the Moscow region, squeezed between the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. This artificially created state took its name from the ancient tribe of Belgo, who once inhabited these lands, and was proclaimed constantly neutral. A constitutional monarchy was chosen by the state device, and now the King copes well with the role of a guarantor of democracy in an inhomogeneous Belgian society. Brussels is rightfully considered the capital not only of Belgium, but also of all united Europe. Global political and financial interests intersect here, new ideas of the world order are translated. It is difficult to believe that the state that has become a living heart of modern Europe, 175 years ago did not exist at all.
Who are Belgians?
The country has a saying that there is the only family of Belgians – the royal. The rest – either Flemish, who make up a little more than half of the population, or Wallon. A small state has the most complicated federal structure. In addition to Flanders, where they speak at the Dutch, and Vallonia, where they live mostly Francophones, the federation includes the Brussels Capital Region, officially bilingual, but with the predominance of French. There are also two German-speaking cantons in Vallonia. Of the ten million Belgians, about one and a half million were born not in Belgium – they came here, equipped and received citizenship. In addition to permanent residents, hundreds of thousands, if there are no millions of foreigners are calculated – from illegal immigrants to rich officials of the European Union.
According to statistics, the Belgians work on average less than other Europeans, and it probably has a beneficial effect on their health: Belgians are the most healthy nation on Earth. This conclusion came the authors of the study from the British Scientific Center WORLD Markets Research Center (WMRC). It is strange because Belgian cuisine is designed only for a very strong stomach: Belgians in huge quantities absorb fried potatoes, all the dishes are carefully seasoned with mayonnaise, they smoke a lot, litters drink coffee and from children’s age – beer. By the way, it is estimated: to try all the varieties of Belgian beer, you need two years – and this is despite the fact that on the day you have to drink two glasses (Belgians drink beer in the glasses, and not in circles) of different varieties. Belgian brewers actively dispel the myth that the unlimited consumption of beer contributes to the formation of the so-called "Beer belly". According to their allegations, drinking a glass of ordinary "Pilsa", preference to which 64.6% of the Belgians give, you only have 103 cywloria, while the same tank with apple juice contains 120 kilocalories, with milk – 134.
More Belgium is famous for the fact that doctors living in its territory per capita more than in any other country of old world. Perhaps this is the secret of Belgian health?
Belgians are not delighted with themselves and do not hide this. A recent survey of public opinion showed: 60% of the inhabitants would prefer to be born in some other country. Although national anthem sounds in all cities and weighs ("Oh, Belgium! Oh, mother native!"), hardly one of the locals remembers the words on the second line.
The nonpatientity of the Belgians will partly be explained not so much by the appearance of their state on the world map. Until 1830, the Romans, the French, Burgundys, Spaniards, Austrians and the Dutch hosted for centuries. Belgium independence brought "opera" the revolution. Theatrians, upgraded to the depths of the soul Opera Ober "Some of Portichi", Palked in their magnificent outfits on the streets of Brussels and watered the national flag over the town hall. After several armed kits, the Dutch (then they hung up on these lands) ravisas, and the rebels broke into the royal palace. Revolution in Belgium cost without the imagination of the guillotine. Belgians always sought to observe in all measure, probably, so they did not receive extended references to themselves in history textbooks. But there are one in Belgians "fad": Flemish (speaking in the Netherlands) and Wallons (French speakers) can not consider themselves a single nation.
It is in the dispute between the two languages in the Belgians and a sense of national self-consciousness is manifested. For an externally calm facade in a country proud of the absence of any manifestations of nationalism, two speakers in different languages of the group are divided by an irreconcilable host. Capped and trying to scratch each other’s eyes (Vallonia emblem) and the lion (emblem of Flanders) – this is perhaps the most faithful picture of what is happening in the country. Sometimes the future of Belgium is tightened with a foggy haze. "We are the only country that is a question, whether it exists", – says Belgian poet Daniel de Broker. You can often hear that only two thin threads are associated with a nation: the royal family yes "Red Devils" – National football team.
I must say that Flemadse has reasons to be offended by Wallonov: For some historical misunderstanding for almost 140 years, a small Belgian history of state in Belgium was one language – French. Flemis were considered "Stupid peasants", which and literacy.
Great Flemis – Charles de Bosier, Maurice Meterlink, Emil Verjn – forced to write works that glorified Belgian literature, in French. This insult does not reach this day – and they are not shy to take revenge: Flanders now significantly exceeds the pace of economic development Vallonia.
But try to identify Flemis with the Dutch, and Wallonov with the French! I remember the great detective Erkulya Poiruro, when he was asked – not the Frenchman he could have been enough from a rage apoplexic. "We are Belgians!" – In this case, Flemis, and Wallon.
In addition, many Wallonov among Flemis and many Flemaders among Wallon have a boating friends and close relatives, relations with whom do not fit into the drawn scheme. It is worth such an honest company to collect on the table brutaling and drinks, how everyone will agree: no matter how much Belgians are still.
In March of each year, thousands of people are gathering in the Belgian city of Ostend to the holiday, which wears the playful name – the Ball of Dauch Rat. Duffle Rat in Ostend commemorate with a light hand of a native of this city, artist James Ensor.
At the end of the XIX century, he, along with other creative Bogmen, was a regulance of the eponymous Paris Cabaret in Square Pigal. Enerza was so fun in Paris "Darkd Rats", that together with friends began to arrange the ball of her name in his hometown. Fast rat balls were conceived by charity, – money went to the needs of widows and orphans.
It is possible to appear on the ball in the evening dress, but carnival costumes are especially appreciated, and than extravagant – the better. Every year the theme of the upcoming holiday is declared in advance so that lovers of noisy entertainment have time to prepare.
Fans of the holiday come here with whole families, and more than once or two, and in many years in a row.
In essence, this funny action has become a living monument to his ideological inspirer – the symbolist artist James Ensor. And although in Ostend there is his museum, the best reason to remember the Ensor and raise the glass of Belgian beer in his honor – it is the ball, because the fun and noisy love to love and those who do not consider themselves to fans of painting. The battle of the milk rat became one of the business cards of his country.
Solo for saxophone
The invention of Adolf Saks is popular all over the world, but not all lovers of the hoarse voice of the saxophone know that it was created by Belgian. He invented his famous tool in 1842 in Brussels and presented it at the exhibition, after which Saks was accused of "malicious falsification and quantity", He lost the case in court and was forced to pay a huge fine. According to the sentence, "musical instrument called "Saxophone" no, never and can not be"!
Today, at the homeland of Saks in the Belgian town, Dinant can be passed down the street Adolf Sax. Its name is called flowers, medicines, buns and souvenirs. And it is difficult to believe that at one time the sacker and the inventor of Sax did not find an understanding of any native city, nor in the Belgian capital. But he created not only a saxophone, but also several dozen other tools – patented 35 inventions! About a hundred of his saxophones and saxharov make up today Golden Fund Collection of the Brussels Museum of Musical Instruments.
Sax in poverty and oblivion. This recognition in the homeland, and all over the world, came to him much later, with the advent of jazz music.
A hundred years after the death of Saks, the Belgian Treasury placed his portrait on 200-franc banking. Truth, "Financial triumph" The musician lasted for a short time – before the transition of Belgium with francs on the euro.