Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pro Belgica Call to Patriots

Pro Belgica has sent out a message to all members to address the sad state of political stalemate in the country. As they said, to ignore this is to stick our heads in the sand -the situation is not looking good for our country. The radical elements are the ones more happy at this moment, not the good and loyal people who love their country. In their words, "Les flamingants, à ne pas confondre avec nos frères flamands, se font de plus en plus radicaux, de plus en plus pressants pour revendiquer l'autonomie de la Flandre, et certains extrémistes wallons et bruxellois ne sont pas en reste."

However, they hold out hope that the majority of Belgians have not been brain washed by the extremism and support to continue our unity and independence. So, a great patriotic demonstration is being called for Saturday 24 September 2011 to coincide with the 181st anniversary of independence and the 180th anniversary of the Belgian royal dynasty since the battles of 1830. They also ask for arguments, written or oral, to make the case of supporting the country. Let the national colors be waved, let the world see that the Belgians have not given up to the extremists, the sacrifices of past generations will not be brought to ruin. We love our country, we love our King and Family Royal. We reject extremism and separatism. Eendracht maakt macht! L'union fait la force! For more and to show support people are directed to René Lievens, President of the Dynastic Movement.

Kan koning Albert naar verjaardag Burundi?

Mag koning Albert II naar het Afrikaanse Burundi? Het is een vraag die het demissionaire Belgische kabinet voorlopig niet wil beantwoorden.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Belgian Royals in Washington Area

Aside from the business issues of the royal visit to America (which as much as I can tell the U.S. media still ignores, I think a little unfair since if President Obama came to Belgium he would get all the attention) Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde have also made time for some solemn commemorations. While in New York City the Duke and Duchess of Brabant visited Ground Zero (former site of the World Trade Center) and placed a wreath their sent by the King in honor of the victims of the terrible terrorist attack (there was one Belgian killed in the 9-11 attack and of course many friends). Yesterday, moving to the Washington DC area, the couple visited Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia where, you can see in the picture, they placed a memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of those who died in Belgium during World War II at the battle of the Bulge. It is very appropriate to remember the brave Americans who, with all the other Allied powers, fought to liberate the Kingdom of Belgium from the Nazi occupation. Thanks America!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Belgian Royal Visit to America

Prince Philippe and Prince Mathilde are now on a visit to the United States. I just learned this, nothing seen on the news programs about it at all. They arrived on Wednesday and will stay through the end of the month. They came with a large delegation of Belgian businessmen to hopefully encourage more economic ties and business deals between the United States and the Kingdom of Belgium. They arrived in New York City and will also visit Washington DC and Boston before returning home.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today in Belgian History

A friend of mine gave me the idea for this, a way to expand on the "Famous Belgians" postings.

Today in 1305 the Treaty of Athis-sur-Orge was signed between King Philippe IV of France and Count Robert III, the "Lion of Flanders". By this treaty Lille, Douai and Béthune were ceded to the King of France in return for which Flanders was allowed to remain as an autonomous fiefdom by the French power. This resulted from the French victory at the Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle.

Also, today in 1612, in Antwerp, was born the great mathematics scholar André Tacquet. He was a Roman Catholic priest of the Society of Jesus and he prepared the foundation in his work for the eventual discovery of calculus. Famous mathematic experts such as Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, John Wallis and Blaise Pascal all later became famous building on his work.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Beast of Berlin

In 1918 Hollywood made a propaganda movie called "The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin" to show the American people just how evil and wicked was Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II. Almost every detail in it was wrong but nobody cared, it was about the enemy! It is an interesting film to show how Allied propaganda worked in the First World War and it was made before the war ended so they could indulge their imagination as to how they thought things would work out for the Kaiser. What caused me to give my attention was the treatment of our King Albert I who is something of an avenger in the movie, so very interesting for that. I am obviously not happy that the Germans invaded Belgium and caused such atrocities and misery but this movie is really incorrect and King Albert was actually someone who wanted to just end the war without any more countries being ruined. I don't think he cared that much about having revenge on anyone.

In this movie the Kaiser is really a beast! He is vicious and cruel to everyone, his own people too, and he wants to cause as much pain and suffering as possible. The hero of the movie is Macas, a blacksmith in Louvain who has to save his daughter from being ravaged by a German soldier when the Kaiser orders Belgium to be invaded. The country is brutalized and it makes the Kaiser very happy. But, since this is a movie for American audience, the action quickly moves on from "plucky little Belgium" to scenes that involve the United States. A British ocean liner, Lusitania, is sunk by a German submarine drowning lots of American women and children. The Kaiser is so happy he gives a medal to the U-boot captain for killing so many civilians but the captain feels bad and later kills himself. The United States goes to war and the Kaiser boasts that when Germany wins the war he will see America broken up and destroyed. There are many scenes of German atrocities but the American army soon comes to France to save the day.

The ending is most interesting to me. No one making this movie thought there would be such a thing as the armistice. They have Germany being totally crushed and invaded by the Allied armies who march in to occupy Berlin and take the Kaiser prisoner. The Allied leaders and generals all meet in the Kaiser's palace to decide how to punish the war criminal who is such a monster. You think they will kill him? I thought this movie would do that but, maybe they thought that would make them too much like the Kaiser so they all decide that it is only justice for King Albert I of the Belgians to be given the Kaiser to deal with since Belgium was the innocent country Germany first invaded. King Albert decided it will be fitting punishment to keep the Kaiser in prison and he appoints the blacksmith Macas from Louvain to be his guard, a representative of the people who most suffered and now the shoe is on the other foot for the cruel Kaiser. Almost everything there is not true of course. The Kaiser did not order atrocities and though the ocean liner was sunk the captain did not get a medal for sinking it and he did not kill himself, he died in action later in the war I think. We also know the war did not end with the Allies in Berlin but this is an unashamed openly propaganda film and it caused a great deal of anti-German hatred as you can imagine. The involvement of King Albert, of course, I found interesting.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Philippe et Marie, comte et comtesse de Flandre

Troisième fils du roi Léopold Ier et de la reine Louise-Marie (après Louis-Philippe mort à l'âge d'un an et le futur roi Léopold II), le prince Philippe naît au château de Laeken le 24 mars 1837. En 1840, son père le titre comte de Flandre. A l'âge de 13 ans, il perd sa maman. Sa formation est assurée par des précepteurs privés et complétée par un passage au sein du régiment des Guides. Passionné par les arts et les lettres, ce prince discret ne s'intéresse pas à la politique : il refuse les trônes de Grèce en 1862 et de Roumanie en 1866, ainsi qu'un mariage avec la princesse héritière du Brésil. [Plus]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

King Albert I

My friend The Mad Monarchist has posted a look at the life of King Albert I. Of course I agree that he was a great man and he was also the only Allied head of state to lead his soldiers in the field to final victory. He was the steady leadership at the time when the future of our countrie was decided, when it was not certain if Belgium would even exist if the Germans had won. Even to the very end the Germans had wanted to keep Belgium or at least the Flanders coast (part of France as well) and even if Belgium had not resisted I cannot imagine the Germans just going back to the way things were once they already occupied the whole country. King Albert led the fight against the invaders and his courage and calm style inspired people to resist, to work harder for the liberation and to struggle on in continue to the final victory. He was, I think, the best monarch of his era. Leve de Koning! Vive l'Roi!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Famous Belgians

Today in history saw the death of Mons native Flemish composer Orlande de Lassus in 1594. Also on this day died cartoonist Jean Roba, native of Schaerbeek and a Knight of the Order of Leopold in 2006.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Honour for Antwerp Station

Congratulations to Antwerp Central Stations winning the Europa Nostrum Prize, a European heritage award (international) for restoration projects. Antwerp Central Station was one of the many ambitious building programs of King Leopold II.

Famous Belgians

Today was born microbiologist and winner of the Nobel Prize Jules Bordet in 1870.

Today also was born Senator Jean-Marie Dedecker in 1952.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Queen Fabiola is 83

A special weekend update to congratulate Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium on her 83rd birthday! She is a great lady, a much beloved member of the Royal Family and I think she's the best!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Famous Belgians

Today is the birthday of two famous Belgians:

Jan Frans De Boever, born in Ghent in 1872, is a world famous painter, known for his morbid-erotic styles. Not to the taste of everyone of course (seems he thought women were evil) but that is how art is.

Also, Kim Clijsters, the tennis star, born in Bilzen in 1983, she is probably more famous around the world today. In 2011 Time Magazine ranked her as the 16th most influential person in the world, the first person from the world of sports named on the list.

Duchess of Richmond Ball

If you have read some of the history of the downfall of Napoleon or seen the famous movie "Waterloo" you will remember the glamorous ball held by the Duchess of Richmond in Brussels. This was held for the officers of the Allied army, local officials and celebrities and everyone was there when word came from the Germans that Napoleon was advancing on Brussels. That is when the Duke of Wellington, the Prince of Orange and the Allies all left to join the army and stop Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo.

This year the ball is being held again at the British embassy in Brussels. In 1965 and 1995 it was also held to commemorate the anniversaries of the battle of Waterloo (you can see Queen Paola at the ball in the picture in 1965). This year the ball will be to benefit many Anglo-Belgian charities such as the Royal British Legion, Belgian Red Cross and others.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Another Royal Birthday

Today SM Albert II is 77 years old, Happy Birthday to the King!
The new prince with his father King Leopold III

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Joyeux anniversaire!

Today is the birthday of Princesse Astrid, Archduchess of Austria-Este. Best wishes!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Empire of the Coburgs

I found an interesting page on the website of the House Saxe-Coburg-Gotha called "Coburg and Europe" which shows the many different countries married into by the Coburg family, the Royal Family of Belgium, Great Britain and by various brides parts of many other dynasties. Those who gave connections to Germany, Greece, Russia, Romania, Sweden, Portugal, Bulgaria, Mexico, Austria, Italy and Luxembourg are all listed. I made up the map above to give a better picture of the huge portion of the earth ruled over by various members of the Coburg family. Even though there were marriage ties with the French, I did not include them since they will insist on being a republic. But what an awesome sight to see how various matches put this family from a tiny German duchy north of Bavaria to such fantastic heights of influence.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our First Queen

I just found this portrait and thought it was really nice resemblance of our first Queen.