Belgium has to thank the advantages of its location for the fact that it has survived the vicissitudes of time and events. Geography corrccts for it the hesitations of History, makes good its shortcomings and tempers its rigours. A country without natural frontiers, having within it three cultural communities and four linguistic regions, Belgium is nevertheless cemented by the economic union of its regions, by the intense circulation of persons and products which animates its activities, by the dynamism of a development which projects it beyond its limits and carries it beyond the borders. Social life, production and trade form the features of its moral being. It is in these activities that the country’s self-expression and harmony are achieved, and it is there that the foreign observer should seek the image of Belgium.


Undergoing an incessant metamorphosis, it would follow Goethe’s exhortation: ‘Die and become!’, while replacing ‘ die’ by an even more imperious ‘live’! This land which has so often been ploughed up by shells, this cockpit of continental hegemonies, holds death and the wars which lead to it in horror. Worn out by foreign occupations, devastated, pillaged at regular intervals, Belgium which has seen for itself the cruel vanity of war wishes only for peace. Peace means life blossoming in all aspects. Nothing could and nothing can hold in check the love of life which burns ardently in a land that has so often been ravaged.

The Atomium constructed for the 1958 World Fair.

Contrasts of two worlds : in the foreground, the Congress Hall, the scene of many international gatherings; in the background, the heart of old Brussels.

Antwerp, second biggest town of Belgium, third largest port in the world and commercial and industrial centre of prime importance.

The inclined barge elevator of Ronquieres, extending over six kilometres, is one of the most original public works in the world.

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