Special Sub-Topic: Belgium in the XXth and XXIst Century
|Who was the Belgian consul in China from 1896 till 1902? He helped the Belgian industrialists to win the license to build the Chinese railroads.|
Emile Francqui. Francqui (1863-1935) was a second lieutenant in Congo from 1885 till 1896. During his consulate in China, he became director of the Compagnie Internationale d'Orient. After his consulate, he started working with the Société Générale de Belgique, where he became governor in 1932. He founded a scholarship for scientific research.
The other people I mentioned were all active in aviation. Junkers (1859-1935) was a German airplane constructor and started an air transport company (later taken over by Deutsche Lufthansa). Blériot (1872-1936) constructed airplanes and was the first to cross the Channel in 1909. Dassault (1892-1986) started a company to make fighter planes during WWI, but failed to meet the quantity desired. His second company, started in 1936, became world famous with the Mirage fighter planes.
|In 1903 started a new tradition in a small village in the province of Hainaut: young virgins invite all single men for coffee and cake. In which village does this feast take place every Whit Monday?|
Ecaussines-Lalaing. Eupen, Alost and Binche are famous places for carnivals, but as these take place long before Easter, they are not what we are looking for.
The tradition called "Le Goûter Matrimonial" ("The Matrimonial Teatime") in Ecaussines-Lalaing is in fact the revival of an ancient tradition finding its origin in the pagan Walpurgisnacht (night of April 30th to May 1st). Although the religious authorities did forbid the ceremony (first recorded in 578 A.D), it continued up till the XIXth century, but without official support.
In 1902, the son of the Village Secretary announced the revival of the "Matrimonial Teatime" for Whit Monday 1903 (June 1st). Maybe he intended it as a hoax, but the marriageable girls took their chance. In 1948, the tradition was institutionalised by means of a public committee: "Les Amis de la Folklore" ("The Friends of Folklore") took on the task of continuing the yearly festivity.
|Who was the mayor of Brussels during World War I? He is best known for the following incident on August 20th, 1914. When a German officer started negotiating food supplies while displaying his gun, this mayor showed a pencil in response.|
Adolphe Max. Bara (1835-1900) was a liberal senator and Minister of Justice. He represented the province of Hainaut.
De Brouckère (1870 - 1951) was a socialist senator. He was member of the Brussels City Council from 1896 to 1904.
Jaspar (1870-1939) was member of the Catholic Party and represented Liege. He became Minister of Foreign Affairs (1920-1924) and was twice Prime Minister (1926-1927 and again from 1927-1931).
Adolphe Max (1869 - 1939) was a liberal politician and art lover. He was Mayor of Brussels from 1909 till 1939.
All these people have given their names to streets, avenues and squares in Brussels.
|October 12th, 1915. In Brussels the German occupation force executed an English nurse, accused of helping wounded English and French soldiers to escape. Who was she? |
Edith Cavell. Gabrielle Petit (1893-1916) was a girl in the Belgian resistance. She was charged with espionage and executed by the Germans. Her execution did not raise international protest, as it was only discovered after the end of WWI.
Hannie Schaft (1920-1945) was a girl in the Dutch resistance during WWII. She delivered parcels and pamphlets, but was also involved in the liquidation of some collaborators.
Sophie Scholl (1921-1943) and her brother Hans (1918-1943) founded the resistance organisation "Die Weisse Rose" ("The White Rose") against the Nazi party. They distributed pamphlets and decorated public buildings with graffiti such as "Down with Hitler".
Edith Cavell (1865-1915) was born in Norfolk. She worked in a Brussels hospital. In spite of being member of the International Red Cross (and thus having to observe strict neutrality), she undertook rescue actions for British soldiers. The international press unleashed a campaign of hatred after her execution, which resulted in massive enlistment for the Allied forces. There are statues in her honour in Brussels, London (just off Trafalgar Square) and in Norwich (by the main public gateway to the Cathedral).
|Up till 1919, Belgium had a land border with five countries: the Netherlands, Germany, Luxemburg, France and a very small independent country named "Independent Moresnet". This last country had a territory of only 33 hectares, and was situated near the Belgian-Dutch-German border.|
t. Independent Moresnet was the base of a zinc mine. As none of the neighbouring countries would assure zinc production, the zinc mine became an independent country and had its own post stamps, custom-houses and so on. Nowadays the territory of the former Independent Moresnet is a part of the German speaking village of Kelmis. In 1994, this village had 9,801 inhabitants.
|Which Belgian city organised the Olympic Games in 1920?|
Antwerp. The Antwerp Olympic Games were quite a sporting success for Belgium. Belgian athletes won 16 gold medals in 1920. After World War II, Belgian athletes only won 11 gold medals in the Olympic Games from 1948 till 2004.
Liege organised a World Expo in 1930 (together with Antwerp), as did Brussels in 1935 and in 1958. The Brussels Expo in 1958 has been symbolised by the "Atomium", one of the few structures that survived the Expo.
Ghent is known for its Floral Expo (organised every five years) and for the Expo Flanders Technology International (organised every two years).
|Fernande Voisin (born on June 21st, 1917), Gilberte Voisin (born on June 20th, 1919), Albert Voisin (born on September 3rd, 1921), Andrée Degeimbre (born on April 19th, 1918) and Gilberte Degeimbre (born on August 13th, 1923) were good friends when something changed their lives completely. Starting on November 29th, 1932, these five children caught a glimpse of Our Lady 33 times. In which Belgian village did these miracles happen? |
Beauraing. Mary revealed herself to three children in Fatima (Portugal) in 1917. Francisco (1908-1919) and Jacinta (1910-1920) died soon afterwards, and Lucia (born in 1907) wrote down secret messages of Our Lady. The first part of the message predicts World War II quite accurately: war would start while Pius XI was Pope. In fact, Pius XI died in February 1939, and the Second World War began with the German invasion in Poland in September 1939.
Lourdes is of course the French place in which Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) is told to have spotted Maria several times in 1858. Ever since, Lourdes is one of the major places of pilgrimage in the world.
The Black Madonna of Czestochowa (Poland) is a painting to which are attributed some miracles. The most recent miracle was recorded in 1920, when the mysterious apparition of the Black Madonna would have scared off a Russian army near the river Vistula.
Our Lady in Beauraing would have only asked for a chapel in Beauraing. This chapel was built and is now one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Belgium.
|August 29th, 1935. The Belgian King Leopold III and his wife are victims of a car accident. Leopold is not injured, but the Queen dies on the spot. Who was this Belgian Queen?|
Astrid of Sweden. Louise-Marie (1812-1850) married King Leopold I on August 9th, 1832.
Marie-Henriette (1836-1902) married Leopold II on August 22nd, 1853. Leopold II became the second Belgian King in 1865. From that date on, Marie-Henriette got the title of Queen.
Elisabeth (1876-1965) married Albert I on October 2nd, 1900. Albert became the third Belgian King (and hence Elisabeth, Queen of Belgium) in 1909.
Astrid (1905-1935) married Leopold III on November 4th, 1926. Leopold became the fourth Belgian King on February 23rd, 1934. Astrid had only been Queen for one and a half year when she died. The accident was one of the most serious tragedies that ever hit the Belgian Royal family.
|April 5th, 1943. A squadron of American bombers missed their target and bombed by accident the centre of a village in the province of Antwerp, instead of the Erla factory based on its outskirts. In which village did this error make at least 830 innocent victims?|
Mortsel. In August 1914, a number of German officers died of shot wounds. The German High Command blamed it on Belgian snipers. In retaliation, the German army burnt down the main road of the university town of Leuven (as well as the university library) and executed 177 civilians.
Passendale (at that time written Passchendaele) is a small town near Ypres. The allied armies started an attack on Passendale in 1917. Alas, the attack started July 31st resulted in only obtaining minimal territorial gains at a very high cost in terms of life.
Bastogne is of course most famous as the stronghold by General McAuliffe in December 1944, who withstood the German attacks. He famously replied "Nuts" when the Germans asked him to surrender.
The bombardment of Mortsel in 1943 was only recognised as a war catastrophe in 2003. It has been said that the mistake was due to the wind: American reconnaissance planes had marked the target using smoke, but by the time the bombing squads had appeared the smoke had been blown away.
|Which Belgian politician was the first chairman of the General Assembly of the United Nations?|
Paul-Henri Spaak. Lefebvre (1914-1973) was member of the Christene Volkspartij (Christian People's Party). He was Prime Minister from 1961 till 1965.
Gutt (1884-1971) was Minister of Economics from 1940 till 1944. He restricted the amount of money in Belgium just after WWII: every family could spend only of 2,000 BEF (what corresponds nowadays with about 50 EUR), the rest was frozen. Gutt became the President of the International Monetary Fund in 1946.
Collard (1902-1981) was a socialist Minister of Education from 1954 till 1958. His revolutionary plans to diminish the financial resources of Catholic schools lead to a major strike.
Spaak (1899-1972) was Belgian Prime Minister from 1937 till 1939, again in 1946 (though only for 13 days) and once again from 1947 till 1949. He was chairman of the first General Assembly of the United Nations in 1946. In 1957, he became Secretary-General of the NATO.
|In 1946 the comic strip series by the name of Tintin was launched. What is the real name (not the pseudonym) of the author?|
Georges Remi. Georges Remi (1907-1983) chose the pseudonym Hergé - his full initials in reverse. Tintin is a journalist travelling the world with his dog.
Maurice Debevere was born in 1923. He chose the pseudonym Morris and started the comic strip series "Lucky Luke" in 1947. The main character is "a poor lonesome cowboy far away from home".
Marc Neels was born in 1922. He took the pseudonym Marc Sleen and started the strip series "Nero" in 1947. The title character was not intended to be the main character: initially Sleen wanted to write on the detective Van Zwam. As Nero was far more popular, Sleen made him the title character.
Vandersteen (1913-1990) kept his family name, but abbreviated his first name to Willy. He is best known for his series "Suske en Wiske" (in English: "Spike and Suzy"), figuring two orphans in their early teens.
|Many people think of this movie director as being a Frenchmen. But in fact this scientist did have a Belgian passport. Who was this man, most famous for his documentary movies on volcanic activity?|
Haroun Tazieff. Lemaître (1894-1966) was a Belgian astronomer. He put forward the theory of the "Big Bang" in 1927. Later scientific data corroborated his theory of the expanding universe.
Cousteau (1910-1997) was a French geographer and movie director. He is most famous for his documentary movies on the deep sea.
Piccard (1884-1962) was a Swiss scientist. He specialised in exploring the highest layers of the atmosphere, as well as the deep sea. He was a teacher at the Brussels University from 1922 till 1954.
Tazieff (1914-1998) was born in Warsaw, the son of a Russian father and Polish mother. He immigrated to Belgium and acquired Belgian nationality. Working for the Belgian Congolese Geological Society, he started studying volcanoes in Belgian Congo in 1948. In 1953, he moved to Paris and adopted French nationality (whilst keeping his Belgian passport).
|What was the major news fact in Belgium and the Netherlands on February 1st, 1953?|
Storm hits coast. Baudoin (1930-1993) became King in 1950, although he was still a minor. His coronation took place in 1951.
The most notorious mining accident in Belgium occurred in 1956. The coal mine "Bois de Cazier" in Marcinelle (near Charleroi) caught fire, claiming the lives of 262 miners.
The Catholic (private) schools went on strike in 1955. Their motive was the law diminishing government subsidies for Catholic education: most of the subsidies were earmarked for on public schools (without religious education).
February 1st, 1953 was a major storm that flooded the Belgian coastal areas, as well as some areas near the main rivers (Scheldt and Meuse). The Dutch province Zeeland suffered the most: 1,853 Dutch were killed. The Dutch government immediately started gigantic public works: the famous "Delta Works", finished in 1997, is designed to prevent a recurrence of such flooding in Zeeland.
|Which monument with a height of 102 m (about 110 yards) was placed in Brussels in 1958?|
Atomium. The Atomium was designed by André Waterkeyn (1917-2005). It was one of the highlights of the Brussels World Expo. It is a large scale model of an iron crystal, with nine spheres representing the Belgian provinces. (The province of Brabant was split many years later).
Saint Hubert's Gallery was the first covered shop gallery in Europe. It was opened in 1847.
The Heisel Stadium was replaced by the King Baudouin Stadium in 1993. The King Baudouin Stadium was built by the Antwerp architect Bob Van Reeth (born 1943).
The Mint Theatre was built in 1699 by the Italian architect Paolo Bezzi. But this building soon deteriorated, so it became necessary to replace it. The new Mint Theatre was built in 1819 by the French architect Louis Damesme (1757 - 1822). It serves as the Brussels Opera House.
|The Nobel Peace Prize in 1958 was awarded to the Belgian monk Georges Pire. Of which order is he a member?|
Dominicans. Father Georges Pire (1910-1969) founded the "Peace Islands", a Belgian non-profit organisation that helps development in the Third World by starting up projects together with the local people.
The most famous Belgian Jesuit was probably Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688), who modernised the equipment of the Peking Observatory.
The most famous Belgian Picpus was Father Damien, who lived with the lepers on Molokai. He was beatified in 1995.
The best known Belgian Trappists are the six Trappist ales: Westmalle, Westvleteren, Achel, Rochefort, Chimay and Orval. Famous Trappist monks include Albericus Kemps, who started the Westmalle brewery in 1836.
|September 17th, 1964. In Ghent the famous novellist Jean Raymond De Kremer, dies. Under what pseudonym did he write his masterpiece "Malpertuis"?|
Jean Ray. Jean Raymond de Kremer (1887-1964) used the name of Jean Ray (for his literature for adults) as well as the name of John Flanders (for adventure literature aimed at teenagers).
Raoul Servais (born in 1928) was not an author but a movie director who specialised in animated movies. His best known movies are "Harpya" (1978) and "Taxandria" (1994). "Harpya" won a Golden Palm at the movie festival at Cannes.
Pieter Aspe (born in 1953) started writing detective novels in 1995. He became very soon the most popular detective writer in Belgium.
|The painter we are looking for in this question died on August 15th, 1967. He was one of the major Belgian surrealist painters. His best known work is a painting of a pipe titled "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe"). With this title he meant that the painting is not a pipe, but only the picture of a pipe - or "how to paint philosophy". Who was this painter?|
Rene Magritte. Magritte (1898-1957) painted every day objects in highly uncommon situations. He would paint for example a man with a bowler hat, his face covered by an apple.
Delvaux (1897-1994) was another Belgian surrealist painter. He had an appetite for painting (almost empty) railway stations and (semi-)nude women.
Broodthaers (1924-1976) was a Belgian artist whose work is reminiscent of surrealism and Dadaism. One of his best known works is "De mosselpot" - a giant pot filled with mussel shells boiling over.
Jan Hoet (born in 1936) is not an artist himself, but is the curator of the Ghent museum for modern art. He was also director of the Documenta Exposition in Kassel (Germany) in 1992.
|July 21st, 1969. A young Belgian cyclist wins his first Tour de France. Who was this cyclist, who won in total five times the Tour de France, five times the Giro d'Italia and once the Vuelta d'España?|
Eddy Merckx & Merckx. Merckx (born in 1945) was probably the most successful cyclist ever. He not only won several classic competitions, but also the great Tour competitions and the World Championship. He also held the World Hour Record for 12 years.
|In 1975 the first and only art object was placed on the moon. This object is a small sculpture by the Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck. What is the title of this sculpture?|
Fallen Astronaut. The French sculptor (of Russian descent) Ossip Zadkine (1890 - 1967) made the sculpture "Destroyed City", placed in central Rotterdam (Netherlands) in 1953. It is a protest against war in general and, more specifically, against the bombing of cities.
Kaethe Kollwitz (1867-1945) was a German artist and sculptor. Her most famous sculpture is "Mourning Parents", placed upon the German War Cemetery at Vladslo (near Dixmude, Belgium).
"Sun God" was designed by the French sculptor Niki de Saint-Phalle (born in 1930). It is her first work for the US: a fourteen foot bird sitting on a giant arch, the bird being painted in vivid colours.
Van Hoeydonck was born in 1925 and gained inspiration from space exploration. His work includes hand-made "planets" with would-be cities.
|A Belgian singer-songwriter died near Paris in 1978. He is famous for songs as "Ne me quitte pas" ("Don't Leave Me Now") and "Le plat pays" ("The Flat Country"). What is his name?|
Jacques Brel. Adamo was born in 1943. He is a Belgian singer-songwriter. His most famous numbers include "Vous permettez, Monsieur" ("Please, Sir") and "Inch Allah" ("God is Great"). In 2001 his career as an artist spanned 40 years, but his main successes go back to the sixties.
Will Tura is the pseudonym of Arthur Blanckaert, born in 1945. His best known number is "Eenzaam zonder jou" ("Lonely Without You"). In 2005, he celebrated his 40th year as an artist.
Peter Koelewijn (born in 1940) is not a Belgian singer as the other options I've included, but a Dutch one. He became world famous with his single "Kom van dat dak af" ("Come Down from that Roof"). This single reached the top of the hit parade in 1960, 1971, 1982 and 1989. His 40th year as an artist dates from 2000.
Brel (1929-1978) performed between 1954 and 1967. Both the Flemish and the Walloon communities in Belgium nominated him as one of the ten finalists for the title of "Greatest Belgian".
|Belgium has lost the Eurovision Song Contest several times. Only one Belgian competitor won the contest: a young girl born Sandra Calderone won in 1986.What is her artist name?
But what is her artist's name?
Sandra Kim. The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1955. The only Belgian winner, Sandra Kim, was only 13 years old when she sang "J'aime la vie" ("I Love Life").
Belgium twice scored zero (!) points: in 1962 and in 1965. It was excluded from competition in 1993, 1997 and 2001, each time because its score the previous year had been very low.
|March 6th, 1987. The ferry "Herald of Free Enterprise" sinks just off Zeebrugge. What day of the week did this catastrophe take place?|
Friday. March 6th, 1987 was a cold Friday night. When the ferry "Herald of Free Enterprise" left the harbour of Zeebrugge at 19.50 hrs (local time, 18.50 GMT), some one had forgotten to close the cargo doors. At the moment of the disaster, the ferry had 590 passengers and 60 crew members on board. The ship sank rapidly, but rescue teams were in place almost immediately. Thanks to the rescue teams at least 360 people were saved.
Shortly after the Herald catastrophe, the shipping-company Townsend Thoresen, that owned the sunken ferry, was taken over by the shipping company "P & O".
|A Belgian actor played the title role in the Flemish movie "Daens" (nominated for an Oscar in 1993) and was the leading actor in the Dutch movie "Karakter" ("Character") (1997), which won an Oscar. Who is this actor, whom you'll know best from his role of Angelo Ledda in the Flemish movie "Memory of a Killer" (2003)?|
Jan Decleir. Senne Rouffaer (1925-2006) is a Flemish theatre actor, who performed some roles in television series (for example the title role in the adventure series "Kapitein Zeppos") and in several movies. The best known movie he played in would probably be "Monsieur Hawarden" (1969).
Jo de Meyere was born in 1939. He starred in several television series and performed a role in "Memory of a Killer".
Benoit Poelvoorde was born in 1964. His first movie success was "C'est arrivé près de chez vous" ("Man Bites Dog: It Happened in Your Neighbourhood"). The Walloon community nominated him for the ten finalists in the competition "Le plus grand Belge" ("The Greatest Belgian").
Jan Decleir (born in 1946) starred in over 40 movies and different TV series. His first remarkable movie role was that of Jan Breydel in "De Leeuw van Vlaanderen" (1985).
|Belgium won the Fed Cup for the very first time in 2001. Which country lost in the final?|
Russia. The US team decided not to play in Madrid following the plane attack on September 11th.
In a pool system, Belgium defeated subsequently Germany, Australia and Spain with 3-0.
The other pool was dominated by Russia, over the title favourite France.
The final match was won by Belgium with 2-1.
The Belgian team consisted of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, who played the single matches, and Els Callens and Laurence Courtois, who teamed up for the double matches.
|The man we are looking for in this last question is probably the man with the most appearances on Flemish television. He presented the weather forecast from 1953 till 1990. He died September 22nd, 2003. What is his name?|
Armand Pien. Michael Fish (born in 1944) was the BBC weather forecaster from 1974 till 2004. He became world famous for being misquoted about the storm that hit southern parts of England in October 1987: he told the audience that there was no storm hitting the Caribbean.
Jan Pelleboer (1924-1992) was the Dutch weather forecaster for many years. He started his career as a weather forecaster for radio emissions in 1972.
Danny Huwe (died December 22nd, 1989) was a war correspondent for the Flemish commercial television. He was killed in Romania during the people's rebellion against Nicolae Ceausescu.
Armand Pien (1920 - 2003) was the only Dutch speaking employee at the Royal Meteorological Society in 1953, when the first President of the Flemish (public) television started searching for someone to present a daily weather forecast. Although he officially had to retire in 1985, he continued presenting weather forecasts on television up to 1990. He made more than 5.000 appearances on television. An asteroid was named after him.
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