Special Sub-Topic: History of Belgium
|Brussels (Brussel; Bruxelles) was bombarded by the French. After this the whole "Grande Place" was destroyed. Only a few stone buildings survived. When?|
1695. In 1695 Brussels was attacked by the French King Louis XIV. The result is disastrous: more than 4,000 houses and the Grande Place were completely destroyed.
|If you believe the story, the name of Antwerp (Antwerpen; Anvers) comes from "Hand Werpen" (throwing a hand). The story tells that someone threw a giant's hand into the river. Who had thrown the hand?|
Brabo. In the middle of the 'Grote Markt' stands the Brabo fountain. The statue was made by sculptor Jef Lambeaux in 1887. According to a legend, a terrible giant, called Druoon Antigoon, lived on the banks of the river Scheldt in ancient times. Whenever sailors on the Scheldt river refused to pay toll to the giant, he punished them by cutting off their hand. A Roman soldier, Silvius Brabo, managed to kill the giant. Brabo cut off the hand of the giant and threw the hand away in the river.
Hence, according to the legend, the name of the city : hand (Engl.: hand) -werpen (Engl.: to throw). A nice legend, but untrue. Nevertheless, the 'hand' is the symbol of Antwerp. There are hands in the town flag. Also there are several sweets in the form of a hand (cookies, chocolates).
|Prince Philippe is the heir to the throne. But his sister Princess Astrid is 2 years older. |
f. Prince Philippe was born in Brussels on April 15, 1960. He is the first child of King Albert II and Queen Paola and is thus first in line to succeed to the Throne. As such, he also bears the title of Duke of Brabant.
Princess Astrid, Princess of Belgium and Archduchess of Austria-Este was born in Brussels on June 5, 1962. She is the second child of King Albert II and Queen Paola.
|Bruges (Brugge) is also known as "Venice of the North". What is the name of the body of water leading to the port of Bruges?|
The Zwin. In the eleventh century Bruges had expanded to become a commercial centre for Europe. But during this period the natural link between Bruges and the sea silted up. A storm flood in 1134 changed the appearance of the Flemish coastal plain however. A deep channel appeared, the Zwin, which at the time reached as far as present day Damme. The city remained linked to the sea until the fifteenth century via a canal from the Zwin to Bruges. But Bruges had to use a number of outports, such as Damme and Sluis for this purpose. Note that the nickname 'Venice of the North' is also used of Amsterdam and Stockholm.
|There have been many famous Belgian people who have worked under a pseudonym. What was Hergé's real name?|
George Rémi. Hergé, or George Rémi, was a Belgian cartoonist. He drew comic strips about two young rascals "Quick et Flupke" and adventures of a boy, girl and their chimpanzee "Jo, Zette et Jocko", but Tintin was the cartoon that made him famous. The precise perfectionism of the series has gained many admirers and almost as much followers but none of the others have succeeded in breathing life to the style comparable to technical drawings. Hergé drew all the books himself and nobody ever completed the last book after he had deceased
|Belgium became an independent country in 1830. Before 1830 it belonged to many various countries; what is the name of the last one?|
The Netherlands. At the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, Belgium (The 'Southern' Netherlands) and the 'Northern' Netherlands were united to form one State. This new state was ruled by King William I from Holland. After a series of incidents, revolution erupted in Brussels in 1830.
|Belgium has how many provinces?|
10. First the names of the provinces in Dutch, then the French names.
Dutch names: West-Vlaanderen; Oost-Vlaanderen; Antwerpen; Limburg; Vlaams-Brabant; Waals-Brabant; Luxemburg: Luik; Namen; Henegouwen
French names : Flandre occidentale; Flandre orientale; Anvers; Limbourg; Brabant flamand; Brabant wallon; Luxembourg; Liège; Namur; Hainaut
|There are many famous Belgian beers. One of them is Stella Artois. What is the name of the city where the brewery was founded?|
Leuven&Louvain. It was Christmas time 1926, in the city of Leuven (Louvain in French). As every year, the brewery of the family Artois brewed a special beer, a very light pilsner. Because it was so bright and shiny and it was Christmas, they called it "Stella", the Italian word for "star". It became the most popular beer of this type.
|Belgium won the Eurovison Song Contest only once. Who was the singer?|
Sandra Kim. Beglium won the contest in 1986. The Belgian singer was Sandra Kim with the song "J'Aime la Vie" and won with 176 points.
|The city of Luik (Liège in French) is the capital of Belgium. |
f. Brussels is the capital of Belgium. The city of Luik is the capital of the province of Luik.
|In Luik (Liège) there is the Montagne de Bueren, a hill with a great panoramic view over the city. How many steps does the staircase to the top of the hill have?|
406. Those who are not afraid of some physical effort can take a walk up the 406 steps of the "Montagne de Bueren": the reward is be a fantastic panoramic view over the city of Liège.
According to legend, the 600 Franchimontese soldiers climbed the hill in 1468 to take the camp of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. They were lead by the Liège patriot Bueren, who wanted to encourage his fellow citizens to take up arms against Charles the Bold who had taken the city. The whole plan failed, the 600 Franchimontese were killed and the city was plundered for 7 weeks. As a matter of fact, the whole incident took place on another hill in the city. The Montagne de Bueren staircase was actually only built in 1880 to allow the soldiers of the garrison on top of the hill to go down to the center without having to pass through the dangerous little alleys.
If you're still fit enough after having reached the top of the staircase, you can go a little bit higher to the terraced park from where the best panoramic photographs of Liège can be taken.
|The city of Ypres (Ieper) was totally destroyed in the first World War. Many soldiers from the both sides were killed in actions to capture the hills around the city. In Menin Street (Menenstraat) is a war monument build with the names of 54,896 soldiers that were reported killed or missing in the Great War.
What was the nationality of those soldiers?|
British and Commonwealth. When entering the Menenstraat (Menin Street), the most important war monument of Ypres can be seen: the Menin Gate. The name 'Menin' is the English and French version of the city which is called in Dutch 'Menen'. The Menin Gate was rebuilt as a British War Memorial. It is a large triumphal arch in the neo-classical style and was built between 1923 and 1927 on the site of the former city gate. The gate was designed by the British srchitect, Sir Reginald Bloomfield. Under the roof and on the inside walls of the monument are the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers dead and missing in the Great War. Every night, the Ypres Fire Department plays here 'The Last Post' at 8 p.m. as a tribute to the fallen soldiers.
|In the Walloon region of Belgium, there is a town called Spa. It is famous for a drink. What kind of drink?|
water&mineral water. In the English language there is a specific word for 'health resort' or 'place with thermal baths', namely the word Spa. Very often people don't know that in the Walloon region of Belgium lies the beautiful city of Spa. The name of this city has been a synonym for 'thermal bath' or 'health resort' since the 17th century. Already the Romans had discovered the benefits of this place and the name of the city probably comes from the Latin words 'espa' (fountain) and 'sparsa' (from spargere = to bubble up).
One of the most famous mineral waters that can be found in Belgian supermarkets is the SPA brand - another famous mineral water is called "Chaudfontaine", named after the neighbouring town of the same name) . Already in the 16th century Spa water was exported. Some of the regular customers were the kings of France (for example, Henry III). Shortly before the First World War a water exporting company was founded, called Spa-Monopole. It is still now the only company that bottles and sells Spa water. Its main symbol has always been the red clown trying desperately to put the bubbling water back into the Spa bottle.
|This famous painting can be seen in the Saint Bavo cathedral of Ghent. It is considered to be one of the artistic masterpieces in Belgium. It also is considered one of the most influential and beautiful paintings of the Middle Ages and of the Flemish school of painting. The actual dimensions of the painting when closed are 3.75m x 2.60m, when opened 3.75m x 5.20m. What is the name of this painting by the Van Eyck brothers?|
The adoration of the mystic lamb. It is located in St. Bavo Cathedral, Ghent (Gent, Gand), in the left side-chapel.
Opening times : enquire locally if visiting, as these may change and may vary depending on the time of year.
All the other paintings are painted Pieter Paul Rubens, and can be visited in The "Our Lady's Cathedral" in Antwerp.
|In WW2 Bastogne was bombed by the German troops from the 18th December 1944 onwards and encircled on the 20th of December 1944. The town was defended by the 101st Airborne Division under the command of General A.C. McAuliffe. For total of six days Bastogne underwent a terrible siege. In the neighbouring villages of Neffe, Marvie and Champs terrible battles take place during which numerous soldiers from both armies fell in the cold snowed-under hills of the Ardennes. At 11.30 am on December the 22nd, the Germans asked Bastogne to surrender.
General McAuliffe's reply was very brief indeed. What was it?|
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