By Madi Mills & Rebecca Kelley
Trends That have impacted Belgian Culture
Belgium has a history that is rich with significant events that have, in some way, shape or form, impacted their culture today.
For example, Belgium was declared independent from the Netherlands in 1830, as a result of the unjust treatment and the differences in religion between the french speaking Belgians and their Dutch king. This allowed them to have their own government, laws, and independence from the Netherlands, therefore creating their own culture.
Belgium became a monarchy one year after it was declared independent. A monarchy is a government where one person is the head of a country, and they usually use the title king or queen. King Leopold 1 was the first monarch of Belgium, and helped strengthen the new parliamentary system and maintain Belgium's neutrality within Europe. Belgian people didn't have the right to speak against the king, so whatever the king said went. Therefore, the monarchs had much influence on the culture of Belgium.
One specific event that affected how Belgian people thought about countries and cultures in Europe was the German invasion of Belgium in 1914. This invasion was a part of the German Atrocities of World War 1. German soldier's made their way across Belgium, committing large massacres and killing thousands of innocent jewish citizens. This historical event affected many people's lives and is therefore a large part of Belgium's history and culture.
Culture is the events, decisions, beliefs and behaviours of a country. The citizens of Belgium today have been rounded by all the things mentioned above and therefore a distinct Belgium culture exists in the European community today.
The Globalization of Belgium
International trade is one of the simplest forms of globalization, and is a main factor in the globalization of Belgium. A prime example of this is the world famous Belgium chocolates, which are exported internationally. In order to export these chocolates globally, a transportation system has to be in place, such as rail systems, road ways, and airplanes. Belgium's communication systems, such as internet, tele-communications and televisions and movies promotes Belgium internationally and globally. Due to these communication systems, Belgium's culture and these chocolates are promoted globally.
Belgium and Atlantic Canada
Belgian settlers came to Atlantic Canada in the late 1800's to work as coal miners in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. These coal miners brought a whole new community to the maritime provinces, filled with their recreational, religious and social customs, such as their unique cuisine.
Belgian food is heavily influenced by French and German cooking, for example the 'Moules frites' is French for 'Mussels and French Fries'. This dish is a well known meal in Belgium, and Atlantic Canada now serves it in many restaurants. We can only assume it was brought to Eastern Canada by Belgium immigrants.
French fries, a food eaten anywhere from North America to Australia, originated in Belgium, despite the misleading name. They were invented by the French speaking Belgians, around the 17th century. Now, hundreds of years later, people all over the world are enjoying french fries, including the inhabitants of Atlantic Canada.
Belgium and Atlantic Canada are both known for supplying goods for each other. Belgium ships it's famous chocolate, waffles and beer to the maritime provinces, while Atlantic Canada supplies their famous red lobster for Belgium's annual "Atlantic Canadian Lobster Festival". For an entire month each spring, lobsters from Atlantic Canada are featured in over 50 restaurants in Belgium to be enjoyed by Belgians taste buds.
In conclusion, Belgium is not necessarily a main influence in Atlantic Canadian culture, but it shines through in things like cuisine.
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