Return to home Belgium is about the same size as New Jersey or
Israel or Switzerland.
(SFEC, 2/14/99, Z1 p.8)(SSFC, 10/9/05, Par p.27)
Eburons, A Belgian tribe under the command of their King Ambiorix,
won a victory against the Roman Legion.
53BC Caesar claimed to have
wiped out the Celtic Eburones after they conspired with other groups
in an attack that killed 6,000 Roman soldiers. The Eburones lived in
an area that later came be known as part of Belgium, Germany and the
43AD British Celts battled the
Roman invaders in 2-wheeled chariots. The Belgae from northern Gaul
had settled in Britain and ushered in the concept of towns and the
art of enameling.
c100 Spa began as a Roman
bathing center about this time.
(WSJ, 8/7/01, p.A1)
384 May 13, Servatius
(Aravatius), bishop of Tongeren (Belgium), died at age 65.
1200-1300 In Bruges the Belfry in the Grote Merkt,
main square, was built.
(SFEC, 8/28/98, p.T12)
1235 Sep 5, Henry I, duke of
Brabant, died. Brabant was a duchy later divided between Netherlands
(WUD, 1994 p.177)(MC, 9/5/01)
1288 Sep 29, Maud de Brabant
(b.1224) died in Belgium.
1294 May 3, Jan I, The duke of
Brabant (Belgium-Netherlands), Limburg, poet, died.
1302 Jul 11, An army of French
knights, led by the Count of Artois, was routed by Flemish pikemen.
1349 Nov 1, Duke of Brabant
ordered the execution of all Jews in Brussels. He accused them of
poisoning the wells.
1352 The gothic Cathedral of
Our Lady was begun in Antwerp, Belgium. It was completed in the 16th
(Hem., 7/95, p.27)
1366 The Den Hoorn brewery was
founded in Leuven (Belgium). In 1717 Sebastian Artois brought his
name to the brewery.
(Econ, 12/17/11, p.124)
1370 May 22, Jews were expelled
(massacred) from Brussels, Belgium.
1382 May 5, In the Battle of
Beverhoutsveld, Belgium, the population beat a drunken army.
1387 Jul 22, French Ackerman
(c57), Ghent rebel, leader of Reisers, was murdered.
1389 Mar 31, Everhard
Tserclaes, sheriff of Brussels, was murdered.
1416 May 7, Monk Nicolaas
Serrurier was arrested for heresy at Tournay, Belgium.
1426 Hubert van Eyck
(1385-1426) began work on The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, later
known as the Ghent Altarpiece. The 12-panel work was completed in
1432 by his younger brother Jan van Eyck. It was the first major oil
painting in history.
1464 Jun 18, Roger Van Der
Weyden (b.1400), Flemish painter, died. He had mastered the new
technique of oil painting and served as the official painter to the
city of Brussels.
1496 Oct 20, Spains Juana of
Castile (1479-1555) married Philip the Handsome, the Duke of
Burgundy, in Lier (later a part of Belgium). Philip's parents were
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor and his first wife, Duchess Mary of
Burgundy. Juana had sailed from Spain with 15,000 men to the
Habsburg Netherlands. Between 1498 and 1507, she gave birth to six
children: two emperors and four queens.
1500 Feb 24, Charles V, king of
Spain, was born in Ghent, Belgium. He was the last Holy Roman
Emperor to be crowned by the Pope.
(HN, 2/24/99)(SFEC, 11/21/99, p.T10)
1505 Dec 18, John IX van Horne,
prince-bishop of Lieges, Belgium, was executed.
1512 Mar 5, Gerardus Mercator
(d.1594), Flemish philosopher and cartographer, was born in
Rupelmonde, Flanders (later Belgium).
1514 Dec 31, Andreas Vesalius
(d.1564), anatomist, author of "De Humani Corporis Fabrica," was
born in Brussels, Belgium
(NH, 10/96, p.34)(TL-MB, 1988, p.15)(MC,
1522 Feb 7, Treaty of Brussels:
Habsburgers split into Spanish and Austrian Branches.
1523 Jul 1, Hendrik Voes,
Flemish priest, church reformer, was burned at stake along with John
of Esschen (Jan van Essen), Flemish priest, church reformer. The 2
monks were executed in Brussels for refusing to recant their
(http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_van_Essen)(Econ, 12/17/11, p.94)
c1525 Joos van Cleve, Belgian
painter, painted "St. John the Evangelist on Patmos."
(MT, Spg. 97, p.20)
1530-1531 The Antwerp exchange was founded for
brokers to trade shares and commodities.
(TL-MB, p.14)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
c1535 Tapestries called the
"The Triumph of the Seven Virtues" were produced in Brussels. The
Triumph of Fortitude and the Triumph of Prudence were later
conserved and exhibited in San Francisco.
(SFC, 2/7/01, p.E1)
1535 Imperial authorities in
Antwerp captured and imprisoned William Tyndale for heresy over his
translation of the Bible into English.
(WSJ, 12/22/94, A-20)
1536 Oct 6, William Tyndale
(b.1494), the English translator of the New and Old Testament, was
burned at the stake at Vilvoorde Castle (Belgium) as a heretic by
the Holy Roman Empire.
1540 King Charles V returned to
Ghent and brutally beat down an uprising against taxes for an
expansionist war. Nine leaders were beheaded and another hanged.
City burgers were forced to walk the streets barefoot with rope
hanging round their necks. The "Gentse Feesten" annual festival
re-enacts this event every mid-July.
(SFEC, 11/21/99, p.T10)
1543 Andreas Vesalius, Belgian
physician, published his "De humani corporis fabrica" (Concerning
the Fabric of the Human Body), which contained the first complete
description of the human body.
(TL-MB, 1988, p.15)(WSJ, 10/19/99, p.A24)
1544 May 29, Jacobus Latomus
[Jasques Masson] (~68), Belgian inquisitor, died.
1550 By this time the canals of
Bruges had filled with silt.
(SSFC, 2/24/02, p.C5)
1559 Mar 14, Jacques d'Auchy,
Walloon Baptist merchant, was executed.
1567 Aug 8, Duke of Alba's army
entered Brussels, Belgium.
1568 Jun 1, Duke of Alba
beheaded 18 nobles in Brussels. (MC, 6/1/02)
1568 Jun 4, Lamoraal, Count
Egmont, prince of Gavere, was beheaded in Brussels for opposition to
the Spanish Inquisition. He became a heroic figure in Goethe's play
and Beethoven's musical setting. Philips van Montmorency comte
d'Horn, admiral, statesman, was also beheaded along with 18 other
leaders of the Flemish opposition.
(PCh, 1992, p.195)(MC, 6/5/02)
1568 Jun 5, Ferdinand, the Duke
of Alba, crushed the Calvinist insurrection in Ghent (Belgium).
1577 Sep 23, William of Orange
made his triumphant entry into Brussels, Belgium.
1584 Jan 7, This was the last
day of the Julian calendar in Bohemia & Holy Roman empire. The
1582 Gregorian (or New World) calendar was adopted by this time in
Belgium, most of the German Roman Catholic states and the
(SFEC, 10/3/99, Par p.27)(MC, 1/7/02)
1599 Feb 22, Anthony Van Dyck,
painter, was born in Antwerp, Belgium. [See Mar 22]
1599 Mar 13, Johannes
Berchmans, Jesuit, saint, was born in Belgium.
(MC, 3/13/02)(de Winkler Prins encyclopedia)
1599 Mar 22, Sir Anthony Van
Dyck, Flemish artist, was born. He gave his name to the Vandyke
beard. [See Feb 22]
1604 Sep 20, After a two-year
siege, the Spanish retook Ostend [NW Belgium], the Netherlands, from
(WUD, 1994, p.1019)(HN, 9/20/98)
1618 Michael Sweerts (d.1664),
artist, was born in Brussels, Belgium. He did much of his important
work in Rome, moved to the Netherlands, traveled in Asia with a band
of missionaries and died in Goa.
(WSJ, 7/2/02, p.D7)
1716 Jul 18, A decree ordered
all Jews expelled from Brussels.
1760 A Belgian created roller
skates by replacing the blades of ice skates with wheels.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1793 Sep 6, French General Jean
Houchard and his 40,000 men began a three-day battle against an
Anglo-Hanoverian army at Hondschoote, southwest Belgium, in the wars
of the French Revolution.
1794 Jul 8, French troops
captured Brussels, Belgium.
1800 Lieven Bauwens stole a
spinning "mule jenny" machine from Britain. He had it dismantled and
smuggled out in a cargo of coffee. This enabled the textile industry
in Ghent to greatly expand. Britain sentenced Bauwens to death in
absentia and Ghent made him a hero.
(SFEC, 11/21/99, p.T11)
c1807 Englishmen William and
John Cockerill brought the Industrial Revolution to continental
Europe around 1807 by developing machine shops in Liege, Belgium,
transforming the countrys coal, iron and textile industries much as
it had done in Britain. From roughly 1760 to about 1830, the
Industrial Revolution largely occurred in Britain. Realizing the
economic advantages, Britain did not allow the export of any
machinery, methods or skilled men that might blunt its technological
edge. Eventually, the lure of new opportunities convinced
continental entrepreneurs and British businessmen to evade Englands
1814 Dec 24, The Treaty of
Ghent between the United States and Great Britain, terminating the
War of 1812, was signed at Ghent, Belgium. The news did not reach
the United States until two weeks later (after the decisive American
victory at New Orleans). The treaty, signed by John Quincy Adams for
the US, committed the US and Britain "to use their best endeavors"
to end the Atlantic slave trade.
(AP, 12/24/97)(WSJ, 12/31/97, p.A11)(HN,
12/24/98)(SFEC, 11/21/99, p.T10)
1815 Apr, British General
Arthur Wellesley, duke of Wellington, began assembling troops at
Brussels, Belgium. 73,000 British troops were joined by 33,000
German, Dutch and Belgian troops preparing to face Napoleon.
Prussian Gen. Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher gathered an army of
120,000 southeast of Brussels.
(ON, 4/06, p.1)
1815 Jun 16, Napoleon defeated
the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny, Belgium.
1815 Jun 16, Emperor Napoleon
Bonaparte marched into Belgium to find himself confronted by two
allied armies, which he tried to split apart. The June 16 French
attack at the crossroads called Quatre Bras, depicted in a painting
by W.B. Wollen, badly mauled the British army, but failed to rout it
or to take the crossroads. Although similarly battered at Ligny that
day, the Prussian army also retired intact. Both armies would face
Napoleon again two days later at Waterloo.
1815 Jun 17, A heavy rainstorm
prevented French forces from catching up with Wellingtons army as
they retreated to Waterloo.
(Econ, 7/16/05, p.15)(ON, 4/06, p.3)
1815 Jun 18, British and
Prussian troops under the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon
Bonaparte and his forces at the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium. The
French elite troops of the Imperial Guard wore bearskins to appear
more intimidating. Afterwards Britain established towering bear skin
hats for soldiers in ceremonial duties and to guard royal
residencies and the Tower of London. Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht
von Blucher made a short speech to his troops saying that he was
pregnant and about to give birth to an elephant. He was taken from
the front in protective custody and missed the battle. Napoleon lost
over 40,000 men at Waterloo; the British and Belgians lost 15,000;
the Prussians lost 7,000. The total losses in 3 days of fighting was
later estimated at 91,800. In 2002 Andrew Roberts authored "Napoleon
and Wellington." In 2005 Andrew Roberts authored Waterloo:
Napoleons Last Gamble.
(SFEC, 2/28/99, Z1p.10)(WSJ, 9/13/02,
p.W10)(Econ, 2/12/05, p.81)(ON, 4/06, p.5)
1820 Feb 17, Henri Vieuxtemps,
composer, teacher (Brussels Cons), was born in Verviers, Belgium.
1829 Feb 16, Francois-Joseph
Gossec (95), Belgian-French composer (Messe de Morts), died.
1830 May 25, Jules de Geyter,
Belgian poet (International), was born.
1830 Aug 25, Belgium rebelled
against Netherlands. Among the reasons for rebelling were heavy
taxes on beer.
(chblue.com, 8/25/01)(Econ, 12/17/11, p.125)
1830 Dec 20, An international
conference declared the dissolution of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands effectively recognizing the independence of Belgium.
1831 Jan 20, Protocols were
signed in London that recognized Belgium as an independent nation.
Belgium became a nation and combined French and Flemish-speaking
lands. The Rothschild banking empire financed the founding of
(SFC, 7/12/96, p.A11)(SSFC, 2/24/02,
1831 Jan 23, The Belgian
Provisional Government decreed: The flag of Belgium is red, yellow
and black. These colors are arranged vertically.
1831 Feb 7, The first Belgian
Constitution was ratified.
1831 Feb 24, Belgiums
Provisional Government dissolved itself in favor of a Regent, Baron
Surlet de Chokier.
1831 Jul 21, Belgium became
independent as Leopold I was proclaimed King of the Belgians.
1831 Aug 2, The Dutch army,
headed by the Dutch princes, invaded Belgium, in the so-called "Ten
Days Campaign", and defeated Belgian forces near Hasselt and Leuven.
Only the appearance of a French army under Marchal Gerard caused the
Dutch to stop their advance.
1834 May 5, The first mainland
railway line opened in Belgium.
1839 Oct, The London Treaty, in
which all the European powers guaranteed Belgian neutrality, was
signed. The final Dutch-Belgian separation treaty divided Luxembourg
and Limburg between the Dutch and Belgian crowns, settled debt
arrangements and guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium.
1839 Trappists monks at St.
Sixtus in Belgium began brewing Westvleteren beer in order to
finance construction of a new monastery.
(WSJ, 11/29/07, p.A1)
1840-1889 Father Demien, a Belgian priest, worked
with lepers on Molokai, Hawaii.
(SFEC, 7/6/97, Par p.2)
1840s A Belgium gardener planted some chicory root
in his dark basement and produced a leafy vegetable that became
known as Belgium endive, Cichorium intybus.
(SFEM, 4/25/99, p.21)
1843 Belgian police were the
1st to take mug shots of criminals.
(SFEC, 10/22/00, Z1 p.2)
1846 In Brussels the Galleries
St. Hubert were built.
(SFEC, 9/24/00, p.T5)
1846 In Brussels the tavern La
Fleur en Papier was founded by the religious order, les Soeurs de
Charite. It became a meeting place for painters in the 1920s.
(SFEC, 9/24/00, p.T5)
1847 In Belgium Europe's oldest
shopping center, the St. Hubertus Royal Galleries, opened in
(SFEC, 1/23/00, p.T14)
1847 Marx and Engels founded
the Communist League in Brussels. An archive of international
workers organizations from this year on is located at the
1850 Mar, In Belgium artist
Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865) wrote to the government offering to swap
his largest paintings in exchange for the construction of a new
studio. Interior Minister Charles Rogier soon agreed to provide
money for a new studio that would display the artists work,
following his death, to perpetuity. In 1865 the state was stuck with
220 of his works.
1857 Neuhaus began making
chocolate in Belgium.
(SFC, 9/15/96, p.T9)
1858 Jul 16, Eugene Ysaye,
violinist, conductor and composer (Pierill Houou), was born in
1860 Apr 13, James Ensor
(d.1949), Belgian painter, was born. He became a master at dredging
disturbing, uncensored images from the depths of the unconscious.
1862 Aug 29, P.M.B. Maurice
Maeterlinck, Belgium, poet (Blue Bird, Nobel 1911), was born.
1863 Nov 14, Leo H.A. Baekeland
(d.1944), Belgian-born US chemist (bakelite), was born in Ghent.
1865 Dec 23, France, Belgium,
Italy and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union (LMU). It was
a 19th century attempt to unify several European currencies into a
single currency that could be used in all the member states, at a
time when most national currencies were still made out of gold and
silver. Spain and Greece joined in 1868. It quickly weakened as
members pursued their own economic policies. It was disbanded in
1865 King Leopold II ascended
to the throne.
(SFEC, 9/27/98, BR p.1)
1871 The Red Star Line, an
ocean passenger line, was founded as a joint venture between the
International Navigation Company of Philadelphia, which also ran the
American Line, and the Société Anonyme de Navigation
Belgo-Américaine of Antwerp, Belgium.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Star_Line)(SSFC, 4/21/13, p.H4)
1873 May 10, Belgian priest
Joseph de Veuster (d.1889), aka Father Damien, arrived on Molokai,
Hawaii, to tend the spiritual needs of the lepers. The Catholic
priest spent his life ministering to the lepers and built homes,
churches and moved the whole colony to a more sheltered area. Damien
was beatified in 1995. The settlement peaked at about 1200. A film
about him was shot in 1998 with Peter OToole and Kris
p.T3)(WSJ, 8/14/98, p.A1)
1874 Feb 17, Adolphe Quetelet
(b.1796), Belgian astronomer and mathematician, died. He founded and
directed the Brussels Observatory and was influential in introducing
statistical methods to the social sciences.
1875 Apr 8, Albert I LCMM von
Saksen-Coburg, king of Belgium (1909-34), was born.
1880-1920 The population of Congo was halved due
to murder, starvation, exhaustion, exposure, disease, and a lowered
birth rate due to the exploitation by King Leopold II.
(SFEC, 9/27/98, BR p.1)
1884 Feb 26, Leopold II of
Belgium signed in Congo a British and Portuguese treaty.
1885 Feb 26, The Congress of
Berlin gave Congo to Belgium and Nigeria to England.
1885 May 2, The Congo Free
State was established by King Leopold II of Belgium.
1865 May 9, August de Boeck
(d.1937), Flemish composer, was born.
1865 A Latin Monetary Union was
established amongst France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Greece,
but quickly weakened as members pursued their own economic policies.
(WSJ, 1/13/98, p.A1)
1888 James Ensor, Belgian
artist, painted "Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889." It was later
acquired by the Getty Museum.
(WSJ, 4/9/99, p.W16)(SFEM, 10/17/99, p.11)
1888 The Lejeune Law was passed
that allowed criminals to be released for good behavior after
serving a third of their sentence.
(SFC, 8/20/96, p.A10)
1888 In Belgium the first
beauty contest was held.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R34)
1889 Apr 15, Rev. Damien de
Veuster (b.1840), Belgian priest who ministered to leprosy patients
in Hawaii, died of leprosy. In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI set his
canonization date for Oct 11, 2009. He was beatified in 1995 after
the Vatican declared that the 1987 recovery of a nun of the Sacred
Hearts of Jesus and Mary was a miracle. Audrey Toguchi recovered
from lung cancer in 1999 after praying to Damien.
1889 Hendrik Baekeland
(b.1863), Belgian professor of natural science, sailed for America.
(ON, 9/05, p.10)
1890 Nov 8, Cesar-Auguste
Franck (67), Belgian organist and composer (Symphony in D), died.
1890 Leon Frederic, Belgian
painter, began his work "The Stream," a vast triptych of thousands
of naked babies frolicking in water. He completed it in 1899.
(WSJ, 2/16/00, p.A14)
1893 Mar 9, Edgar Scauflaire,
Belgian muralist, decorator, was born.
1894 Jul 17, Georges Lemaitre,
Belgian astronomer, was born.
1895 Paul Otlet (1868-1944),
Belgian librarian, met future Nobel Prize winner Henri La Fontaine,
who joined him in planning to create the Mundaneum, a master
bibliography of all the worlds published knowledge. Otlet and
LaFontaine eventually persuaded the Belgian government to support
their project, proposing to build a city of knowledge that would
bolster the governments bid to become host of the League of
1895 Prof. Emile Pierre van
Ermengem of Belgium identified the bacterium Bacillus botulinus.
(NW, 5/13/02, p.54)
1895-1905 The Central Station of Antwerp, Belgium,
was built. It looks like a Baroque church and is often referred to
as the Railway Cathedral.
1897 Belgium established the
Tervuren Royal Museum for Central Africa following the World Fair of
this year. It was a result of the countrys colonial venture in the
Belgian Congo, later Zaire, later Democratic Republic of Congo. The
museum was founded as a showcase for business opportunities on the
c1898 Edmund Dene Morel, a
London employee of the shipping line Elder Dempster, came to realize
that a wealth of rubber and ivory cargo was arriving from Congo in
exchange for military officers, firearms and ammunition. He deduced
that forced labor was being used by King Leopold II of Belgium to
extract native wealth.
(SFEM, 8/16/98, p.4)
1898 Nov 21, Rene Magritte
(d.1967), Belgian surrealist painter, was born. His work
includes "Golconda." In 1998 a collection of his work was edited by
Giselle Ollinger-Zinque and Frederik Leen. It included his
Surrealist paintings as well as his wallpaper designs, illustrated
music scores, advertising posters, and photographs from his amateur
(WUD, 1994, p.863)(WSJ, 12/3/98, p.W4)(HN,
1899 Aug 23, Albert Claude
(d.1983), biologist, was born in Belgium. He never graduated from
high school and won the 1974 Nobel for his work on the sub-structure
of the cell.
1900 Apr 5, An assassination
attempt of Prince of Wales in Brussels failed.
1901 Nov 3, Leopold III, King
of Belgium, was born.
1901 P.M.B. Maurice Maeterlinck
(1862-1949), Belgian playwright and essayist, authored The Life of
(SSFC, 12/16/07, p.M2)
1902 Feb 11, Police beat up
universal suffrage demonstrators in Brussels.
1902 Feb 13, Georges Simenon,
novelist, was born in Belgium.
(HN, 2/13/01)(MC, 2/13/02)
1903 Jun 29, The British
government officially protested Belgian atrocities in the Congo.
Missionaries, such as William Sheppard of Virginia, had provided
information that soldiers of Leopolds private army turned over the
right hand of villagers they had killed in order to account for
their used bullets. Leopolds 19,000 man private army held hostage
the wives of workers to force men to work.
(HN, 6/29/98)(SFEM, 8/16/98, p.7,8)
1905 Baron Edouard Empain of
Belgium built the model city of Heliopolis near Cairo, Egypt, with
his own elaborate, Indian-inspired palace as its main attraction.
1906 Apr 23, The Belgian
training ship Count de Smet de Naey foundered off Prawle Point,
England. The captain and 33 on board were drowned.
(SFC, 4/24/06, p.A9)
1907 P.M.B. Maurice Maeterlinck
(1862-1949), Belgian playwright and essayist, authored The
Intelligence of Flowers.
(SSFC, 12/16/07, p.M2)
1908 King Leopold II (d.1909)
turned the Congo over to Belgium for a large sum of money. It was
later estimated that the population of Congo dropped by 10 million
people during the period of Leopolds rule and its immediate
aftermath. In 1998 Adam Hochschild published "King Leopolds Ghost:
A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa.
(SFEM, 8/16/98, p.12)
1908 Neutral Moresnet, a
territory between Belgium and Germany, nearly adopted Esperanto as
its official tongue. The tiny Belgian-Prussian condominium existed
from 1816 to 1920. The former territory later became know as the
Belgian city of Kelmis.
1909 Louis Dollo (1857-1931),
Belgian paleontologist, wrote "La Paleontologie Ethologique."
Dollos law: complex physical features lost during evolution are
(NH, 6/96, p.24)(NH, 4/1/04, p.12)
1910 Feb 10, Dominique Georges
Pire, Belgian cleric and educator, was born.
1911 Maurice Maeterlinck
(1862-1949), Belgian poet, dramatist, and essayist, won the Nobel
Prize in Literature.
(WUD, 1994, p.861)
1912 Jun 30, Belgian workers
struck to demand universal suffrage.
1912 In Belgium Jean Neuhaus
Jr. took an empty chocolate shell and filled it with rich creations
developed by his pharmacist granddad and perfected by his father.
Thus was born the praline.
(SFC, 9/15/96, p.T9)
1914 Mar 27, 1st successful
blood transfusion took place in Brussels.
1914 Jul 16, A Socialist
conference in Brussels was attended by Kautsky, Trotsky & Rosa
1914 July 27, Germany informed
Belgium and Luxembourg of its intention to pass its troops through
their countries. German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
reportedly called the 1839 London Treaty, in which all the European
powers had guaranteed Belgian neutrality, "a scrap of paper" not
worth fighting over. Bethmann-Hollweg was trying to persuade Britain
not to declare war based on the treaty. Unsuccessful in his efforts,
Britain and Belgium declared war when German troops entered Belgium
on August 4.
1914 Aug 3, Germany invaded
Belgium and declared war on France at the onset of World War I. The
German plan for victory in France was known as the Schlieffen Plan,
and was based on a quick strike and the capture of Paris.
(HN, 8/3/98)(AP, 8/3/08)(ON, 8/08, p.5)
1914 Aug 4, Britain and Belgium
declared war after German troops entered Belgium. The United States
proclaimed its neutrality.
(HNQ, 7/24/98)(AP, 8/4/97)
1914 Aug 6, A German Zeppelin
bombed Liege City and killed 9 people.
1914 Aug 10, At Luik, German
12"/16.5" guns reached Belgian boundary.
1914 Aug 16, Liege, Belgium,
fell to the German army.
1914 Aug 20, German forces
occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.
1914 Aug 23, Gen. von Hausen
executed 612 inhabitants of Dinant, Belgium. Felix Fivet (3 weeks
old), Belgian baby, was among those executed by German troops.
1914 Aug 25, German army began
6 week plundering of Leuven, Belgium. German Zeppelins bombed
Antwerp, Belgium, and 10 died.
1914 Oct 9, German troops took
Antwerp after a 12-day siege in WW I crushing the resistance of over
100,000 Belgian troops and violating Belgian neutrality.
(HN, 10/9/98)(MC, 10/9/01)
1914 Oct 30, The Allied
offensive at Ypres, Belgium, began.
1914 Dec 29, The production of
Belgian newspapers was halted to protest German censorship.
1915 May 25, 2nd Battle of
Ypres ended with 105,000 casualties.
1915 Oct 12, British nurse
Edith Cavell (47), despite international protests, was shot as a spy
by a German firing squad in Brussels, Belgium. Cavell, the matron of
a Brussels training school for nurses, was known for her compassion
and sense of duty. As WWI broke out in Europe, Cavell helped 60
British student nurses return home but she remained in Belgium. Even
though she knew that helping soldiers escape from German-occupied
territory meant the death penalty, Cavell agreed when asked to
participate in an escape ring that helped more than 200 fugitive
Allied soldiers return home after the British Expeditionary Force's
retreat from Mons. Such a large conspiracy could not long remain a
secret and in August 1915, Cavell and 35 other members of her
organization were arrested. At her hasty trial, she was condemned to
death for "conducting soldiers to the enemy." Although their action
may have been justified under the rules of war, the Germans
seriously blundered when they shot Edith Cavell. Within days of her
death, the selfless nurse was elevated to martyr status and the
Germans were internationally condemned as "murdering monsters." A
statue in St. Martin's Place, just off London's Trafalgar Square, is
dedicated to Cavell. In 2010 Diana Souhami authored Edith Cavell.
1916 Belgians took over Rwanda.
(SSFC, 4/7/02, p.A19)
1917 Jun 7, British Field
Marshal Sir Douglas Haig launched his assault in Flanders to take
German pressure off his French allies. For months, troops of the
British Expeditionary Force fought a series of pointless battles in
a nightmarish landscape of knee-deep shell holes filled with mud and
blasted, skeletal trees.
1917 Jul 11, The Allied assault
on Flanders, Belgium, began and lasted to Nov 10, for a total gain
of four miles and the occupation of Passchendaele. 9 major battles
took place during this period in the Allied attempt to capture
Passchendaele. In preparation for the attack the Allies fired some
4.2 million shells. In 2006 military teams around Flanders still
retrieved 2-3 dozen shells per day.
(AM, 7/04, p.9)(WSJ, 5/24/06, p.A1)
1917 Nov 10, The assault on
Flanders, begun July 11, finally ground to a halt. The British
Expeditionary Force (BEF) had suffered losses of 300,000 men and
German losses were around 200,000--for a total gain of four miles
and the occupation of Passchendaele.
(HN, 6/7/98)(HNQ, 11/2/98)
1918 May 10, The HMS Vindictive
was sunk to block the entrance of Ostend Harbor.
1918 Nov 17, German troops
1918 Nov 21, Two German
ammunition trains exploded in Hamont, Belgium and 1,750 died.
1919 Mar 22, The first
international airline service was inaugurated on a weekly schedule
between Paris and Brussels.
1919 The Belgian government
collected about 330 US tons of German shells and buried them near
Poelkapelle under a layer of concrete. Cleaning of the site began in
(WSJ, 5/24/06, p.A12)
1920 Apr 20, The VII Olympiad
opened in Belgium. The Olympic oath and flag showing 5 interlocking
rings as a symbol of the 5 continents made their first appearance at
the Antwerp Olympics. Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey and Hungary
were not invited and the new Soviet Union decided not to attend.
1920 May 1, Belgian-Luxembourg
toll tunnel opened.
1920 Suzanne Lenglen of France,
wearing a shockingly short skirt, won 2 gold medals in tennis at the
Olympic games in Antwerp, Belgium.
(NG, 8/04, Geographica)
1920 Oscar Swahn (72) of Sweden
won a silver medal for shooting in the Antwerp Olympics.
(WSJ, 3/31/08, p.A1)
1920 The Olympics dropped the
tug-of-war event this year.
(Econ, 2/8/14, p.59)
1920 Godiva Chocolates, founded
by Joseph Draps, began as a family business.
(SFC, 9/15/96, p.T9)
1921 Mar 21, Arthur Grumiaux,
Belgian violinist, was born.
c1921 The Belgian monument to
its unknown soldier is at the base of the Colonnade of the Congress
(SFC, 5/27/96, p.B8)
1924 Nov 29, Italian composer
Giacomo Puccini (b.1858) died in Brussels before he could complete
his opera "Turandot." Franco Alfano finished it. His death marked
the end of a 300-year tradition of Italian opera. In 2003 Mary Jane
Phillips-Matz authored "Puccini."
(AP, 11/29/97)(SFC, 12/28/99, p.C1)(WSJ, 4/11/03,
1924 The permanent committee of
the National Colonial Congress of Belgium declared (regarding
Congo): "We run the risk of someday seeing our native population
collapse and disappear So that we will see ourselves confronted
with a kind of desert."
(SFEM, 5/7/00, p.9)
1925 Aug 25, Last Belgian
troops vacated Duisburg.
1925 Franz Colruyt, Belgian
baker, set up a wholesale business importing coffee and spices from
overseas. In 2002 the 160th Colruyt store opened in Belgium.
(WSJ, 9/22/03, p.R3)
1926 Dec 14, Theo van
Rysselberghe (64), Belgian painter (pointillism), died.
1927 Jul 24, In Ypres, Belgium,
the Menin Gate was unveiled. it built to honor the soldiers who died
at the Ypres Salient front during WWI. The gate is inscribed with
the names of 54,896 soldiers who died but have no graves.
1928 UCB, a Belgian drug firm,
was founded by Emmanuel Janssen.
(Econ, 9/30/06, p.71)
1928 In Denmark Palle Huld
(d.2010) won a competition organized by Danish newspaper that wanted
to send a teenager would-be-reporter around the globe. For 44 days
the 15-year-old traveled to North America, Japan, Siberia and
Germany, and was greeted by 20,000 people upon his return to
Copenhagen. Herge, the pen name of Belgian author Georges Remi,
heard of Huld's journey which reportedly inspired him to create
Tintin, the globe-trotting reporter.
1929 Apr 8, Jacques Brel
(d.1978), singer, actor, was born in Belgium.
1929 Georges Remi (1907-1983),
Belgian author and illustrator, created the cartoon character Tintin
under the pseudonym Herge for the childrens supplement, Le Petit
Vingtieme. Herge wanted to draw cartoons about the Wild West of
America, but his publisher ordered that the new fictional reporter
be sent to the soviet Union and then to Belgiums colony in the
6/24/06, p.98)(Econ, 12/20/08, p.82)
1929 Rene Magritte created his
"La Trahison des images" (The Treachery of Images), an example of
his "script paintings." He wrote "An object is never so closely
attached to its name that another cannot be found which suits it
(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.17)
1929 Rene Magritte painted "Le
Sens propre IV" (The Literal Meaning IV).
(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.4)
1930-1993 King Baudouin I of Belgium: "America
has been called a melting pot, but it seems better to call it a
mosaic, for in it each nation, people or race which has come to its
shores has been privileged to keep its individuality, contributing
at the same time its share to the unified pattern of a new nation."
1933 Henri Storch (d.1999 at
92, film pioneer, co-wrote and directed the documentary "Misery in
the Borinage," about the grim conditions of mine workers near Mons.
His career spanned 70 movies.
(SFC, 9/18/99, p.A21)
1934 Rene Magritte painted "Le
Viol" (The Rape).
(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.4)
1934 The panel of the Ten Just
Judges on their way to venerate the Mystic Lamb by Jan and Hubert
Van Eyck was stolen from St. Baaf's Cathedral in Ghent.
(SFEC, 11/21/99, p.T11)
1934 Paul Otlet (1868-1944),
head of the Mundaneum in Belgium, sketched out plans for a global
network of computers (or electric telescopes, as he called them)
that would allow people to search and browse through millions of
interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. In his 1934
book Monde he laid out his vision of a mechanical, collective
brain that would house all the worlds information, made readily
accessible over a global telecommunications network.
1935 Jan 20, Belgium arrested
some Nazi agitators who were urging for a return to the Reich.
1935 Rene Magritte painted "Le
Palais de Rideaux" (The Palace of Curtains).
(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.17)
1936 Nov 27, Great Britains
Anthony Eden warned Hitler that Britain would fight to protect
1938 Magritte wrote his
statement of principles: "Le Ligne de Vie" (Lifeline), and said:
"Surrealism is revolutionary because it is relentlessly hostile to
all those bourgeois ideological values which keep the world in the
appalling condition in which it is today."
(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.6)
c1939 Belgium feared a Nazi invasion and shipped
$2.5 billion of gold to France, which in turn shipped it to the port
city of Dakar, its West African colony now known as Senegal. The
Nazis discovered the shipment after their occupation of France and
had the gold transferred to their account in Switzerland.
(WSJ, 4/28/97, p.A17)
1940 May 10, German forces
began a blitzkrieg of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg,
skirting France's "impenetrable" Maginot Line. Belgium was invaded
by Germany and maintained resistance for 18 days.
(WSJ, 8/1/95, p.A-8)(WSJ, 4/29/96, p.C-1)(HN,
1940 May 14, British and French forces
began a general retreat from Belgium, heading southwest toward
(ON, 12/12, p.1)
1940 May 17, Germany occupied
Brussels, Belgium, and began the invasion of France. [See May 12]
(AP, 5/17/97)(HN, 5/17/98)
1940 May 20, British Admiral
Bertram H. Ramsay met with his staff beneath Dover Castle to draw up
a formal plan for the evacuation of British and French forces from
Dunkirk. The plan was called Operation Dynamo.
(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 21, Nazis surrounded
the British Army at Dunkirk. British and French forces staged a
counterattack near Arras, but failed to clear a path to Le Havre.
(HN, 5/21/98)(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 26, Operation Dynamo
was launched for the evacuation of British, French and Belgian
soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. The German
Luftwaffe launched a bombing campaign on the harbor of Dunkirk. The
new British Spitfire fighters helped provide air cover. The
operation continued to June 4.
(ON, 3/07, p.2)(AP, 5/26/97)(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 28, During World War
II, the Belgian army surrendered to invading German forces.
(AP, 5/28/97)(HN, 5/28/98)
1940 May 29, Germans captured
Ostend and Ypres in Belgium and Lille in France.
1940 Aug 25, Jose Van Dam,
bass-baritone, was born in Brussels, Belgium.
1940 The Belgian colonial
government in Leopoldville (later Kinshasa), Congo, ordered private
mining companies to turn over their records to help the Allies find
resources to help the war effort against Germany. Millions of tons
of copper and tin, as well as some uranium, were shipped to the US.
After the war records were shipped to Belgiums Royal Museum for
Central Africa in Brussels.
(WSJ, 3/20/07, p.A13)
1942 Apr 27, Belgium Jews were
forced to wear stars.
1942 Aug 4, The 1st train with
Jews departed Mechelen, Belgium, to Auschwitz.
1942 Aug 11, Some 999 Jews were
taken from Mechelen transit camp in Belgium.
1942 Sep 12, Free-Poland &
Belgium asked Pope to condemn Nazi-war crimes. He did not.
1943 May 10, Andre Bertulot,
Arnaud/Armand Fraiteur and Maurice-Albert Raskin, Belgian resistance
fighters, were hanged.
1943 Aug 19, Belgian church
excommunicated Nazi Leon Degrelle.
1944 Sep 2, Troops of the U.S.
First Army entered Belgium.
1944 Sep 3, US forces entered
Belgium at Peruwelz led by reconnaissance scout James W. Carroll on
his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
(WSJ, 12/18/97, p.A1)
1944 Sep 3, A tank division of
British Guards freed Brussels.
1944 Sep 4, British troops
liberated Antwerp, Belgium.
1944 Sep 7, Nazi SS-General
Kurt ("Panzer") Meyer took Durnal, Belgium.
1944 Sep 19, The 3-month battle
at Huertgen Forest on the Belgian-German border began. A 1998 HBO
film made a rough portrayal: "When Trumpets Fade."
1944 Dec 10, The US 394th
Regiments Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon was ordered into
the village of Lanzareth, Belgium, to fill a gap between allied
divisions along the Western front. A German counteroffensive,
launched on Dec 16, sent through Lanzareth. The platoon surrendered
after running out of ammunition. All members survived imprisonment.
In 2004 Alex Kershaw authored The Longest Winter: The Battle of the
Bulge and the Epic Story of World War IIs Most Decorated Platoon.
(WSJ, 12/7/04, p.D11)(SSFC, 1/2/05, p.E1)
1944 Dec 16, The Germans
mounted a major surprise counterattack in the Ardennes Forest in
Belgium. As the center of the Allied line fell back, it created a
bulge, leading to the name--the Battle of the Bulge. Hitler hoped to
cripple the advance Allies by breaking through their lines to
destroy fuel supplies and lines of communication. The striking force
(the Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies) amounted to 24 divisions, 10 of
them armored. The German attack achieved total surprise, but slowed
by the end of December due to German supply problems and Allied
resistance. Between January 8-16, in the face of a fierce Allied
counteroffensive, the Germans finally withdrew. By January 21, the
Germans had been pushed back to their original line, having lost
some 120,000 men in the offensive. The Allies suffered 81,000
casualties including some 19,000 Americans killed. In 1997 Charles
B. MacDonald authored A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the
Battle of the Bulge.
(AP, 12/16/97)(HN, 12/16/98)(HNQ, 7/11/01)(WSJ,
1944 Dec 17, The Germans
renewed their attack on the Belgian town of Losheimergraben against
the American Army during the Battle of the Bulge.
1944 Dec 19, American troops
began pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and
Rocherath in front of the advancing German Army.
1944 Dec 20, In the Battle of
Bastogne the Nazis surrounded 101st Airborne. [see Dec 21]
1944 Dec 21, German troops
surrounded the 101st Airborne Division at the Bastogne in Belgium.
[see Dec 20]
1944 Dec 22, During the Battle
of the Bulge, the Germans demanded the surrender of American troops
at Bastogne, Belgium; Brigadier Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe
(1898-1975) reportedly replied: "Nuts!"
(AP, 12/22/97)(HN, 12/22/98)
1944 Dec 26, In the World War
II Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division
was relieved by units of the 4th Armored Division. The Battle of the
Bulge was the final major German counter-offensive of the war and
thrust deep into allied territory in N & E Belgium and
Luxembourg. US Gen Patton's tanks repulsed the Germans. Jimmy
Hendrix (19) captured 13 Germans in two 88-mm gun batteries and
rescued 3 Americans under enemy fire. Hendrix (d.2002) later awarded
the Medal of Honor.
(WUD, 1994, p.195)(SFC, 9/1/96, T3)(AP,
12/26/97)(MC, 12/26/01)(SFC, 11/21/02, p.A25)
1944 Dec 27, General Pattons
Third Army, spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division, relieved the
surrounded city of Bastogne in Belgium.
1944 Camille Gutt launched the
unpopular Gutt operation, which drastically cut the money supply
and brought stability to the Belgian economy.
(Econ, 6/19/04, p.18)
1942 Andree Geulen-Herscovici
was a teacher in Brussels when she witnessed a Gestapo raid on a
school. That prompted her to join a rescue organization and for more
than two years she took in over 300 Jewish children and hid them in
Christian homes and monasteries under assumed identities. In 2007
Geulen-Herscovici (86) was granted honorary Israeli citizenship.
1945 Jan 4, The last German
offensive in Bastogne, Belgium, failed.
1945 Jan 12, German forces in
Belgium retreated in Battle of Bulge.
1945 Jan 16, The U.S. First and
Third armies linked up at Houffalize, effectively ending the Battle
of the Bulge. In 1997 Charles B. MacDonald authored A Time for
Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge.
(HN, 1/16/99)(WSJ, 12/7/04, p.D11)
1947 Nov 16, Some 15,000
demonstrated in Brussels against mild sentences of Nazis.
1948 Mar 18, France, Great
Britain and Benelux signed the Treaty of Brussels.
1949 Apr 4, The (NATO) North
Atlantic Treaty Organization pact was signed by the US, Great
Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy,
Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Canada. It provided for
mutual defense against aggression and for close military
1949 May 6, P.M.B. Maurice
Maeterlinck (b.1862), Belgian philosopher, playwright (Grand Fairie)
and essayist, died in Nice, France. He won the 1911 Nobel Prize in
1949 Nov 19, James Ensor
(b.1860), Belgian artist, died. His paintings included The
Scandalized Masks (1883), "Ensor and General Leman Discussing
Painting" (1890), and Skeletons Fighting Over a Pickled Herring
(WSJ, 6/5/01, p.A23)(Econ, 7/4/09,
1949-1964 Magritte produced 26 versions of "The
Dominion of Light."
(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.4)
1950 Aug, In Belgium as Prince
Baudouin took the oath to succeed his father after years of tumult
over the monarchy, Communist leader Julien Lahaut shouted from the
crowd: "Long Live the Republic!" A week later two men turned up at
Lahaut's door and shot him four times with a Colt 45 revolver at
point blank range. The case was officially shelved in 1972. In 2012
the government has approved fresh funds to solve the crime.
1952 Rene Magritte painted his
work "Personal Values." It was sold to the SF MOMA in 1998 for $6.5
million. The title was recommended by his friend, Paul Nouge,
surrealist, biochemist and founder of the Belgian Communist Party.
Magritte also did "La chambre d ecote" (The Listening Room) and
"Lempire des lumieres" (The Dominion of Light)
(SFC, 11/20/98, p.C1)(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.4)
1958 Apr 17, A World Fair
opened in Brussels, Belgium. The 335-foot Atomium, representing a
large-scale metal molecule, was built to celebrate the 1958 World's
Fair in Brussels. It became one of Belgium's most famous landmarks
and in 2005 was restored to its shiny splendor, the faded aluminum
sheets on the nine balls fully replaced with hardy stainless steel.
1958 Pierre Culliford (Peyo),
Belgian cartoonist, created the gnomelike Smurfs for publisher
Charles Dupuis (d.2002 at 84). Hanna-Barbera turned it into a US
cartoon program in 1981.
(SFC, 12/3/02, p.A24)
1959 Rene Magritte painted "La
clef de verre" (The Glass Key).
(SFEM, 4/23/00, p.4)
1960 May 19, Belgian parliament
required a rest day for self employed.
1960 May 25, Benoît van Innis,
Belgian cartoonist, painter, (New York Post), was born.
1960 A rebel movement freed
Zaire, then known as the Belgian Congo, from Belgium.
(SFC, 11/26/96, p.B3)
1961 Jan 17, Patrice Lumumba
(34), the 1st premier Congo, was murdered. President Eisenhower
allegedly approved the assassination of Congo's Patrice Lumumba. The
US and Joseph Mobutu were implicated but no conclusive proof has
emerged. Sidney Gottlieb (d.1999 at 80), a CIA deputy, carried a
deadly bacteria to the Congo that was used to kill Lamumba. In 2000
the Belgium Parliament opened an inquiry into possible government
involvement in the killing of Congos Premier Patrice Lumumba. This
followed allegations in the new book "The Murder of Lumumba" by Ludo
De Witte. In 2001 the inquiry found that King Baudouin knew of the
plot but did nothing to stop it. The Katanga government did not
announce the death until Feb 13. Moscow charged that UN Sec. Gen.
Dag Hammarskjold was involved.
(TMC, 1994, p.1961)(PCh, 1992, p.979)(SFC,
5/17/97, p.A14)(SFC, 5/3/00, p.A14)(WSJ, 11/9/01, p.A1)
1961 Feb 15, 73 people,
including 18 figure skaters from the United States, were killed in
the crash of a Sabena Airlines Boeing 707 in Belgium. The skaters
were en route to a world meet in Czechoslovakia.
(HN, 2/15/98)(AP, 2/15/99)
1962 Jul 1, Burundi gained
independence from Belgium. The UN trust territory of Ruanda-Urundi
in east-central Africa was divided into the independent nations of
Rwanda and Burundi.
1964 Apr 22, At the opening of
the New York Worlds Fair in Queens the Vermersch family from
Belgium introduced Belgian waffles, topped with fresh whipped cream,
powdered sugar and sliced strawberries. They had first served the
treat two years earlier at the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, and for
years after they made the waffles at the annual New York State Fair
in Syracuse. But it was at the 1964 event in New York City that the
waffles became a sensation.
1967 In Belgium 323 people
perished in a fire in a Brussels department store.
1968 Jan 22, The off Broadway
show "Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris" premiered
at the Village Gate Theater. A film version was produced in 1975.
Brel (1929-1978), a Belgian singer, was later buried in the
Marquesas Island of Hiva Oa, in the same cemetery as Paul Gauguin.
1968 In Belgium Flemish
students called for French speaking Walloons to leave the Univ. at
Leuven. This led to a division of the librarys 1.6 million books
with half going to the new campus of Louvain-la-Neuve in French
speaking Wallonia. The partition divided the Catholic church and
brought down the government.
(Econ, 1/29/11, p.51)
1971 Belgium banned the
practice of selling products at a loss in order to attract
customers. Also banned was the practice of selling below cost or
selling at extremely reduced profit margins. This led to numerous
court cases and limited special seasonal sales.
(Econ, 1/5/08, p.46)
1972 May 8, A Belgian Sabena
aircraft, bound for Tel Aviv, was hijacked by 4 Palestinians. At Lod
Intl. 2 hijackers were shot and killed by Israeli military
personnel, dressed as ground engineers. One passenger died 8 days
later as a result of her wounds. The two women hijackers were
subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.
1972 Jul 22, Eddy Merckx
(b.1945)), Belgian professional cyclist, won his 4th consecutive
Tour de France.
1973 The Society for Worldwide
Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) was founded in
Brussels. After September 11, 2001, it was used by the US to track
1973 Jeff Schell (1935-2003),
Belgian microbiologist, succeeded in altering the genetic structure
of the Agrobacterium. He deleted the genes that governed tumor
(SFC, 5/3/03, p.A20)
1974 Albert Claude (1899-1983),
Belgium-born biologist, won the Nobel for his work on the
sub-structure of the cell. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology
or Medicine with Christian de Duve (1917-2013) and George E. Palade,
for describing the structure and function of organelles (lysosomes
and peroxisomes) in biological cells.
1974-1976 Leonard K. Firestone, son of Harvey -
founder of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., served as US
ambassador to Belgium.
(SFC, 12/25/96, p.A22)
1978 Oct 9, Jacques Brel
(b.1929), Belgian-born French cabaret singer, died. He was buried at
Atuona on the Marquesas Island of Hiva Oa. An American musical revue
of his songs, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris,
debuted in 1968 and has played around the world since.
1978 Plastic Bertrand, Belgian
musician, made a hit with "Ca Plane Pour Moi."
1979 Apr 3, In Belgium Wilfried
Achiel Emma Martens (b.1936) became prime minister for the 1st of 9
1979 The Belgium government
decided to nationalize its steel companies. Half of them were owned
by Albert Frere (b.1926).
(Econ, 4/22/06, p.64)
1980 The Hague Convention on
international child abductions was established. Countries following
Islamic law did not sign.
(SFC, 12/6/03, p.A14)
1983 Mar 3, Georges Remi
(b.1907), Belgian author and illustrator, died. In 1929 Remi, under
the pseudonym Herge, created the cartoon character Tintin. Remi is
known as the father of the modern European comic book. In 2006 Tom
McCarthy authored Tintin and the Secret of Literature. In 2007
Philippe Goddin authored Herge: Lignes de vie, a biography of
6/24/06, p.98)(Econ, 12/20/08, p.84)
1983 In Belgium Rom Houben (20)
was injured in an auto accident and fell into a coma. Doctors soon
diagnosed him as having fallen into a vegetative state. After 23
years a PET scan revealed that his brain was functioning and
communication was established via a computer device and a touch
screen. A study of his misdiagnosis was published in 2009.
(SFC, 11/24/09, p.A3)
1984 Oct 9, A cooperation
agreement between the European Community and the Yemen Republic was
signed in Brussels.
1984 Oct 18, Henri Michaux
(b.1899), Belgian poet and painter, died. In 1954 he became a
citizen of France, and he lived the rest of his life there along
with his family. In 1965 he won the National Prize of Literature,
which he refused to accept. His books included Miserable Miracle
and The Major Ordeals of the Mind and the Countless Minor Ones.
1985 May 29, At Heysel Stadium
rioting erupted between British and Italian spectators at the
European Cup soccer final in Brussels, Belgium. 39 people were
killed when rioting broke out and a wall separating British and
Italian soccer fans collapsed. This led to a 5-year ban on English
clubs playing on the Continent.
(SFEC, 6/11/00, p.A28)(AP, 5/29/08)
1986 Oct 16, Arthur Grumiaux
(b.1921), Belgian violinist, died at 65.
1987 Mar 6, The British ferry
Herald of Free Enterprise capsized in the Channel off the coast of
Belgium after water rushed through the open bow doors. 189 people
died when the ferry capsized off the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
(HN, 3/6/98)(AP, 3/6/98)
1988 Mar 1, President Reagan
arrived in Brussels, Belgium, for the first NATO summit in six
1988 Belgium passed a law that
forbade the ritual execution of animals at home.
(WSJ, 1/4/07, p.A1)
1989 Jul 4, Unmanned Russian
Mig-23 crashed in Bellegem-Kooigem, Belgium, and 1 person died. The
pilot had ejected over Poland.
1989 Sep 4, Georges Simenon
(86), Belgian/French writer and director (Maigret), died. The
Belgian born writer, authored some 200 novels. Many featured the
crime-busting hero Inspector Maigret.
1989 In Belgium Marc Dutroux
(b.1956) was sent to prison for 13 years for abducting and raping 5
girls. He was released after serving 3 years and quickly reverted to
his former self. He was again arrested in 1996 for kidnappings in
(SFC, 8/20/96, p.A10)
1990 Feb 25, Enver Hadri, a
human rights leader, was allegedly shot in the head by Veselin
Vukotic and two other men while he was stopped at a traffic light in
Brussels, Belgium. Hadri had papers on him incriminating former
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in assassinations. All three
gunmen were believed to be hitmen working for the Yugoslav secret
service. Veselin was arrested in Spain in 2006.
1991 Jul 18, Socialist Party
leader Andre Cools was murdered. Cools had worked for more regional
autonomy for Wallonia, the French-speaking southern half of Belgium,
and the Dutch-speaking Flanders. The murder was believed to be done
by hit men after Cools threatened to reveal certain underworld
activities. 6 men were convicted for the murder in 2004.
(SFC, 9/9/96, p.A11)(AP, 1/7/04)
1991 "The Hard Nut" ballet was
created for the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels on a subplot
of the E.T.A. Hoffman tale of the "Nutcracker." The score is
completely faithful to Tchaikovsky.
(SFC, 12/16/96, p.D1)
1991 In Belgium the far-right
Vlaams Blok party broke into the mainstream. In 2004 it was renamed
Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest).
(Econ, 10/14/06, p.59)
1992 Aug, Loubna Benaissa (9)
disappeared after going to buy some yogurt at a nearby store. In
1997 her body was found hidden in the basement of a gas station and
Patrick Derochette was arrested after reportedly confessing to the
killing. He had been accused of assaulting youngsters in 1984.
(SFC, 3/7/96, p.A12)
1992 Nov 4, Belgium ratifies
the Treaty on the European Union.
1992 Dec 20, U.S. Marines and
Belgian paratroopers in Somalia took control of Kismayu's port and
airport; the first truck convoy in more than a month reached the
starving inland town of Baidoa.
1992 Dec 31, Belgium suspended
conscription as of this day under the so-called Delacroix Bill of
July 3, 1992.
1993 Mar, Belgian PM Jean-Luc
Dehaene tendered his resignation, but the king refused to accept it.
1993 Jul 31, Belgium's King
Baudouin I died at age 62; he was succeeded by his brother, Prince
1993 Belgium adopted a law that
empowered judges to hear war crimes and genocide cases regardless of
where the alleged crimes occurred or who committed them. In 2002 the
Intl. Court of Justice cited diplomatic immunity and ruled that
Belgium cannot try former and current world leaders. In 2003 an
amendment to invalidate high profile cases was passed.
(SFC, 2/15/02, p.A8)(AP, 4/5/03)
1994 Jan 10, On the first day
of a two-day NATO summit in Belgium, leaders signed a document
inviting nations of the former Warsaw Pact to join in a "partnership
1994 Jan 11, NATO leaders
concluded a summit in Belgium by warning Bosnian Serbs of their
willingness to order bombing raids in former Yugoslavia to relieve
embattled Muslim enclaves. President Clinton, who attended the
summit, then traveled to the Czech Republic for a short visit.
1994 Mar 3, "Philoktetes
Variations", with Ron Vawter, premiered in Brussels.
1994 Apr 1, Leon Degrelle
(b.1906), Belgium-born founder of the fascist Rexist party, died in
Malaga, Spain. He was a Walloon Belgian politician, who founded
Rexism and later joined the Nazi German Waffen SS (becoming a leader
of its Walloon contingent). After World War II, he was a prominent
figure in the neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial movements.
1994 Belgiums King Albert II
made businessman Albert Frere (b.1926) a baron.
(Econ, 4/22/06, p.64)
1994 Belgian peacekeepers in
Rwanda retreated during the massacre.
(SFC, 6/15/99, p.C4)
1995 Mar 1, As of this day
Belgian armed forces consisted of professional volunteers only.
1995 Jun, Two 8-year-old girls
were kidnapped. Their bodies were found in 1996, the victims of
(SFC, 8/19/96, p.A8)
1995 Oct, A bribery scandal
devastated the Socialist Party. NATO Sec.-Genl. Willy Claes and 4
other federal ministers were forced to resign. The Italian
helicopter maker Augusta paid bribes for a contract to supply the
(SFC, 9/9/96, p.A11)
1995 Belgium based Interbrew
bought Labatts of Canada.
(Econ, 12/17/11, p.125)
1996 Jun 9, The latest
unemployment rate was 10%.
(SFC, 6/9/96, Parade, p.9)
1996 Jul 7, The average cost of
a Big Mac in Belgium was $3.50.
(SFC, 7/7/96, Parade, p.17)
1996 Aug 13, In Belgium Marc
Dutroux, on parole following rape charges, was arrested for
kidnapping and the murder of 2 girls. In 2004 he was convicted of
kidnapping and murder. His wife and 2 accomplices were also
1996 Aug 15, In Belgium two
kidnapped girls were rescued by police just days following the
arrest of Marc Doutroux. [see Aug 13]
(SFC, 8/19/96, p.A8)(SFC, 4/24/98, p.A14)
1996 Aug 17, In Brussels,
Belgium, police led by Marc Dutroux unearthed the remains of two
8-year-old girls kidnapped in June of 1995. [see Aug 13]
(SFC, 8/19/96, p.A8)(SFC, 4/24/98, p.A14)
1996 Sep 8, Police arrested
former Cabinet minister, Alain Van der Biest, in relation to the
1991 unsolved slaying of Andre Cools.
(SFC, 9/9/96, p.A11)
1996 Sep 18, Prime Minister
Jean-Luc Dehaene need to push through tax increase and spending cuts
so the country could quality to join the EEU.
(WSJ, 9/18/96, p.A15)
1996 Oct, Some 250,000 people
staged the "White March" through Brussels to demand changes in the
police and justice system.
(SFC, 4/24/98, p.A14)
1997 Feb 2, Some 20 thousand
demonstrators joined workers of bankrupt Forges de Clabecq, a steel
firm, to protest job losses and social injustice.
(SFC, 2/3/97, p.C3)
1997 Jul 26, In Belgium at the
Ostend Air Show a Jordanian aerobatics airplane crashed and killed 9
(WSJ, 7/28/97, p.A1)
1997 Oct, The Belgian company
Interbrew acquired a 60% stake in the Trebjesa Brewery for $14
million and a 2 year commitment to invest $8.3 million.
(SFC, 7/2/98, p.A16)
c1997 A man who identified
himself as, Lt. Col. Lamar Reed or Lt. Col. A. West, a US Air
Force officer attached to NATO, began a 3-year scam in which some 90
companies sent tens of millions of dollars worth of equipment to his
"Materials Test Unit."
(SFC, 3/29/00, p.A1)
1998 Feb 17, In Belgium a
parliamentary panel found no police complicity in the killings of 4
girls in Charleroi that sparked demonstrations in 1996.
(WSJ, 2/18/98, p.A1)
1998 Feb, Noeel Godin inspired
a group of followers to cast a cream tart onto the face of Bill
Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corp.
(SFC, 4/25/98, p.A10)
1998 Apr 23, Marc Doutroux (40)
escaped from police custody but was soon recaptured.
(SFC, 4/24/98, p.A14)
1998 May 3, European leaders
meeting in Brussels, Belgium, agreed on Wim Duisenberg of the
Netherlands as the chief of the new European Central Bank (ECB), but
with the proviso that he step down in 2002 to make way for Frenchman
(BS, 5/3/98, p.21A)(AP, 5/3/99)
1998 Sep 19, The worst storm in
a century hit the Netherlands and Belgium over the past week.
(SFC, 9/19/98, p.A5)
1998 Dec 23, In Belgium the top
court convicted former NATO chief Willy Claes, French aerospace
tycoon Serge Dessault and 2 ex-aides of corruption in the Agusta
scandal. All got suspended sentences. Guy Spitaels (1931-2012), a
Belgian socialist leader, was also convicted in the bribery scandal
linked to the purchase of Italian helicopters for the air force.
(WSJ, 12/24/98, p.A1)(AP, 8/21/12)
1999 Jan 1, The Maastricht
Treaty specified that a monetary union will be established by this
date, and laid down several criteria that EU nations must fulfill in
order to join. Some of the criteria included: maximum budget
deficits of 3% of GDP, a cap on government debt of 60% of GDP. The
European economic and monetary union (EMU) was scheduled to start
with a new "Euro" currency. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and
Spain made the transition. Public use was set for Jan 1, 2002. [see
(WSJ, 9/25/95, p.A-12)(WSJ, 12/5/95, p.A-14)(SFC,
11/16/96, p.A1)(SFC, 1/1/99, p.A8)
1999 Jan 4, The euro, the new
money of 11 European nations, got off to a strong start on its first
trading day, rising against the dollar on world currency markets and
closed in New York at $1.181. A founding principal of the euro area
held that national central banks be independent of their
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.C2)(AP, 1/4/00)(HN, 1/4/01)(Econ,
1999 Feb 22, In Brussels some
30,000 farmers rallied to demand that EU agricultural ministers
shield them from farm subsidy cuts.
(SFC, 2/23/99, p.A14)
1999 Apr, Dioxin was discovered
in Belgian animal feed. It was estimated to be some 4 months after
the contamination began. Verkest, a firm that sold animal fats to
feed mills, was implicated, but the dioxin source was not yet
pinpointed. Dioxin from motor oil that was mixed into animal feed in
Belgium led to a withdrawal of food products and widespread import
bans. Quality controls on animal feed were also put in place as a
(WSJ, 6/7/99, p.A19)(AP, 1/7/11)
1999 May 26, The public was
informed that animal feed contaminated with dioxin was fed to
chickens and pigs.
(WSJ, 6/7/99, p.A19)
1999 Jun 2, The EU ordered that
a vast array of Belgian products be withdrawn from sale and
destroyed due to a fear of dioxin-poisoning in chickens and eggs.
(SFC, 6/3/99, p.A13)
1999 Jun 2, Dr. Ann S. Fletcher
(51), author of "Belgium: A Study of the Educational System of
Belgium," died in Palo Alto, Ca.
(SFC, 6/12/99, p.A23)
1999 Jun 8, In Belgium 31
schoolchildren began reporting illnesses from drinking Coca Cola and
prompted the removal of Coca Cola drinks from shelves on June 15.
The problems were traced to defective carbon dioxide in an Antwerp
bottling plant and a chemical contaminant from transport palettes.
14 million cases of Coke were eventually recalled in 5 European
(SFC, 6/16/99, p.B3)(WSJ, 6/29/99, p.A1)
1999 Jun 13, The center-left
coalition of Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene suffered a major defeat
in national elections to the Conservatives. The coalition looked to
keep 66 of the legislature's 150 seats.
(SFC, 6/14/99, p.a14)(WSJ, 6/14/99, p.A1)
1999 Jun 15, In Europe Coca
Cola drinks were pulled from shelves after 31 Belgian schoolchildren
began reporting illnesses on June 8. Bad carbon dioxide was traced
to a fungicide on the surface of the cans.
(SFC, 6/16/99, p.B3)(SFC, 6/17/99, p.C3)
1999 Jul 12, In Belgium a new
coalition government under Guy Verhofstadt took office.
(SFC, 7/13/99, p.A10)
1999 Jul 29, Belgium announced
that it had quarantined 175 more farms and that it would destroy all
115,000 tons of dioxin suspect beef, pork and poultry. Testing for
all pork and poultry products for export was extended to Aug 31.
(SFC, 7/30/99, p.A13)
1999 Aug 12, In Belgium a
McDonald's Restaurant was destroyed by fire. The Animal Liberation
Front was suspected.
(WSJ, 8/13/99, p.B8)
1999 Dec 4, In Belgium Prince
Philippe married Mathilde d'Udekem.
(SFEC, 12/5/99, p.A2)
1999 Mario Danneels published
an unauthorized biography of Queen Paola: "Paola: From La Dolce
Vita' to Queen." It included a claim that King Albert II had an
(SFC, 10/27/99, p.C16)
1999 The Flemish film "Rosie"
starred Aranka Coppens and was directed by Patrice Toye.
(SFC, 9/17/99, p.C3)
2000 May 2, Parliament opened
an inquiry into possible government involvement in the 1961 killing
of Congos Premier Patrice Lumumba. This followed allegations in the
new book "The Murder of Lumumba" by Ludo De Witte.
(SFC, 5/3/00, p.A14)
2000 Jun 17, English and German
soccer fans clashed in Charleroi prior to a game in the European
(SFEC, 6/18/00, p.A14)
2000 Jul 19, In Belgium the
World Diamond Congress approved measures to track diamonds and
penalties for dealers who break rules and buy or sell "blood
diamonds," those sold to support civil wars.
(SFC, 7/20/00, p.A12)
2000 Aug 29, The government
announced a package of tax reductions worth $2.9 billion.
(SFC, 9/1/00, p.D2)
2000 Sep 14, Truck drivers
agreed to lift a blockade of highways and fuel depots after 5 days
of fuel cost protests.
(SFC, 9/15/00, p.A14)
2000 Oct 8, In Belgium
municipal and provincial elections showed the far right Flemish Bloc
gaining popular support.
(SFC, 10/9/00, p.A11)
2001 Jan 19, The Belgian
government agreed to decriminalize the use of marijuana.
(SFC, 1/20/01, p.A11)
2001 Mar 27, A train crash at
Pecrot killed 8 people.
(SFC, 3/28/01, p.D4)
2001 Apr 17, In Brussels a jury
was selected for the trial of 4 Rwandans charged with the 1994
massacre of Tutsis.
(SFC, 4/18/01, p.A12)
2001 Apr 19, Police raided 80
homes of pigeon breeders across the country and confiscated large
quantities of suspicious products. Belgium, the worlds center for
pigeon racing, suspected that pigeons were being doped.
(SFC, 4/20/01, p.D3)
2001 Jul 16, The IOC in Moscow
elected Jacques Rogge (59), a Belgian surgeon, to succeed Juan
(SFC, 7/17/01, p.A1)
2001 Nov 23, In Belgium the UN
war crimes tribunal announced that Slobodan Milosevic, former
Yugoslav president, would stand trial on charges of genocide in the
1992-1995 war in Bosnia. Milosevic died in March 2006 while his
trial was in progress.
(SFC, 11/24/01, p.A11)(AP, 11/23/06)
2001 Nov 26, French and Belgian
police arrested 14 people suspected of organizing the Sep 9
assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood. Belgium
released 12 of its suspects the next day.
(WSJ, 11/27/01, p.A1)(WSJ, 11/28/01, p.A1,12)
2001 Dec 13, Some 80,000
antiglobalization protesters rallied in Brussels against an EU
summit set to start the next day.
(WSJ, 12/14/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 15, EU leaders
concluded a 2-day Council at Laeken, Belgium. The adoption of the
Laeken Declaration on the Future of Europe, established the European
Convention. A constitutional convention was planned. This process
was supposed to simplify the EUs legal architecture. The admittance
of 10 new members over the next 2 years was also planned. The EU
declared their nascent joint military force operational.
12/17/01, p.A14)(Econ, 10/27/07, p.16)
2001 In Belgium a 3-block
tolerance zone for prostitution was established in Antwerp as a test
case for national legalization of prostitution.
(WSJ, 5/26/05, p.A1)
2002 Feb, Bruge 2002 opened. It
had been named as one of two Cultural Capitals of Europe for this
year. The other was Salamanca, Spain.
(SSFC, 2/24/02, p.C5)
2002 May 16, The parliament
approved a euthanasia bill that would give terminally ill patients
the right to die under limited conditions.
(SFC, 5/17/02, p.A20)
2002 Jun 7, Princess Lilian
(83), the 2nd wife of King Leopold III, died.
(SFC, 6/15/02, p.A19)
2002 Jun 26, A Belgian appeals
court tossed out the war crimes case against Israeli PM Sharon, for
his role in the 1982 massacre at the Lebanon Shatila refugee camp,
and said subjects had to be on Belgian soil in order to be
investigated and tried.
(SFC, 6/27/02, p.A8)
2002 Jun 27, Belgian
authorities signed agreements to pay about $55 million to the
country's Jewish community for property lost during the Nazi
2002 Jul 16, Belgian banks
signed agreements to pay some $54 million to the countrys Jewish
community for property lost during the Nazi occupation.
(SFC, 7/17/02, p.A9)
2002 Jul, Customs inspectors in
Belgium noted irregularities in medical shipments from Senegal. It
was determined that some 3 million doses of Glaxo HIV drugs worth
$18 million had been diverted from Africa back to Europe for sale.
(SFC, 10/3/02, p.A10)
2002 In Belgium Andras Pandy
(d.2013), a serial killer dubbed the "Devil's Pastor", was sentenced
to life in prison. Arrested in 1997 he was convicted of killing his
two wives, two sons and two step-daughters, and of raping three of
his natural or adopted daughters, in a string of attacks in the late
1980s. His daughter Agnes was also found guilty of five of the six
murders and was jailed for 21 years. She was a key witness against
2003 Jan 29, Belgium said oil
leaking from the sunken cargo ship Tricolor (Dec 14) is washing up
on the Belgian coastline, damaging wildlife and beaches.
2003 Feb 16, In Belgium thieves over the
weekend emptied more than 100 vaults at a diamond trading center in
what officials said might be the largest theft ever in Antwerp.
2003 Mar 19, EU officials found
electronic bugs in a building in Brussels where a summit was set to
open the next day. Belgian police suspected the US.
(WSJ, 3/20/03, p.A1)
2003 Apr 5, The Belgian Senate
approved a measure gutting a 1993 war crimes law.
2003 Apr 12, Belgium's Prince
Laurent married English-born commoner Claire Coombs in an elaborate
2003 Apr 29, The leaders of
France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, all critics of the U.S.-led
war on Iraq, agreed to beef up their military cooperation in an
effort to make Europe's defense less reliant on the US.
2003 May 14, A Belgian attorney
filed suit against US Gen. Tommy Franks and Col. Brian P. McCoy for
war crimes in the war in Iraq. The use of some 1,500 cluster bombs
in Iraq was part of the suit.
(SFC, 5/15/03, p.A6)
2003 May 18, Belgium held
parliamentary elections. PM Guy Verhofstadt and his center-left
coalition of free-market liberals and socialists won the elections.
The Greens suffered a huge defeat in both Dutch-speaking Flanders
and Wallonia. The socialists scored even stronger gains than their
liberal coalition partners.
2003 Jun 13, Belgium's foreign
minister said the country has already amended its war crimes laws to
avoid politically inspired lawsuits against US officials.
2003 Jun 22, The Belgian
government agreed on changes to narrow a war crimes law and prevent
complaints against foreign leaders that have provoked vehement
criticism from the US.
2003 Jul 12, In Belgium PM Guy
Verhofstadt took office as head of a new center-left government and
immediately agreed to replace a war crimes law that has soured
Belgium's relations with the United States.
2003 Jul, Vincent Van
Quickenborne was named Belgiums 1st sec. of state for
(WSJ, 5/20/04, p.A11)
2003 Aug 1, The Belgian Senate
gave final approval to a scaled-down war crimes law that the
government hopes will repair relations with Washington and preserve
Belgium's role as NATO headquarters.
2003 Sep 30, Eighteen
accused al-Qaida sympathizers were convicted in Belgium's biggest
terrorism trial. Nizar Trabelsi of Tunisia, who once played
professional soccer in Germany, received the maximum sentence of 10
years in prison from a court that also convicted 17 other men and
acquitted five others.
(AP, 9/30/03)(AP, 9/30/08)
2003 Dec 20, A German bus
swerved off a Belgian highway, crashed against a concrete divider
and caught fire, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.
2003 Belgiums government began
issuing electronic ID cards.
(Econ, 2/9/13, p.60)
2004 Mar, Interbrew SA, based
in Belgium, was set to become the world's largest brewer by volume
following the acquisition of Brazil's AmBev.
(WSJ, 3/10/04, p.A1)
2004 Apr 2, In Brussels an
official ceremony welcomed Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia,
Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia into the NATO alliance.
(SFC, 4/3/04, p.A11)
2004 Apr 27, Libyan leader
Moammar Gadhafi arrived in Brussels, his first trip to Europe in 15
years. Gadhafi sought "full normalization" of relations and entry to
the aid and trade program the EU runs with countries around the
Mediterranean, including Israel.
2004 Jun 17, A jury in
Brussels, Belgium, convicted Marc Dutroux (47), an ex-convict, of
abducting 6 girls in 1995-96. It also found him guilty of murdering
2 of the girls and an accomplice.
2004 Jun 21, Ephrem Nkezabera
(52), a former Rwandan banker, was arrested in Brussels and held on
charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the 1994 Rwandan
2004 Jul 30, In Belgium a major
natural gas pipeline exploded in Ath, killing 16 people and injuring
120, including firefighters and police responding to a report of a
(AP, 7/30/04)(WSJ, 8/2/04, p.A1)
2004 Aug, An $11 billion merger
between Belgiums Interbrew and Brazils largest brewer AmBev formed
(Econ, 10/29/05, p.66)
2004 Sep 23, In Belgium a woman
gave birth to a healthy baby after doctors had transplanted ovarian
tissue, frozen since 1997, back into her abdomen.
(SFC, 9/24/04, p.A1)
2005 Jan 1, Belgium was
forecast for 2.5% GDP growth with a population at 10.4 million and
GDP per head at $36,430.
(Econ, 1/8/05, p.87)
2005 Feb 20, President Bush
land in Belgium to begin a five-day European trip aimed at fostering
a friendly atmosphere early in his second term.
2005 Feb 21, In Brussels
President Bush appealed to Europe to move beyond animosities over
Iraq and join forces in encouraging democratic reforms across the
Middle East. He also prodded Russia to reverse a crackdown on
political dissent, demanded that Iran end its nuclear ambitions and
told Syria to get out of Lebanon.
(AP, 2/21/05)(SFC, 2/22/05, p.A1)
2005 Feb 22, In Belgium a Nato
summit announced a 12-year program to destroy Soviet-era weapons in
(WSJ, 2/22/05, p.A1)
2005 May 21, The Belgian film
The Child, by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, won the Palme dOr at
the Cannes Film Festival.
(SSFC, 5/22/05, p.A2)
2005 Jul 17, Egypt demanded
that institutions in Britain and Belgium return two pharaonic
reliefs it says were chipped off tombs and stolen 30 years ago,
threatening to end their archaeological work here if they refuse.
2005 Aug 9, Suez, a French
water and power company, announced a $14 billion purchase of 49.9%
of the shares of Electrabel, a Belgian electricity firm.
(Econ, 8/13/05, p.52)
2005 Sep 6, Father Guy Theunis,
a Belgian priest, was arrested in Rwanda on suspicion of involvement
in the 1994 genocide. Judicial sources said Theunis was accused of
republishing extracts of items from an extremist magazine known as
"Kangura" which they said incited hatred and violence.
2005 Sep 11, A Rwandan
community court charged Guy Theunis (60), a Belgian missionary, with
inciting and planning the 1994 genocide that left more than half a
million people dead.
2005 Sep 19, Belgium issued an
international arrest warrant for Chad's former leader Hissene Habre,
charging him with atrocities during his 1982-90 rule. Habre, who
lives in exile in Senegal, is being pursued under Belgium's
"universal jurisdiction" laws, which allow for prosecutions for
crimes against humanity wherever they were committed.
2005 Nov 9, In Belgium over
half a dozen fires were reported in several cities, including the
capital of Brussels, in the 4th day of vandal attacks, most of which
remained minor. No injuries were reported, and several people were
taken into custody for questioning by police.
2005 Nov 9, Muriel Degauque, a
Belgian national married to a Moroccan man, detonated explosives
strapped to her body in a failed attack against US troops.
2005 Nov 13, Belgium said it
registered its worst night in a week of attacks on vehicles
apparently inspired by French events, with 29 cars, trucks and buses
torched around the country.
2005 Nov 25, In Belgium a
one-day strike interrupted production at the Volkswagen AG plant in
the outskirts of Brussels as trade unions protested planned
government changes to retirement policy.
2005 Nov 30, Belgian police
arrested 14 people in raids on several homes as part of a probe into
a woman thought to be the first European female suicide bomber in
2005 Dec 22, A decomposed body
discovered in a Brussels canal a week ago was reported to be that of
Juvenal Uwilingiyimana, a Rwandan former minister indicted by a UN
tribunal on charges of genocide.
2005 Dec 28, Officials said UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has nominated Serge Brammertz, a
Belgian prosecutor, to lead the next stage of a probe into the
assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.
2005 In Belgium deaths from
traffic accidents reached 11.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. Blame was
put on the lack of stop signs at most intersections.
(WSJ, 9/25/06, p.A1)
2006 Jan 23, Belgian brewer
InBev NV, the world's largest brewery by volume, said it has agreed
to buy the largest brewer in China's Fujian province for 614 million
euros ($740 million).
2006 Jan 27, Belgiums food
safety agency closed 96 pig and chicken farms as it traced the
source of dioxins found by a Dutch firm last week back to a vat of
Belgian pork fat.
2006 Feb 16, A Belgian court
found three men guilty of belonging to an Islamic group linked to
terrorist attacks in Madrid and Casablanca and sentenced them to at
least six years in jail.
2006 Mar 17, Exiled Syrian
opposition figures in Belgium formed a united front, calling for a
transitional government to prepare for the overthrow of President
Bashar Assad's regime.
2006 Mar 31, A lucky Belgian
won the jackpot of 75,753,123 euros (53 million pounds) in the
European lottery EuroMillions.
2006 Apr 12, Joe Van Holsbeeck
(17) was stabbed to death at the Brussels Central train station in a
robbery by 2 men for his MP3 player. On August 2 a Polish teen,
suspected in the murder, was extradited to Belgium and taken into
2006 Apr 20, The Belgian
parliament narrowly approved a bill to grant same-sex couples equal
rights in adoption. Belgium became the fourth European Union member
state to allow same-sex couples equal rights in adoption, after
Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden.
2006 May 11, In Antwerp,
Belgium, a gunman (18) shot and wounded a woman of Turkish descent,
then he turned his rifle on a black woman from Mali and the
2-year-old white girl in her care, killing both. In 2007 Hans Van
Themsche was sentenced to life in prison for the killings.
(AP, 5/12/06)(AP, 10/11/07)
2006 Jun 6, The Spanish
interior ministry said that 67 suspects had been arrested for
accessing child porn on the Internet over the past five days. The
international police operation arrested 38 in France, 10 in Spain, 9
in Slovakia, 7 in Belgium and 3 in the Netherlands.
2006 Jun 28, Belgian
authorities confirmed the discovery of a second body in their search
for two missing schoolgirls. Stepsisters, Stacy Lemmens (7) and
Nathalie Mahy (10), had disappeared from a street party on June 10.
2006 Aug 7, Belgian officials
said thefts of drain covers in Charleroi have soared in recent days
as skyrocketing metal prices have made them lucrative.
2006 Sep 2, In Nevadas Black
Rock Desert the Burning Man art festival culminated with the burning
of a 40-foot wooden man. It included a Belgian art installation
titled Uchronia (aka the Belgian Waffle), a 250,000, 15-story
wooden cavern funded by Jan Kriekels and constructed by 90 Belgium
(SSFC, 9/3/06, p.B1)
2006 Sep 18, A court in Belgium
ordered Google to remove all links to French and German language
newspaper reports published in Belgium due to copyright laws.
(SFC, 9/19/06, p.D7)
2006 Sep 25, UCB, a Belgian
drug firm, announced a takeover of Germanys Schwarz Pharma for 4.4
(Econ, 9/30/06, p.71)
2006 Sep 28, Belgian government
officials said the transfer of confidential banking records by a
Belgium-based company to US authorities for use in anti-terrorism
investigations breached Belgian and likely European Union data
2006 Oct 8, Early results
showed the party of Belgium's PM Guy Verhofstadt giving ground to a
far-right, anti-immigrant party in bellwether local elections.
2006 Nov 4, Swathes of Austria,
Belgium, Croatia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the
Netherlands and went dark for up to an hour in the late evening as
cold Germans rushing to switch on heaters sucked up electricity from
Europe's interconnected networks.
2006 Nov 18, In Belgium Els Van
Doren (38) smashed into a back garden from some 4,500 meters because
both her main and reserve parachutes failed to open after she jumped
from a plane with Els Clottemans (26), their lover, Dutchman Marcel
Somers, and another man. In 2010 Els Clottemans went on trial
charged with the murder of her fellow skydiver and love rival. She
was convicted and jailed for 30 years for killing her rival.
(AP, 9/24/10)(AFP, 10/21/10)
2006 Dec 2, At least 15,000
demonstrators marched through Brussels in protest at planned job
cuts at the Belgian factory of German car maker Volkswagen.
2006 Dec 13, A fictional TV
program in Belgium incited viewers as it depicted a faux active
revolt in Flanders.
(SFC, 12/15/06, p.A23)
2007 Jan 19, Belgian lawyers
confirmed that a group of Belgian newspapers had asked Yahoo! Inc.
to remove links to their archived stories from its Web search
service, claiming they infringe copyright laws.
2007 Feb 13, A Belgian court
ruled that Google may not reproduce extracts from a variety of
Belgian newspapers, imperiling one of the web search leader's most
popular services if other courts follow suit.
2007 Feb 13, In Belgium a
government-backed report blamed Belgian authorities and the ruling
elite for collaborating with the Nazi persecution of Jews during
World War II.
2007 Feb 28, In Belgium a
mother killed her five children, then tried to commit suicide at the
family's home. The four girls and a boy, aged between 4 and 14, were
stabbed with a knife. The woman called emergency services, then
tried to kill herself.
2007 Mar 1, Belgian
firefighters clashed with police, trading barrages from water
cannons during a chaotic demonstration near the nation's parliament,
injuring six people. The firefighters sought better working
conditions, earlier retirement and better compensation when they are
2007 Mar 12, In Belgium
officials said a man last week stole $28 million worth of diamonds
from an Antwerp bank. He had been a trusted customer there for a
year using a stolen Argentine passport. The bank discovered the
theft on March 5, believing that someone took the stones that
morning or the previous Friday from a vault used by pawnbrokers and
2007 Apr 2, A UN conference on
climate change opened in Belgium with the EU's top environment
official calling on the US to join efforts to curb global warming.
2007 Apr 15, In Belgium 2 men
hijacked a helicopter and forced the pilot to land in a prison
courtyard, where they picked up an inmate in a dramatic jailbreak.
RTL-TVI identified the fugitive as a Frenchman who was in pretrial
detention on charges of fraud and theft.
2007 Apr 19, Former Rwandan
army major Bernard Ntuyahaga went on trial in Brussels, charged with
the murder of 10 Belgian peacekeepers and the Rwandan prime minister
2007 May 1, Thirty people were
arrested in raids across Belgium, England, and the Netherlands
targeting suspected animal rights extremists.
2007 May 5, Belgiums daily La
Derniere Heure reported that prosecutors in Brussels, overwhelmed by
the number of speeding fines imposed since fixed radar traps were
installed, have asked police to let off all but the worst offenders,
angering local mayors.
2007 May 10, Talks in Brussels
between NATO's top generals and their Russian counterpart failed to
narrow the gap between Moscow and the West over missile defense and
arms control in Europe.
2007 Jun 10, Belgians voted in
legislative elections widely expected to hand defeat to PM Guy
Verhofstadt, dashing his hopes for a third term after eight years in
2007 Jun 11, Belgian PM Guy
Verhofstadt's Liberal-Socialist coalition government resigned, a day
after conservatives, led by Christian Democrats, posted big gains in
2007 Jun 16, Planes remained
grounded at Brussels south Charleroi airport as a strike by security
officers entered a second day.
2007 Jun 23, A Belgian teenager
was arrested for hacking and temporarily shutting down the federal
police website, leaving a mocking on-line note which helped identify
2007 Jul 5, A Belgian court
sentenced Bernard Ntuyahaga (55), a former Rwandan army major, to 20
years in prison on for the murder of 10 Belgian peacekeepers and an
undetermined number of Rwandan civilians at the start of the 1994
2007 Aug 8, Researchers from
Belgium and China said a simple blood test can detect early stage
liver cancer and more accurately diagnose the disease that is a
major killer in Asia and Africa.
2007 Sep 5, The Belgian-based
International Polar Foundation unveiled what it claimed to be the
world's first zero-emissions polar science station in Antarctica to
conduct research on climate change.
2007 Oct 13, Belgian Countess
Andree De Jongh (90), who set up an escape route that helped
hundreds of British airmen flee the Nazi occupation of Belgium
during World War II, died. De Jongh, a female nurse in a men's world
of war resistance, helped found the Comet Line escape route while
still in 1940. By the time she was arrested in 1943, she had already
brought 118 people, including 80 downed pilots to safety.
2007 Oct 23, It was reported
that police patrolling the red-light district of the Belgian capital
have been ordered to stop visiting brothels and drinking in bars
when on duty.
2007 Oct 28,
Nordin Benallal, a Belgian inmate, made a dramatic escape from
jail for the fourth time after his armed accomplices landed in the
prison grounds in a hijacked helicopter. On landing, the helicopter
was crowded by other prisoners, making takeoff impossible and
causing it to crash. Benallal and his cohorts then briefly seized
two prison warders as hostages and fled in a car parked nearby.
2007 Oct 30, Nordin Benallal
(27), a Belgian gangster dubbed "The Eel" for his skill at slipping
away from Belgian prison authorities, was caught in the Netherlands
two days after his latest jailbreak.
2007 Nov 5, Authorities said
police from across Europe have arrested 92 suspects linked to an
alleged network that produced and sold child abuse videos to 2,500
customers around the world. The 15-month investigation was triggered
by an Australian police discovery in July 2006 of a video depicting
a Belgian father raping his daughters, aged 9 and 11.
2007 Nov 7, In Belgium
politicians of the Flemish majority, 60% of the population, made a
bid to abolish the bilingual rights of 150,000 French speakers
living in suburbs near Brussels. This broke the decades-old Belgian
Pact under which the 2 language groups avoided holding a straight
(Econ, 11/10/07, p.65)
2007 Nov 16, Belgium
researchers studying the collective behavior of insects said tiny
robots programmed to act like roaches were able to blend into
cockroach society. Cockroaches tend to self-organize into leaderless
groups, seeming to reach consensus on where to rest together.
2007 Nov 27, In Brussels Valdas
Adamkus, President of Lithuania, was declared European of the Year
at the annual EV50 gala awards ceremony hosted by European Voice.
President Adamkus was nominated as one of 50 Europeans of the
Year. The 2007 winners of the EV50 awards were chosen by European
Voice readers from among 50 nominees, selected by a distinguished
panel of leading opinion-formers.
2007 Dec 1, The head of
Belgium's Flemish Christian Democrats abandoned efforts to form a
coalition government, after more than five months of fruitless
talks, plunging the country further into crisis.
2007 Dec 15, Some 20,000
Belgians demonstrated in Brussels against the erosion of their
spending power as the country's months-old political crisis begins
to hit people's pockets.
2007 Dec 19, Leaders of
Belgium's feuding Dutch- and French-speaking parties agreed to form
an interim government to run the country in the short term, while a
more permanent solution to the political crisis is sought.
2007 Dec 20, Radio Rwanda
reported that the Belgian government has this month given Rwanda
39.5 million euros (56.6 million dollars), mainly to help its small
former colony with power supplies, health and education.
2007 Dec 21, Belgian police
arrested 14 Muslim extremists suspected of planning the jailbreak of
an al-Qaida prisoner convicted of plotting a terrorist attack on US
air base personnel. They were released the next day after a court
decided there was insufficient evidence to hold them for more than
(AP, 12/21/07)(AP, 12/22/07)
2007 Dec 30, Belgian officials
said traditional New Year's Eve fireworks in central Brussels have
been canceled due to a continuing terror threat in the capital.
2008 Jan 11, Belgium, France
and Poland pledged to provide the resources needed to launch a
European Union peacekeeping force for Chad and the Central African
2008 Jan 18, In Yemen gunmen
believed to be al-Qaida militants opened fire on a tourist convoy
near the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, killing two Belgian
women and their driver. In 2009 four Al-Qaida militants were
convicted for the attack and sentenced to death.
(AP, 1/18/08)(AP, 7/11/10)
2008 Jan, Belgium began sending
out inspectors to daily check on 150 randomly selected sick and not
so sick civil servants. Some government departments were averaging
35 days of sick leave per year.
(WSJ, 1/9/09, p.A1)
2008 Feb 29, In Belgium lawyers
said Belgian writer Misha Defonseca (71) has admitted that she made
up her best-selling memoir, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust
Years," depicting how, as a Jewish child, she lived with a pack of
wolves in the woods during the Holocaust.
2008 Mar 11, The Belgian
government and banks agreed to pay $170 million to Holocaust
survivors, families of victims and the Jewish community for their
material losses during Word War II.
2008 Mar 17, Hannaford Bros., a
grocery store chain in the Northeast US and Florida owned by
Belgiums Delhaize Group SA, disclosed that as many as 4.2 million
customer account numbers had been stolen between Dec 7 and Mar 10.
The intrusion was not discovered until Feb 27 and occurred over a
network system that experts had believed to be secure.
(WSJ, 3/31/08, p.B4)
2008 Mar 18, Five Belgian
parties sealed a deal for a coalition government under Christian
Democrat Yves Leterme, ending a political limbo which threatened to
split the linguistically divided country.
2008 Mar 20, Flemish Christian
Democrat Yves Leterme took over as Belgian prime minister, ending
nine months of deadlock.
2008 Apr 13, The winners of
this years Goldman Awards were reported to be: Feliciano dos Santos
(43) of Mozambique, the director of Estamos, an environmental group
promoting sanitation, sustainable development and reforestation;
Marina Rikhvanova (46), founder of Baikal Environmental Wave, which
forced the rerouting of an oil pipeline in the Baikal basin; Pablo
Fajardo (35) and Luis Yanza (48) of Ecuador, co-founders of the
Amazon Defense Front, which accused Texaco (now Chevron) of dumping
oil and wastewater into local streams; Rosa Hilda Ramos (63) of
Puerto Rico, head of a movement to protect the Las Cicharillas
Marsh; Ignace Schops (43) of Belgium, head of a movement to
establish Belgiums 1st and only national park; Jesus Leon (42) of
Mexico, co-founder of the Center for Integral Small Farmer
Development of the Mixtec (CEDICAM).
(SSFC, 4/13/08, p.A4)
2008 May 24, Belgian police in
Brussels arrested Jean-Pierre Bemba (45), a Congolese warlord and
ex-presidential candidate, after he was secretly charged with rape
and torture. Bemba was accused of war crimes and crimes against
humanity as head of a militia that allegedly committed atrocities in
Central African Republic's conflict in 2002-2003.
2008 Jun 4, In Belgium riot
police armed with shields and batons charged hundreds of protesting
fishermen outside EU headquarters after a demonstration over high
fuel prices turned violent.
2008 Jun 11, InBev, the
Belgian-Brazilian brewing giant, offered $46 billion, or 65 dollars
a share, in cash for Anheuser-Busch in a bid to create an unrivaled
global brewing giant.
(AFP, 6/12/08)(Econ, 6/21/08, p.77)
2008 Jun 18, In Belgium
hundreds of farmers, truckers and taxi drivers blocked roads in and
around Brussels on the eve of an EU summit to push leaders for help
coping with skyrocketing fuel prices.
2008 Jul 13, Belgian-based
brewer InBev announced it will buy Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion.
2008 Jul 15, Belgium PM Yves
Leterme offered King Albert the resignation of his government after
he acknowledged he would not make a deadline for a constitutional
reform deal despite months of talks. He offered to resign after
realizing it would be impossible to resolve deep divisions over
increased autonomy for French- and Dutch-speaking Belgians.
2008 Jul 17, Belgium's King
Albert II refused to accept the resignation of the prime minister
and his government, calling on key officials to redouble efforts to
resolve an longtime disagreement over more self-rule for the
country's Dutch and French speakers.
2008 Sep 28, The governments of
Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg took partial control of
struggling bank Fortis NV.
2008 Oct 31, In southern Egypt
tourist bus overturned, killing six Belgian tourists and injuring 26
other Belgian passengers.
2008 Nov 17, Guy Peellaert
(b.1934), Belgian painter and collagist, died. His work included the
book Rock Dreams (1974), published in collaboration with British
rock journalist Nik Cohn.
(SSFC, 11/23/08, p.B8)
2008 Nov 18, Belgian brewing
giant InBev announced it had completed the takeover of
Anheuser-Busch to create the world's biggest brewer. Beijing agreed
to Belgium-based InBev SA's takeover of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.'s
Chinese operations as part of their global merger, but limited
future acquisitions on anti-monopoly grounds.
2008 Nov 27, In China
assailants allegedly pulled members of a Belgian television crew
from their vehicle, beat them and took their notes and money. VRT
asked for compensation for damaged equipment, an apology to the
journalists and a guarantee that the journalists will be able to
2008 Dec 11, Police in Brussels
and eastern Belgium detained 14 suspected al-Qaida-linked extremists
in raids, including one militant who allegedly was plotting a
2008 Dec 12, Belgian
authorities charged six suspected al-Qaida-linked extremists with
membership in a terrorist group. They including a woman whose
husband was involved in the assassination of Afghanistan's top
anti-Taliban warlord shortly before the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
2008 Dec 20, Belgium's King
Albert consulted political leaders after the government collapsed
for the third time in a year following its botched attempt to bail
out financial group Fortis.
2008 Dec 30, Belgium's Flemish
Christian Democrat Herman Van Rompuy reached agreement on a new
coalition government of five parties, opening the way for his
nomination as prime minister by King Albert II. A new government
took office that is nearly a replica of the quarrelsome alliance of
Christian Democrats, Liberals and Socialists that quit earlier this
month in a bank bailout scandal.
2009 Jan 20, In Belgium the
Entropa art installation at the EU headquarters, by Czech artist
David Cerny, covered up the part that showed Bulgaria as a squat
toilet after protests from the aggrieved nation.
2009 Jan 23, In Belgium Kim De
Gelder went on a rampage at a day care center, stabbing two young
children and a female worker to death and slashing 10 other children
all over their bodies.
(AP, 1/23/09)(AP, 3/22/13)
2009 Feb 19, Belgium took
Senegal to the International Court of Justice over the African
nation's failure to prosecute a former Chad president for crimes
against humanity and torture.
2009 Apr 6, Belgium began World
Court proceedings against Senegal in an effort to bring former Chad
President Hissene Habre on trial for alleged widespread human rights
abuses during his eight-year reign. A Chadian commission of inquiry
has concluded that Habre's regime killed at least 3,780 political
opponents, but added that the figure likely represents only 10
percent of his victims.
2009 Apr 30, Belgium stripped
the credentials of 2 high-ranking members of Russias permanent
mission to NATO and expelled them on accusations of espionage.
(SFC, 5/1/09, p.A2)
2009 May 25, Dairy farmers
created traffic chaos in Berlin, blocked milk processing plants in
France and protested at EU headquarters in Brussels, seeking more
aid to cope with a sharp drop in milk prices.
2009 Jun 1, Belgian PM Herman
Van Rompuy vowed to double civilian aid to Afghanistan and welcomed
plans to increase non-military assistance during a visit to Kabul.
2009 Jun 2, In Belgium a new
museum opened in Louvain-la-Neuve dedicated to Georges Remi
(1907-1983), creator of the comic book hero Tintin (1929).
(Econ, 5/30/09, p.87)
2009 Jun 28, Somali pirates
released the entire crew of the Belgian the Pompei dredger, a ship
seized on April 18, after a ransom was paid.
2009 Aug 3, Belgian authorities
recaptured Abdelhaq Melloul-Khayari, a convict who escaped twice in
as many weeks, including once from a Bruges prison by helicopter.
2009 Aug 4, In Belgium three
prisoners escaped from the sprawling Palace of Justice courthouse in
central Brussels when two armed men burst into a court hearing and
took them with them, bringing the total to 12 over the past two
weeks. Five of the escaped inmates have been caught again, but seven
remained at large.
2009 Aug 6, In Belgium a fire
killed nine elderly people at a care home in the Flemish town of
Melle. Officials later said it was probably caused by an electrical
2009 Sep 4, The Belgian
government said it has accepted a US request to take in one detainee
from U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
2009 Sep 11, In Belgium the
Flemish education board banned religious symbols in all 700 secular
state schools under its control.
(Econ, 9/19/09, p.64)
2009 Sep 24, In Belgium 2 armed
robbers made off with a $1.1 million painting by Belgian surrealist
Rene Magritte, Olympia (1948), in a morning heist at a small
museum in Brussels.
2009 Sep 26, In Belgium two
burglary suspects were killed after the excessive explosives they
were using to break into a bank's safe blew up the whole building.
2009 Oct 5, In Belgium hundreds
of dairy farmers drove tractors into Brussels to pressure EU farm
ministers on declining milk prices, as 20 of 27 member nations
called for more protection from the volatile world market.
2009 Oct 12, In Senegal cyclist
Frank Vandenbroucke (34) was on holiday when he was found dead in
his room. Belgian cycling officials said his death was caused by a
lung embolism. Vandenbroucke won the weeklong Paris-Nice spring race
in 1998 and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic a year later before his
career was marred by a doping scandal.
2009 Nov 19, Herman Van Rompuy,
Belgium's Prime Minister and former economist, was named the
European Union's first permanent President. Baroness Catherine
Ashton, Britain's European Commissioner, was appointed as the EUs
Foreign Minister-designate, with the unwieldy title of High
Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
2009 Nov 23, Jacques Monsieur
(56), a Belgian arms dealer pleaded guilty, in an Alabama courtroom
to conspiracy to illegally export F-5 fighter jet engines and parts
from the US to Iran. Monsieur, along with Dara Fotouhi, an Iranian
national living in France, was charged in a six-count indictment
with conspiracy, money laundering and smuggling.
2009 Dec 1, Ephraim Nkezabera
(57), a former Rwandan bank director, was sentenced to 30 years in
prison by a Belgian court which found him guilty of war crimes
including murder, attempted murder and rape during the 1994
genocide. Nkezabera was not present in court and did not attend the
trial, which started just over three weeks ago, because of ill
health. He was arrested in June 2004 by the Belgian authorities
while visiting a family member in Belgium.
2009 Dec 22, Eurostar resumed
its high-speed rail service linking Britain, France and Belgium
after a three-day suspension that stranded tens of thousands of
2010 Jan 7, Eurostar passengers
faced further disruption after one of its high-speed trains got
stuck for 2 hours in the Channel Tunnel again, weeks after a major
breakdown due to the cold.
2010 Jan 20, In Belgium the
world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, shut down
production in its home country, in an escalation of a standoff over
job cuts with its Belgian workers which is causing beer shortages in
2010 Jan 21, General Motor
Co.'s Opel unit will cut 8,300 jobs across Europe, including 4,000
in Germany, and close a plant in Antwerp, Belgium, cutting over
2010 Jan 22, Belgian scientists
said nearly 80 percent of the 300,000 conflict-related deaths in
Darfur were due to diseases like diarrhea, not violence.
2010 Jan 27, In Belgium a
five-story apartment building collapsed in Liege after an apparent
gas explosion. At least 11 people were killed. An additional 21
people were injured, two of them seriously.
(AP, 1/27/10)(AP, 1/28/10)
2010 Feb 15, In Belgium two
commuter trains collided head-on after one ran a stop light at rush
hour in a Brussels suburb, killing at least 18 people and injuring
2010 Mar 31, In Belgium a
parliamentary committee unanimously voted to ban the wearing of
face-covering veils in public, a major step in the legislative
process that could make Belgium the first European country to impose
such a religious prohibition.
2010 Apr 22, Belgian Premier
Yves Leterme's government collapsed after negotiations broke down to
resolve a long-simmering dispute between Dutch and French-speaking
politicians over a bilingual voting district.
2010 Apr 23, Belgium's longest
serving bishop, Roger Vangheluwe (73) the Bishop of Bruges,
resigned, saying he was "enormously sorry" for having sexually
abused a young boy about 25 years ago. It later was established that
the victim was his nephew. In 2011 the Vatican clarified the
punishment against Vangheluwe after Belgian bishops reported that he
had merely been sent outside Belgium for spiritual and psychological
(AP, 4/23/10)(AP, 4/12/11)
2010 Apr 26, Belgium King
Albert II accepted the government's resignation after negotiations
failed to resolve a long-simmering dispute between Dutch- and
French-speaking politicians over a bilingual voting district in and
2010 Apr 29, Belgium's lower
house of parliament banned burqa-type Islamic dress in public, but
the measure faced a challenge in the Senate which will delay early
enactment of the law. There were two abstentions. No one voted
2010 Jun 3, In Brussels,
Belgium, a lone gunman, an Iranian refugee (47), rose near the end
of a court session and gunned down Judge Isabelle Brandon and her
clerk Andre Bellemans, then fled from the courthouse on foot. The
suspect was caught eight hours later in a park a mile (1.5 km) away
after a brief exchange of gunfire with police. The slain magistrate
had ordered his eviction in 2007 from a house after a rent dispute.
(AP, 6/3/10)(AP, 6/4/10)
2010 Jun 13, Belgium voters
gave a stunning win in general elections to the New Flemish
Alliance, a separatist party that wants Dutch and French-speakers to
end years of acrimonious linguistic disputes, or go their own way
and break up Belgium.
(Reuters, 6/13/10)(AP, 6/14/10)
2010 Jun 24, In Belgium police
raided the home and former office of recently retired Archbishop
Godfried Danneels as part of an investigation into the sexual abuse
of children by Roman Catholic priests. Separately police seized the
records of an independent panel investigating sexual abuse by
(SFC, 6/25/10, p.A2)
2010 Jun 27, Pope Benedict
denounced as "surprising and deplorable" raids by Belgian police on
Church offices and the home of a cardinal this week during an
investigation into pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.
2010 Aug 13, A Belgian man died
from a drug-resistant "superbug" originating in South Asia, the
first reported death from the bacteria. The superbug -- a bacterial
gene called New Delhi metallo-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) -- was first
identified last year in a Swedish patient admitted to hospital in
2010 Aug 20, Charles Haddon,
the lead singer of the British electro-pop group Ou Est Le Swimming
Pool, committed suicide after performing at a rock festival in
2010 Sep 8, Belgian police say
10 people have been arrested in raids across Europe against hackers
who put illegal copies of movies and television series on the
Internet. Police said 5 arrests were in Belgium and the other
arrests were made in Poland, Norway and Sweden, where the alleged
leaders of four computer piracy networks were being held.
2010 Sep 9, The Belgium
government said that an investigation into sexual abuse in the
Catholic Church can continue even though a June 24 raid on the
archdiocese has been ruled illegal. The next day the commission
looking into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy said it had received
testimony from hundreds of victims and that witnesses widespread
abuse over decades had led to at least 13 suicides.
(AP, 9/9/10)(AP, 9/10/10)
2010 Sep 13, The Belgian Roman
Catholic church acknowledged widespread sexual abuse over years by
its clergy and pleaded for time to set up a system to punish all
abusers and provide closure for victims.
2010 Sep 29, In CongoDRC Armand
Tungulu (30), a Congolese citizen living in Belgium, was taken into
custody by Pres. Kabila's bodyguards after he threw rocks at the
presidential motorcade. Witnesses said the guards beat Tungulu
before arresting him. On Oct 4 a statement from the Congolese
attorney general's office said Tungulu killed himself on the night
of Oct 1 with a piece of cloth he had been using as a pillow. On
October 14 the DR Congo refused to return to Belgium the body of a
(AP, 10/4/10)(AP, 10/23/10)
2010 Oct 4, In Belgium European
and Asian leaders opened a formal summit amid high security and
palace opulence, hoping to agree on commitments to keep the global
financial system on an even keel and find a better balance on the
2010 Oct 23, In Belgium police
and demonstrators opposed to President Joseph Kabila of the
Democratic Republic of Congo clashed in Brussels during a protest
over the Oct 1 death in jail of Armand Tungulu, a visiting Congolese
dissident who lived in Belgium.
2010 Nov 23, Police in Belgium,
Germany and the Netherlands arrested at least 10 people on suspicion
of planning an Islamist militant attack in Belgium.
2010 Nov 24, Nigeria said it
has seized another illegal arms shipment at its main port, including
pistols and military vehicles, weeks after the discovery of a
weapons cache sent from Iran. The military items which were packed
inside a vehicle painted in army green. The illegal arms shipment
came from Belgium through Germany,
(AFP, 11/24/10)(AFP, 11/25/10)
2010 Nov 28, More than 250,000
classified US State Department documents were released by online
whistleblower WikiLeaks. Among the leaked memos was information that
Iranian Red Crescent ambulances were used to smuggle weapons to
Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group during its 2006 war with Israel.
Memos said the "IRC shipments of medical supplies served also to
facilitate weapons shipments." Documents also detailed concerns by
US officials in Baghdad about Irans influence on Iraq. Memos also
said King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had repeatedly urged the United
States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program to stop Tehran
from developing a nuclear weapon. One cable revealed that the US
kept nuclear weapons in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and
(AP, 11/28/10)(Econ, 12/4/10, p.35)
2010 Dec 6, Belgium's central
bank chief, Guy Quaden, urged the rudderless country's divided
politicians to speedily form a government to allay financial market
fears about its future.
2010 Dec 6, European nations
wrestled over whether to commit more money to help stabilize the
euro, as finance ministers gathered in Brussels to find ways to
fight the debt crisis that has rocked the currency bloc.
2010 Dec 16, In Belgium NATO
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking at a
groundbreaking ceremony for a new NATO building, said the new
structure is essential to meet the demands of a rapidly changing
security environment. Completion is due in 2015.
2010 Dec 24, Heavy snow
stranded thousands of Christmas travelers in Europe, with Belgium's
main airport closed for landing and icy roads in Sweden choked with
2010 Dec 29, A Belgian priest
published a confession to a child sex-abuse accusation that came to
light during a campaign to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize
for his work fighting globalization's impact on developing
countries. In October, after supporters of Francois Houtart (85)
began working to nominate him for the Nobel, a woman contacted the
nonprofit organization he founded and said the priest had abused her
brother 40 years ago.
2011 Jan 23, In Belgium tens of
thousands of protesters marched through the Brussels in support of
national unity and to demand that the rival political groupings
finally form a coalition after seven months without a government.
2011 Feb 17, Belgium citizens
staged a party to mark 249 days without a government, a figure that
they are treating as a world record in political waffling. Belgium
snatched Iraq's dubious record as the country boasting the world's
longest political crisis of recent times.
(AP, 2/17/11)(AFP, 2/17/11)
2011 Mar 4, In Belgium unions
disrupted public transport in parts of the country and blocked
industrial sites to demand better pay rises.
2011 Apr 26, Belgium marked the
one year anniversary of not having a full government. Caretaker PM
Yves Leterme said that up to 3 more months could be needed to form a
2011 Aug 18, In Belgium a storm
swept through the Pukkelpop music festival killing at least 3
people. Some 60,000 people had gathered for the 3-day festival.
(SFC, 8/19/11, p.A2)
2011 Aug, Belgium, France,
Italy and Spain introduced bans to prevent the short selling of
financial stocks. The EU banned naked shorting of shares in October,
effective in Nov, 2012.
(Econ, 10/22/11, p.88)
2011 Oct 9, The governments of
Belgium, France and Luxembourg said they had approved a plan for the
future of embattled bank Dexia, but they offered no details. France
and Belgium became part owners of the bank during a euro6 billion
($7.8 billion) 2008 bailout. They have promised to ensure that no
Dexia depositors lose money. Luxembourg held a smaller stake. The
cost of the bailout to French taxpayers was about 6.6 billion.
(AP, 10/9/11)(Econ, 11/16/13, p.77)
2011 Dec 5, Belgiums King
Albert II named Elio Di Rupo as the prime minister ending a record
541 days the country has gone without a government. Di Rupo will be
the first French-speaking prime minister in nearly 40 years.
(SFC, 12/6/11, p.A2)
2011 Dec 13, In Belgium Nordine
Amrani (33), armed with hand grenades and guns, opened fire in the
crowded center of Liege, leaving 4 people dead, including the
attacker. The dead included a 15-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl,
and an 18-month-old toddler. A 75-year-old woman who had initially
been counted among the dead was taken off the list, even though she
stands virtually no chance of recovering from her injuries. The body
of a cleaning woman in her forties was discovered during a search of
Amrani's property. She was killed just before the murderous spree at
Liege's main square.
(AP, 12/13/11)(AP, 12/14/11)
2012 Jan 12, Belgium's Catholic
Church said that priests and clergy who abused children will be
required to pay damages, even if victims make their claims after the
country's statute of limitations has expired.
2012 Jan 16, Belgian
authorities raided the administrative offices of three Catholics
bishops, part of an ongoing child abuse investigation that has
previously raised the ire of the Vatican and church officials.
2012 Jan 27, Fitch ratings
downgraded the debt of Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia and Spain
even as European finance chiefs gathering in Davos sought to
reassure global business leaders that Europe is on track to solve
its debt crises.
(SFC, 1/27/12, p.A4)
2012 Mar 12, Belgium launched a
bid in the UN's highest court to force Senegal to bring Hissene
Habre, dubbed "Africa's Pinochet", to trial for crimes against
humanity or to extradite him. The former Chad president was offered
safe haven in Senegal after his overthrow in 1990.
2012 Mar 13, In Belgium an
arsonist attack on a Shiite mosque left imam Abdallah Dadou (46)
dead. Authorities attributed the attack to tensions between Shiite
and Sunni communities.
(SFC, 3/14/12, p.A2)
2012 Mar 13, In Switzerland a
bus carrying Belgian students returning from a ski holiday crashed
into a wall in a tunnel near Sierre, killing 22 Belgian 12-year-olds
and six adults. Another 24 students were hospitalized with injuries.
2012 Jul 5, Uganda arrested
Thaddee Kwitonda (51), a Belgian citizen of Rwandan origin, in
Kampala after police tracked his movements for several months. He
was wanted by a court in his adopted homeland for involvement in the
2012 Aug 28, Belgium's highest
court granted conditional early release to a convent to Michelle
Martin, the accomplice and former wife of pedophile and child killer
Marc Dutroux, even though she let two of his victims starve to
2012 Sep 9, France's richest
man, Bernard Arnault, the CEO of luxury giant LVMH, confirmed
reports that he is seeking Belgian citizenship.
2012 Oct 3, A 24-hour strike by
Belgian rail workers paralyzed train traffic throughout Belgium and
the international high-speed service to London and Paris.
2012 Oct 14, Belgium held
municipal elections. Early results showed widespread gains for a
separatist party that is seeking autonomy for the wealthy
Dutch-speaking region of northern Flanders.
2012 Oct 14, Nicholas Mockford
(60), a British national and executive for ExxonMobil living in
Belgium, was shot dead as he left an Italian restaurant in
Neder-over-Heembeek. Helmeted assailants escaping on a motorcycle.
2012 Nov 14, Workers across the
European Union sought to present a united front against rampant
unemployment and government spending cuts with a string of strikes
and demonstrations across the region. In Belgium a 24-hour rail
stoppage and scattered strikes through the south of the nation
disrupted daily life. A Spanish strike shut down most schools and
while hospitals operated with a skeleton staff. In Portugal the
second general strike in eight months left commuters stranded as
trains ground to a virtual halt.
2012 Dec 4, Branislav
Milinkovic (52), Serbia's ambassador to NATO, was chatting and
joking with colleagues in a multistory parking garage at Brussels
Airport when he suddenly strolled to a barrier, climbed over and
flung himself to the ground below.
2012 Dec 14, In Belgium twin
45-year-old men, whose names were not been made public, were legally
put to death by lethal injection at the Brussels University Hospital
in Jette. They were euthanized by their doctor after realizing they
were going blind and would be unable to see each other ever again.
2013 Jan 10, Belgium PM Elio Di
Rupo chastised Queen Fabiola over her inheritance plans, which have
widely seen as a tax dodge on a fortune amassed with taxpayer money.
(SFC, 1/11/13, p.A2)
2013 Feb 9, In Belgium a small
private plane crashed south of Brussels, killing five members of a
family including three small children.
2013 Feb 18, In Belgium 8
masked gunmen forced their way through the security fence at
Brussels' international airport, drove onto the tarmac and snatched
some $50 million worth of diamonds from the hold of a Swiss-bound
plane without firing a shot.
2013 Feb 22, Frozen food maker
Birds Eye said it would withdraw some products in Britain and
Ireland after it found traces of horse DNA in one of its ready meals
sold in Belgium.
2013 Mar 5, Frozen food maker
Birds Eye said horse meat DNA found in two of its products came from
an Irish meat processor that is part of one of Ireland's largest
agricultural businesses. The company said investigations had found
its Belgian supplier Frigilunch NV had unknowingly sourced meat with
horse DNA from Irish meat processor QK Meats.
2013 Mar 22, In Belgium Kim De
Gelder (24) was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, despite
concerns about his mental condition, for four murders, including the
slashing deaths of two babies at a day care center in 2009.
2013 Apr 14, In Belgium a
Polish bus carrying Russian youngsters crashed through the
guardrails of a bridge and plunged 5 meters (16 feet) to a field
below, killing at least five people and injuring 12.
2013 Apr 14, Marcella Pattyn
(92), the worlds last Beguine, died in Belgium. She was the last
woman living in a lay Christian order that dated back some 800 years
in Germany and the Low Countries.
(Econ, 4/27/13, p.86)
2013 Apr 16, Belgian police
conducted searches at 46 locations over the recruitment of fighters
to help rebels trying to overthrow Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
2013 Apr 20, In Zedelgem,
Belgium, fleeing robbers panicked and threw a cracked safe out the
window sending some $1 million euros into the air. Inhabitants of
the area were urged to return the money.
2013 May 4, In northern Belgium
hundreds of people were evacuated after a train carrying chemicals
derailed and caught fire.
2013 May 4, Belgian biochemist
Christian de Duve (95), Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine
(1974), died in an act of euthanasia.
2013 May 8, Belgian, French and
Swiss authorities arrested at least 31 people in a sweep for robbers
who pulled off a diamond theft on Feb 18 with clockwork precision at
2013 May 15, In Brussels a plan
to turn Mali into a stable democracy rather than a terrorist haven
drew massive support as various nations and international
organizations pledged 3.25 billion euros ($4.22 billion) to help
reconstruct the conflict-ridden West African nation.
2013 Jul 3, Belgiums
King Albert (79) announced he will abdicate on July 21, the
countrys national holiday, and pass the throne of this fractious
nation to his son.
(AP, 7/4/13)(SFC, 7/4/13, p.A2)
2013 Jul 4, Belgian lawmakers
seized on King Albert's decision to abdicate to call for his son and
heir, Prince Philippe, to become a purely ceremonial monarch.
2013 Jul 21, King Philippe I
(53) became Belgium's seventh monarch during a national holiday
after his father Albert (79) abdicated as the head of the nation.
2013 Aug 23, The Belgian
prosecutor's office said a three-nation investigation (Belgium,
Netherlands, Poland) has led to one of the biggest seizures of
synthetic drugs in Europe, a haul of core products to create Ecstasy
pills with a street value of 1.3 billion euros ($1.75 billion).
2013 Sep 16, Belgium said it
was investigating suspected foreign state espionage against its main
telecoms company, which is the top carrier of voice traffic in
Africa and the Middle East, and a newspaper pointed the finger at
the United States.
2013 Oct 8, Francois Englert of
Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain won the 2013 Nobel Prize in
physics for their theory on how the most basic building blocks of
the universe acquire mass.
2013 Oct 10, Former Belgian PM
Wilfried Martens (77) died overnight. Martens was prime minister
from April 1979 to April 1981 and from December 1981 to March 1992,
leading a total of nine governments. He was one of the architects of
Belgium's federal division and a long-time leading figure in the
2013 Oct 12, In Belgium Somali
pirate Mohamed Abdi Hassan, better known as "Afweyne" or "Big
Mouth", was detained at Brussels airport when he stepped off a
flight from Nairobi. He was lured to Brussels on promises of
shooting a documentary movie about his life on the high seas.
2013 Oct 19, In Belgium a plane
carrying 10 skydivers, including one making her maiden jump for her
birthday, crashed shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board
and the pilot.
2013 Nov 20, European Union
lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to meet only in Brussels and avoid
costly monthly treks to Strasbourg, France. The proposal must be
approved by the 28 EU governments and France is certain to nix any
change under the current conditions.
2013 Dec 3, In Belgium more
than 130 vehicles were involved in three pileups in a dense morning
fog. At least one person was killed.
(SFC, 12/4/13, p.A2)
2013 Dec 23, In Belgium Andras
Pandy (86), a serial killers dubbed the "Devil's Pastor", died
overnight in a jail in northwestern Bruges.
2013 Dec 29, Belgian police
seized thousands of marijuana plants discovered by firefighters
during an overnight blaze, but found no immediate trace of the
2014 Jan 8, In Belgium Emiel
Pauwels (95), a European masters athletics champion, committed
euthanasia because he suffered from cancer. Pauwels held the over-90
60 meters European title he won last year.
2014 Feb 13, In Belgium
lawmakers voted to extend a decade-old law allowing euthanasia for
adults after months of often heated public debate. Belgium's House
of Representatives lifted all age restrictions on the right of the
incurably sick to end their lives.
(AFP, 2/13/14)(SFC, 2/14/14, p.A5)
2014 Mar 8, Gerard Mortier
(70), Belgian opera director, died. His nonconformist style often
grated the tradition-bound elite and who became a fiercely
avant-garde impresario. He became the director of Belgium's National
Operation, known as La Monnaie, in 1981, steering it away from
"bourgeois" entertainment and to international recognition and
2014 Mar 19, In Belgium a shell
or grenade from WWI exploded in an industrial site in Flanders
killing two construction workers.
(SFC, 3/20/14, p.A2)
2014 Mar 24, Belgium and Italy
said they had moved excess nuclear materials to the United States
for disposal or downgrading under the terms of past agreements, at
the start of a nuclear summit in the Netherlands.
2014 Mar 30, In Belgium Chinas
Pres. Xi Jinping received a royal welcome and an honorary knighthood
in Brussels at the start of a 3-day visit that will see him become
the first Chinese leader to visit EU headquarters.
2014 Apr 4, In Belgium
protesters, called by trade unions from across Europe, clashed with
police in Brussels at a demonstration against high unemployment,
throwing stones and smashing windows as they marched from the city
center to the European Union district.
2014 Apr 9, Belgian authorities
destroyed over 1,500 kilos (3,300 pounds) of ivory that had been
seized by customs over the past three decades to serve as a warning
to international smugglers who kill elephants daily for their tusks.