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Still no Government in Belgium

More than one year after the government elections in Belgium, the country is still divided – not only linguistically but also politically, failing to form a government after more than 400 days. Ever since the failure of coalition talks between the separatist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), who had won the elections in the Dutch-speaking region […]

Prosperity Lost

I’m in Charleroi in Belgium, and I’m staring at a lost world. Along the banks of a canal that crosses the country from East to West, there is a huge abandoned industrial complex. You’ll see the rusted towers of a steel works, chimney, giant lifting hooks, the hap-hazard looking piles of buildings of an old […]

What’s Belgium?

Brussels might be the “capital of a united continent” but it is also the capital of a deeply divided nation. Belgium is split along linguistic and cultural fault-lines. Recently it became the holder of a world record of dubious merit – it’s the global-leader in political paralysis. No other nation has gone so long without […]

Boring, Beautiful Bruges

As the train from Brussels pulled into the station, I struggled with my over-stuffed backpack and lumbered awkwardly down onto the platform of the dark train station. This was Bruges. It looked abandoned, as if time had stood still for centuries. I took a deep breath, the icy air shredding my throat. Under the dim […]

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