Consul General Series - 比利時駐港總領事Peter Robberecht

1) Please introduce any special events or culture of Belgium.


Well, Belgium actually is a very diverse country. For example, we have three official languages: Dutch, French and German. But this also makes us also very rich country in terms of culture.

To illustrate this, there are two festivals I would like to talk about. One is more modern. We have many music festivals, especially in summer. For example, we probably have the biggest electronic dance music festival in the world, in Belgium. It’s called “Tomorrowland”, it brings together people from all over the world, mainly young people. In total there were four hundred thousand people last summer The festival takes place every year of July, by the way lots of people also come from HK. So it's a big festival and very international as Belgium as.

Secondly, on the other hand, we also have traditions that have been going for long time. For example, Carnival is a very big thing in Belgium.


2)Any special dates?


Yes, it’s mainly in February, sometimes also extending to March. For example, we have the ‘Gilles de Binche’, which has been going on for six hundred years. It's UNESCO heritage and it's a very festive occasion with very special costumes in the French speaking part of Belgium in Binche, in the province of Hainaut. so you have the modern, the traditional, you have all kinds of festivals and culture in Belgium.


3) So are there any celebrations in HK?


Actually you don't have to travel to Belgium to see Belgian culture because in the upcoming weeks and months, for example we have the famous Belgian dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui , he will perform in HK in December. Then in March, there is also a very well-known choir from Brugge will participate in HK Art Festival, Anima Eterna. so we have lots of occasions for Belgian artists coming to HK and performing here in HK before HK audiences.

其實你無需要親身走到比利時才能體驗比利時的文化,因為在即將來臨的月份,我們就有著名比利時舞蹈員Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui在香港12月表演,然後到3月份,就會有來 布魯日的著名歌劇團參與香港藝術節,所以我們有很多來自比利時的藝術家來到香港表演。

4) So for us, we have to remember certain dates?


Well, the best time to visit Belgium is probably the summer, because the weather is better and there are a lot of festivals going on.


5) Any special culture you like about Chinese and HK .


I don't want to pretend to be an expert because I have only been here for 3 months. But one of the things that strike me in HK is the way that it is very international and sort of a melting pot which Belgium also is. So you have the Chinese culture, you have more Western culture and other kinds of culture. It's a big mix of everything and I think that is what makes HK such a fascinating city, a bridge between East and West.


6) Any food you like?


We have tried everything, the traditional cantonese cuisine, western food and fusion cuisine. It illustrates what I just said about HK, being a very international and mixed city, also in the cuisine you find here.

我已吃了很多美食,例如是傳統的中式料理或Fusion菜,所以從美食中就可反映出 ,香港是一個中西文化交匯的城市。

7) What is the national flower of your own country?


What we could consider to be the national flower is the Red Poppy. You find them everywhere, especially in the summer time, in fields all over Belgium. It actually also refers to history because in the first world war, there was a poem by an English soldier, poet John Macrae called “In Flanders Fields” where he describes the Poppy against the background of the war. So this had become more or less a national flower of Belgium, symbolizing both beauty and sacrifice.


8) So is it very easy to see many beautiful flowers in Belgium? People like to go to garden or plant your own flower in house?


Absolutely, every two years in the summer, the main square in Brussel is covered by a flower carpet, which is very impressive and may be an interesting thing to visit for people in HK.


9) Trendy Slang?


Since we have 3 official languages in Belgium, with Dutch, French and German, it's difficult to choose because I could choose a word from every language.

So I choose a word from the dialect of my own hometown which is Antwerp, in Dutch. The word is “Bangelijk”: literally it means something to fear, but is actually used to something that is great and fantastic.

因為我們有三種法定語言,包括荷蘭語、法語及德語,所以很難選擇其中,因為三種語言都有自己的俚語。不過我會選擇一個來自我的故鄉安特衛普,一個荷蘭語系地區的俚語名叫 “Bangelijk”,字面上意思是指驚恐,但實際上我們會用此來形容美好或讚嘆的事物。

10) Supplementary greetings

Of course I would like to invite every one of your listeners to come and visit Belgium as I have discovered HK in the past 3 months. It has been an absolute pleasure and I hope that our listeners will also discover Belgium and discover the beauty of my own country.

比利時駐港澳總領事Peter Robberecht、夏妙然博士