The Country (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Belgium is located in Western Europe and borders France, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and the North Sea. Along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Belgium has been historically part of the “Low Countries.” In some economic circles, these small countries are still connected and reported together, as they have formed a sort of union referred to as Benelux nations. Belgium is a small country, about the size of the state of Maryland, but it boasts 66.5 kilometers of coastline. It is centrally located, at the heart of the European Union, with the majority of European capitals within 1,000 kilometers of Brussels, the Belgian capital city, which is the headquarters of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Belgium’s geography is varied for a small country, with flat coastal plains in the northwest near the North Sea that stretch into the rugged mountains of the Ardennes forest in the southeast near its borders with France. In 2006, Belgium’s gross domestic product (GDP) was ranked eighteenth in the world. Services account for about 75 percent of Belgium’s GDP, a surprisingly high number somewhat related to its place as the headquarters of the European Union, NATO, and other major organizations based in Europe. Its workforce is highly educated and multilingual. The capital, Brussels, is home to more than one million people and about fifty-four thousand businesses. On its own, Brussels...
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Coal (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Historically, Belgium was a major producer and exporter of coal. Coal in Belgian coal mines, especially in the Kempen and Sambre-Meuse Valley, was easy to extract, and mining was a booming business. In the heyday of its coal-mining industry, Belgium imported workers from other countries to keep the coal mines operating. However, after the easily accessible coal had been extracted and the seams of coal ran farther underground and into harder materials, continuing to extract coal from these mines became economically inefficient. Between 1957 and 1992, Belgium shut down more than 120 coal mines, and unless the price of coal rises to the point of making this coal economically feasible to extract and export, it is unlikely that these mines will return to operation.
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Construction Materials (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Belgium is a source of construction materials such as silica sand, chalk, stone, and carbonates. Chalk and limestone are mined in the regions surrounding Tournai, Mons, and Liège, where there is a cement industry of some significance. The glass manufacturing industry is also supported by sands from the Kempenland area. Pottery products and bricks are made from clays from the Borinage region. Quarries also produce stones such as specialty marble, dolomite, granite, and sandstone.
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Diamonds (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Belgium is the leading country in the diamond trading market. Its port city of Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world, housing the leading diamond market in the world. Rough diamonds are imported and then processed into finished diamonds in Antwerp, where they are then traded and exported. This city is also the leading diamond cutting area of the world, where, the traditional story says, the first diamond was cut in 1476. The diamond cutting and trading center called “the Diamond Quarter” near Central Station (the train station near the port) has been a growing, thriving entity since the sixteenth century. Though the diamond processing arm of the trade is diminishing, diamond exports still account for about one-tenth of all exports from Belgium. Nearly 85 percent of the world’s rough diamonds and about 50 percent of the finished (polished) diamonds in the world pass through this city. In 2006, the United States accounted for about $2.8 billion of Belgium’s diamond exports, which amounts to about 20 percent of all Belgian exports to the United States. Overall, about $39 billion of diamonds are traded through the city, which accounts for about 8 percent of all Belgium’s exports. This diamond trade accounts for nearly 70 percent of the country’s positive trade balance and represents about 15 percent of Belgium’s trade with non-European Union countries. This prosperous business employs, directly or indirectly, nearly...
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Sugar (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
One of Belgium’s fastest-growing exports is sugar from sugar beets. In 2006, the exports of sugar from Belgium to the United States rose more than 5,000 percent for a total of about $10.7 million. This industry began in Belgium in 1807 when the British started a blockade of cane sugar from the Caribbean during the Napoleonic Wars. With cane sugar unavailable, beet sugar began to be the sugar of choice throughout Napoleonic Europe. The sugar production capital of Belgium is Tienen, which hosts a large sugar-beet processing factory that was founded in 1836. This factory and related sugar production facilities owned by the Raffinerie Tirlemontoise Group employ nearly two thousand people. This company owns three other Belgian sugar factories, in Brugelette, Genappe, and Wanze.
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Beer (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Monks in Belgium began brewing beer sometime during the Middle Ages. There are more than one hundred breweries scattered throughout Belgium, with about eight hundred standard types of beer produced. These range from light through dark types of beer; Belgians brew and export nearly every type of beer possible. Often, each type of beer is served in its own distinctive glass, which is said to enhance the flavor of that particular type of beer. Though Belgium is famous for many kinds of beer, it is possibly most famous for lambic beer, which is made in an ancient brewing style. This style depends on a spontaneous natural fermentation process after ingredients are exposed to the wild yeasts and bacteria native to the Senne Valley, located south of Brussels. This unusual fermentation process produces a drink that is naturally effervescent or sparkling, which is then aged, up to two or three years, to improve its taste. Much like champagne (only produced in a certain region in France) or Madeira (only produced on a certain island owned by Portugal), the title of “lambic beer” can only be given to this type of beer brewed in the small Pajottenland region of Belgium. Nearly half of the beer brewed in Belgium is exported, mostly to Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
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Chocolate (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
During the seventeenth century, when the Low Countries were ruled by Spain, Spanish conquistadores brought cacao beans back from the New World to the region that is now Belgium. By 1840, the Berwaerts Company had begun to sell Belgian chocolates that were quite popular. However, not until the nineteenth century, when King Leopold II colonized the Belgian Congo in 1885 and discovered cacao tree fields there, did Belgian chocolatiers begin to manufacture Belgian chocolates on a large scale. At the beginning of the 1900’s, there were at least fifty chocolate makers in Belgium. In 1912, Jean Neuhaus created a process for making a chocolate shell that could be filled with any number of fillings, something he called a “praline,” making Belgian chocolates even more popular. Belgium produces more than 156,000 metric tons of chocolate each year, has more than two thousand chocolate shops throughout the country, and hosts about three hundred different chocolate companies. Many of the original chocolate-making companies—such as Godiva, Leonidas, Neuhaus, and Nirvana—are still in operation today, and many of them still make chocolates by hand, using original equipment, high-quality ingredients, and Old World manufacturing techniques. Chocolate shops in Belgium offer tastings, much like wineries, and host chocolate festivals, workshops, tours, and demonstrations. There is a museum dedicated to chocolate, the Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat,...
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Pharmaceuticals (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Belgium has become a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry, employing nearly thirty thousand people and accounting for about 10 percent of all Belgian exports. Major pharmaceutical companies headquartered in Belgium include UCB, Solvay, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Omega Pharma, Oystershell NV, and Recherche et Industries Thérapeutiques. Private investment in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry is at about 40 percent, which is nearly twice the average of other European companies. The pharmaceutical industry is also heavily supported by the Belgian government, which offers tax incentives for pharmaceutical research and development. The United States has imported about $2.3 billion annually in medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical products from Belgium, which accounts for about 16 percent of all exports from Belgium to the United States.
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Textiles (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Since the thirteenth century, Belgium has been known as the home of master textile producers. The famous Unicorn Tapestries or “The Hunt of the Unicorn” series on display at The Cloisters, a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is thought to have been woven in Brussels sometime around 1495-1505 (when that area was still part of the Netherlands). The Flanders, or Flemish, region of Belgium is still home to many lace-making artists, particularly in the area of Bruges, which is the home of bobbin lace; however, lace is also still produced in Brussels and Mechelen. This industry can be traced back to the fifteenth century, when Charles V decreed that lace making was to be taught in the schools and convents of the Belgian provinces to provide girls with a source of income, as lace was popular on collars and cuffs for clothing of both sexes at that time. Lace is still produced in Belgium by lace artisans in their homes, one piece at a time, and, thus, is a source of artistic lace rather than high-production lace. There is even a museum dedicated solely to lace, the Musée du Costume et de la Dentelle, located near the Grand Place. Other textile production, including cotton, linen, wool, and synthetic fibers, is concentrated in Ghent, Kortrijk, Tournai, and Verviers, where carpets and blankets are manufactured.
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Other Resources (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
As mentioned above, Belgium has few natural resources, and its economy depends on importing raw materials, processing those materials, manufacturing, and exporting a finished product. However, in addition to sugar processing, there are a few agricultural resources grown and exported by Belgian farmers. These include fruits, vegetables, grains (wheat, oats, rye, barley, and flax), tobacco, beef, veal, pork, and milk.
Other industries in which Belgian workers are involved in processing imported goods that are then exported are motor vehicles and other metal products, scientific instruments, chemicals (fertilizers, dyes, plastics), glass, petroleum, textiles, electronics, and processed foods and beverages, such as the beer and chocolate described above.
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Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Binneweg, Herbert. Antwerp, the Diamond Capital of the World. Antwerp: Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses, 1993.
Blom, J. H. C., and Emiel Lamberts. History of the Low Countries. New York: Berghahn Books, 2006.
Hieronymus, Stan. Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them. Boulder, Colo.: Brewers, 2005.
Kockelbergh, Iris, Eddy Vleeschdrager, and Jan Walgrave. The Brilliant Story of Antwerp Diamonds. Antwerp: MIM, 1992.
Mommen, Andre. The Belgian Economy in the Twentieth Century. New York: Routledge, 1994.
Parker, Philip M. The 2007 Import and Export Market for Unagglomerated Bituminous Coal in Belgium. San Diego, Calif.: ICON Group International, 2006.
Sparrow, Jeff. Wild Brews: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition. Boulder, Colo.: Brewers, 2005.
Wingfield, George. Belgium. Edgemont, Pa.: Chelsea House, 2008.
Witte, Els, Jan Craeybeckx, and Alain Maynen. Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards. Brussels: Free University of Brussels Press, 2008.
Belgium: A Federal State. http://www.diplomatie.be/en/belgium
U.S. Department of State. Background Note: Belgium. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2874.htm
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Belgium (International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis)
There were signs of interest in Belgium for Freud and Breuer's research on hysteria as early as 1894. References can be found in Dallemagne's Dégénérés et déséquilibrés (Degeneracy and Mental Imbalance), but this appears to be an isolated case (Berdondini, N., 1987). During the twenties, a few attempts were made to introduce young psychiatrists to psychoanalytic concepts, but there was vehement opposition from the old guard. In literature a special issue of Disque vert appeared in 1924, entirely devoted to Freud. The Belgian authors included Georges Dwelshauwers, André Ombredane, and Henri Michaux. In his later writing, Franz Hellens, director of the publication, was also sympathetic to the work of Carl Gustav Jung. At the University of Louvain, following the initiative of the future cardinal Mercier, several professors took an interest in Freudian theory and established individual critical positions because of the emphasis placed on sexuality. The Jesuit J. Maréchal was also influential in promoting early acceptance of psychoanalysis.
In the midst of these still limited signs of interest, there emerged the figure of an educator from Gand, Julien Varendonck (1879-1924), who had the good fortune to meet Freud and become one of his students. He underwent a training analysis with Theodor Reik and spent 1923 in Vienna to continue his education. Upon his return to Gand, he opened his own office and was made a member of the Dutch Society of Psychoanalysis shortly before his premature death on June 11, 1924. In 1921 he published an important monograph entitled La psychologie des rêves éveillés (The Psychology of Daydreams), with a preface by Freud. Anna Freud translated the first part of the book. Unfortunately, because he was unable to find any students or an analysand with whom he could continue his research, his initiative remained stillborn.
The foundations of psychoanalytic practice were established by two Belgian pioneers, Maurice Dugautiez (1893-1960) and Fernand Lechat (1895-1959). The beginnings of psychoanalysis in Belgium reflect Freud's own solitary struggle during the first decade of the twentieth century. A closed and poorly informed medical establishmenthe organic approach dominated psychiatry at the timend a public opinion that remained hostile because of sectarian prejudices, explain why Freud's work had to wait for the arrival of two idealists who remained far outside the conventional sphere of training before psychoanalysis could take hold in the country. Both men were self-taught, curious and passionate individuals, who first met in 1933. Their encounter was the prelude to years of fruitful collaboration that enabled a psychoanalytic organization to gain a foothold in Belgium.
In spite of the dramatic context in which it occurred, another fortuitous event took place in 1933 or thereabouts. A Viennese Jew, Dr. Ernst Hoffman, a disciple of Freud and a brilliant student of Sándor Ferenczi, settled in Anvers to escape Nazi persecution. Dugautiez and Lechat, together with Mrs. Lechat, who was primarily interested in working with children, took advantage of Hoffman's providential appearance and began a training analysis with him. Unfortunately, Hoffman was arrested in 1942 and sent to a concentration camp. He never returned, and the nascent Belgian psychoanalytic movement suddenly lost its leader.
Beginning in 1936 Dugautiez and Lechat began undergoing supervised analyses under the supervision of Dr. Leuba and Marie Bonaparte. They were authorized to practice on their own in 1939; Mrs. Lechat began working with children at this time. After the war ended, both of them applied for membership in the Paris Psychoanalytic Society and were authorized, in 1946, to conduct training analyses and supervise their own students' first analyses.
On December 24, 1946, they founded the Association des Psychanalystes de Belgique (Association of Belgian Psychoanalysts) with Dr. Leuba as honorary president. They were sponsored by the Psychoanalytic Society of Paris. Doctor Ernest Jones, president of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), had encouraged this initiative. In 1947 the association, with the sponsorship of Marie Bonaparte, was accepted for membership in the IPA. The standing of the young organization was made more secure in 1948 with the organization, in Brussels, of the eleventh Conférence des Psychanalystes de Langue Française [(Conference of French-speaking Psychoanalysts). During the twelfth conference, in 1954, Fernand Lechat presented a report on "The Principle of Security." There were three further meetings in Brussels: in 1958, in 1972 (when a report was given by Danièle Flagey, entitled "Intellectual Inhibition"), and in Liege, in 1986, with a report by Andrée Bauduin, "On the Preconscious."
In 1953, Dr. Thérèse Jacobs Van Merlen, who had returned from her training in Paris with Sacha Nacht, Serge Lebovici, and René Diatkine, joined Dugautiez and Lechat. A stream of new members joined the association: Flagey, Bourdon, Vannypelseer, Drappier, Luminet, Pierloot, Labbé, Darmstaedter, Duyckaerts, and later, Watillon and Godfrind. The association has continued to grow since then. In 1960 the name was changed to the Société Belge de Psychanalyse (Belgian Psychoanalytic Society), also known as the Belgische Vereniging voor Psychoanalyse.
The society continued to grow, with the addition of a teaching committee, an enlarged administrative office, and an ethics committee. In addition to bimonthly meetings and working groups, the entire society met every two years for a colloquium. The Revue belge de psychanalyse, with Haber as its first director, was founded in 1982. The review made the society's ideas accessible to a much broader public. There was also a members' Bulletin, created in 1977.
Some twenty years after the creation of the current Belgian Psychoanalytic Society, various activities were established by psychoanalysts who had returned home from abroad and who were, for the most part, associated with the University of Louvain. These individuals either could not, or would not, become a part of the existing society. Most of them had met in Paris between 1955-1960, where they followed the activities of the French Psychoanalytic Society, which was then run by Daniel Lagache and Jacques Lacan, with the assistance of Juliette Boutonier, Françoise Dolto, and Georges Favez. Following a break in 1953 with the Paris Psychoanalytic Society, in 1964 the French Psychoanalytic Society experienced new upheavals with the departure of Lacan and the creation of theole Freudienne. Although some activities of the new Belgian group began in 1964, the official foundation of theole Belge de Psychanalyse (Belgische School voor Psychoanalyse) did not take place until 1969, under the impetus of Professors Jacques Schotte and Antoine Vergote.
Lacan's influence was decisive within the school, to the extent that its establishment can be considered an implicit extension of the situation in France. This allegiance to Lacanian positions, at least on the part of some, became problematic when the dissolution of the ole Freudienne by Lacan led to divisions that subsequently gave rise to numerous offshoots, including Questionnement Psychanalytique (Psychoanalytic Questioning) and the Association Freudienne de Belgique (The Freudian Association of Belgium). These various groups are the result of the differences encountered concerning the importance of Lacanian ideas, in terms of setting and training, and more generally in terms of the theoretical corpus. Unlike the Belgian Psychoanalytic Society, these associations were not part of the IPA, some even took pride in their separatist stance. In 1984 theole Belge de Psychanalyse began publishing a bilingual review, Psychoanalyse.
There were also Jungian psychoanalysts working in Belgium. The Société Belge de Psychologie Analytique (Belgian Society of Analytic Psychology), or SBPA, was founded in 1975. The majority of its members had been analyzed by Gilberte Aigrisse (1911-1995), who was trained in Geneva by Charles Baudouin. In 1994 some members of the SBPA left the organization to found a new group known as theole Belge de Psychanalyse Jungienne (Belgian School of Jungian Psychoanalysis), or EBPJ.
Bauduin, Andrée. (1987). Du préconscient. Revue française de psychanalyse, 51, 449-538.
Berdondini, Nadine. (1987). L'introduction de la psychanalyse en Belgique: 1900-1947. Louvain-la-Neuve, reprinted 1995.
Flagey, Danièle. (1973). L'inhibition intellectuelle. Revue française de psychanalyse, 36, 717-798.
Lechat, Fernand. (1955). Du principe de sécurité. (rapport). Revue française de psychanalyse, 19 (1-2), 11-101.