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Belgian Culture Showcased at Presidential Palace

Belgium was this year's guest country at the Bellevue Citizens Party

September 23rd, 2016
Daniel Erhardt, News from Berlin

This year’s Presidential Palace Citizen Party in Berlin had Belgium invited as guest country. Together with important political and diplomatic representatives, Belgian culture was represented by artists and the showcase of local gastronomic products and companies. A special mention was made to the Belgian German-speaking community.

Last Friday the 9th and Saturday 10th of September, the annual Federal President’s Citizens Party took place at Berlin’s Bellevue Presidential Palace, featuring the matching colours of both the German and Belgian flags as Belgium acted as partner and guest country. Political and diplomatic figures from the Kingdom of Belgium were present, with German Federal President Joachim Gauck acting as host of the event.

Belgium's three linguistic communities were represented by the attendance of Francophone Prime Minister Charles Michel, Flemish Member of Parliament Kris van Dijck and German-speaking Minister President Oliver Paasch. Belgium’s German-speaking community, which is mostly located in the country’s eastern region, was also represented by its socially engaged stage artists.

The clown group ‘Cliniclowns’, who normally perform for children in hospital, provoked laughs among the guests, alongside the Walhorner Tanz und Bewegung Centre, which presented a dance performance. Swing, jazz and chanson performances in both French and Flemish by the Flemish Katelijne Philips-Leben Trio also added a musical note to the party.

The childrens musical ‘Es Fällt Herab Ein Träumelein’ was also performed, which deals with the social issue of bullying in schools. It was performed by students from a school in Berlin’s Wedding district, and was one of the highlights of the cultural program.

The entertainment segment of the two-day celebration was concluded with the eclectic, lively and humour-filled Klezmer, Balkan, rock and heavy metal performances by Wallonian band ‘KermesZ à l’Est’, a performance by the traditional circus group ‘Koninklijke Steltenlopers’ from the Flemish town of Merchtem, and the reading of children’s book ‘Rosie and Moussa’ by Flemish author Michael de Cock. All the acts were linked by the common theme of diversity, integration and inclusion within a united society, of which Belgium is an example.

Institutional representation at the event included the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium to Germany, the Belgian German-Speaking Society, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders, Brussels Invest and Export and the Belgium Wallonia-Brussels Tourism Office.

Other companies assured that Belgian gastronomy was well represented. Guests were invited to sample Belgian trademark beer, provided on behalf of the Duvel Moortgat brewery through Berliner ‘Herman’ Belgian bar, as well as chocolate specialties provided by Neuhaus Créateur Chocolatier.

The two-day party, which was a showcase some of the best Belgian cultural and social initiatives, was an example to other EU countries of how such a cultural exchange can increase intercultural understanding and encourage jointly facing social challenges, especially in times of difficulty and lack of agreement.


News from Berlin