Culture Of Belgium
[coverattach=1] A discussion of Belgian culture requires discussing both those aspects of cultural life shared by 'all' or most of the Belgians, regardless of what language they speak, and also, the differences between the main cultural communities, the Flemish people from Flanders and Brussels and the French-speakers from Brussels and Wallonia.
Most Belgians tend to view their culture as an integral part of European culture or Western culture; nevertheless, both main communities tend to make their thousands of individual and collective cultural choices mainly from within their own community, and then, when going beyond, the Flemish draw intensively from both the English-speaking culture (which dominates sciences, professional life and most news media) and French and other Latin cultures, whereas French-speakers focus on cultural life in Paris and elsewhere in the French-speaking world (la Francophonie), and less outside. A truly scientific discussion would also include discussion of the different cultures of Belgian ethnic minorities such as the Jews who have formed a remarkable component of Flemish culture - in particular that of Antwerp for over five hundred years.
Some of the most impressive museums in Belgium are The Royal Museum for Fine Arts, in Antwerp, which has an admirable collection of works by Peter Paul Rubens, the Groeningemuseum in Bruges, with the Flemish Primitives, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, which has a cinema, a concert hall, and artworks of many periods, including a large René Magritte collection.
Furthermore, the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, a world heritage site, is the complete factory of the largest publishing house of the seventeenth century.[coverattach=2]
Belgian literature as such does not exist. Flemish share their authors with the Dutch (see Dutch literature, Flemish literature), and French-speakers with the French (see French literature), which tend to confuse people on Belgian authors', several great French authors went to Belgium for refuge (e.g. Apollinaire, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine) and conversely, top French-speaking writers often settle in Paris (e.g. Simenon, Amélie Nothomb). It is also sometimes difficult to cast Belgian authors into the French or Flemish category because many Flemish authors have written in French (e.g. Suzanne Lilar) and spent a large part of their lifes outside of Flanders or of Belgium (e.g. Emile Verhaeren or Maurice Maeterlinck). The confusion is also enhanced by the fact that many French-speaking individuals are coming from originally Dutch-speaking families (particularly in Brussels, e.g. Jacques Brel). There have also been writers in the Walloon language, such as Nicolas Defrecheux and Edouard Remouchamps.
Belgium has produced several well-known authors such as poets: Guido Gezelle (1830-1899), Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916), Max Elskamp (1862-1931), Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949), Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1926), Henri Michaux (French born and educated in Belgium, 1899-1984) and Jacques Brel (1929–1978 ) and writers: Hendrik Conscience (1812-1883), Charles de Coster (1827-1879), Willem Elsschot (1882-1960), Michel de Ghelderode (1898-1962), Georges Simenon 1903-1989, Louis Paul Boon (1912-1979), Hugo Claus (born in 1929), Pierre Mertens (born in 1939) Ernest Claes (1885 - 1968 ), and, Amélie Nothomb (born in 1967).
[coverattach=3] Belgium has numerous well-known cartoonists, such as Hergé (The Adventures of Tintin), Peyo (The Smurfs), Franquin (Spirou et Fantasio, Marsupilami, Gaston), Willy Vandersteen (Spike and Suzy), Morris (Lucky Luke), Edgar P. Jacobs (Blake and Mortimer), Jef Nys (Jommeke) and Marc Sleen (Nero).
More recently, Jean Van Hamme (XIII, Largo Winch, Thorgal, etc.), Raoul Cauvin (Les Tuniques Bleues, Agent 212), François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters (Les Cités Obscures) are among the most read cartoonists.
Belgium is home to some of the most important European comics magazines and publishers, with Dupuis (Spirou magazine), Le Lombard (Tintin magazine) and Casterman.