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stereotypes

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Stereotypical image

Some examples of stereotypes of Belgium are:

  • Belgian people are stupid
  • Belgium is a chips/French fries country
  • Belgian people drink a lot of beer
  • Belgium: chocolate, beer, French fries
  • Walloon people are lazy- Flemish people work hard
  • Belgians are born with a brick in their belly
  • Belgium is the land of child-kidnappers
    (cfr. Dutroux)
  • Belgians build garden sheds and decorate them with fake ornaments
  • Belgians have a distrust in authority
  • Belgians evade taxes and do all things in black
  • It always rains in Belgium
  • Brussels is the capital of Belgium

Some jokes about Belgium and Belgians are:

  • Just one day without rain even in
    July and August can make you happy
  • You consider politicians and the police worse than criminals, with the possible exception of pedophiles
  • If you have a car, you consider any other means of transportation highly suspicious



The image-problem

 

It seems like that Belgium does not have a clear image, on the one hand because it is a small country and also maybe because the country focusses in the media about what goes wrong in Belgium. If the country focusses itself more on the strong aspects, then the negative image would disappear. It can focus for example on the following aspects:

  • Belgium is a peaceful country with not much extreme violence
  • Belgians have a ‘love for the good life’ excellent food and drinking, comfortable housing (Belgians are born with ‘a brick in the belly’), reliable medical and social services, highly developed traffic and communications infrastructure,…
  • Belgium has one of the lowest percentages of poor people
  • Central position in Europe and therefore attractivefor international organizations and multinationals
  • Belgians are rather reserved or introverted in their first contacts with other people, but sincerely warm and friendly once you get to know them better
  • Belgians are open-minded opportunists (says R.Hill, famous philosopher)
  • Belgians have a clear aversion towards moralizing (telling other people how they should or should not behave)
  • They are happy when they can enjoy a safe and comfortable life, together with their family and friends
  • Many contacts with other cultures makes Belgian people tolerant and flexible

Solution

The Belgian federal government is doing much effort to promote Belgium. One of the goals to reach this aim is a promotional film that puts the spotlights on the main features of Belgium’s federal personality. The aims are to get across an atmospheric image of a country that has a lot to offer and to provide an image of a modern and dynamic country that is particularly attractive for new investors. The video can be watched on the following link: Promotional video

     

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