Belgium is a small country at the crossroads of northwestern Europe. The country borders three important trading nations-France, the Netherlands, and Germany. A narrow body of water called the English Channel separates Belgium from the United Kingdom. Belgium's central location in Europe has brought it prosperity through trade with its neighbors. Historically, the country's location has also made it a battleground for soldiers of other nations, particularly during World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945). During most of its history, Belgium was a collection of cities and regions. Ancient Rome, Spain, Austria, France, and the Netherlands ruled it at different times. In 1830, Belgium won its independence from the Netherlands and became united as a state.

Belgium has three regions, and it  has three separate language communities. The regions, which have a large degree of self-rule, are (1) Flanders, in the north, (2) Wallonia, in the south, and (3) the capital district of Brussels. The three language communities are (1) the Flemish community, which consists of people who speak Dutch; (2) the French-speaking community, and (3) the German-speaking community.

Belgium has an extremely varied terrain for a small country. Several rivers are large enough to serve as important transportation routes. These rivers include the Schelde, the Sambre, and the Meuse (or Maas).  The Coastal and Interior Lowlands extend across most of the northern Belgium. Wide, sandy beaches lie along the thirty-nine-mile (sixty-three-kilometer) North Sea coast. Natural dunes and a system of a sea walls and dikes protect the lowlands near the coast from flooding. These lowlands, called polders, form a humid treeless plain crisscrossed by drainage canals. Farther inland, the terrain becomes slightly rolling with elevations as high as three hundred feet (ninety meters). The Kempenland, also called the Campline, lies in northeastern Belgium. It was a thinly populated region of birch forests and marshland until coal was discovered in the early 1900's. Today, the Kempenland is an industrial center.  Many of the birch forests have been cleared and replanted with fast-growing evergreens for timber harvest. The Central Low Plateaus occupy central Belgium, and is also the site of many of the nation's largest cities, including Brussels and Liége. The fertile valleys of the Sambre and Meuse rivers form the southern boundary of the Central Low Plateaus.

The Belgian Constitution guarantees freedom of worship. It also allows the government to grant financial support to all religions. About 85% of the people belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Many Flemings send children to Catholic schools, and much Flemish political and social activity takes place in church-related organizations. About one percent of Belgians are Protestants, and more than 5% claim no religion. Belgium began printing stamps in July 1849. The first Stamps of Mary were printed in 1931.

* Taken from The World Book Encyclopedia. (Chicago: World Book, Inc.), pg 226-231.

 

Fountain of the Virgin

La fontaine de la Vierge

Date: 1931; Scott: E 5; Y&T: 3

 

 

Fountain of the Virgin

La fontaine de la Vierge
Date: 1932; Scott: E 6; Y&T: 6

 

 

Madonna and Arms

of Seven Abbeys

La Madone et les armoiries

de sept abbayes

Date: 10/15/1933; Scott: B 143; Y&T: 374

 

Descent  from the Cross

La descente de la Croix
Date: 07/01/1939;

Scott: B 248; Y&T: 511
Artist : Pieter Paul Rubens

(1577-1640)

 

Madonna Between Bishop Heylen of Namur (left) and Abbot General Smets of the Trappists (right)

La Madone entre l’évêque Heylen de

 Namur (gauche) et l’abbé général Smets

 des  Trappistes (droite)
Date: 07/20/1939; Scott: B 254; Y&T: 517

 

 

Monks Painters

Les moines peintres
Date: 1941; Scott: B 281; Y&T: 556

 

 

Monks  Sculptors

Les moines sculpteurs
Date: 1941; Scott: B 282; Y&T: 557

 

 

Monks  Sculptors

Les moines sculpteurs
Date: 1941; Scott: B 286; Y&T: 561

 

 

Monks Painters

Les moines peintres
Date: 1941; Scott: B 287; Y&T: 562

 

Monks  Sculptors

Les moines sculpteurs
Date: 1941; Scott: B 292; Y&T: 567

 

 

 

Two Monks Studying Plans of Orval Abbey

Deux moins étudiant les plans de l’abbaye d’Orval
Date: 1941; Scott: B 303; Y&T: 567 A

 

 

 

Two Monks Studying Plans of Orval Abbey

Deux moins étudiant les plans de l’abbaye d’Orval
Date: 1941; Scott: B 303; Y&T: HLB 11

 

 

 

 

Two Monks Studying Plans

 of Orval Abbey

Deux moins étudiant les plans

de l’abbaye d’Orval
Date: 1941; Scott: B 304; Y&T: HLB 12

 

Madonna and Child

La Madone et l’Enfant
Date: 04/16/1944; Scott: B 373; Y&T: 650
Artist: Van Dick

 

Madonna of Chevremont and Chapel

La Madone de Chèvremont

 et une chapelle
Date: 04/05/1948;

Scott: B 453; Y&T: 779

 

Madonna of Mount Carmel

La Madone du Mont Carmel
Date: 04/05/1948;

Scott: B 454; Y&T: 780

 

 

Virgin and Child

La Vierge et l’Enfant
Date: 04/01/1949; Scott: B 466 A c; Y&T: 795
Artist : R.Van Der Weyden (1400-1464)

 

Christ on the Cross

Le Christ en Croix
Date: 04/01/1949; Scott: B 466 A d; Y&T: 796
Artist : R.Van Der Weyden (1400-1464)

 

Virgin and Child, Christ on the Cross, Mary Magdalene

La Vierge et l’enfant, le Christ sur la Croix, Marie Madeleine
Date: 04/01/1949; Scott: B 466 A ; Y&T: 796
Artist : R.Van Der Weyden (1400-1464)

 

 

Our Lady of the Vine

Notre-Dame du vin
Date : 05/15/1954; Scott: B 566 ; Y&T: 951

 

Statue of the Virgin Above

 the Door

Statue de la Vierge au-dessus de la porte
Date : 05/15/1954; Scott: B 565 ; Y&T: 950

 

Our Lady with the Ink Fountain, Patroness of the Writers and the Poets

Notre-Dame à l’encrier, patronne des écrivains et des poètes
Date : 12/14/1957; Scott: B 617 ; Y&T: 1044

 

 

 

Living Creche and

Pax – twelfth-century

Chrèche vivante du 12e  siècle

 et le mot Paix
Date : 12/06/1958;

 Scott: B 635 ; Y&T: 1086

 

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