At a Christmas market

Last year while on business in Brussels sometime in mid December, we went to a Christmas market just to enjoy the evening and drink the obligatory hot wine mulled with spices (Gluehwein). The Brussels Christmas market is rather a small one, where you can simply enjoy the evening. It fits well into the Northern European tradition that originates in Middle Ages. But of course it cannot compare to biggest Christmas markets organised traditionally in Germany.

The biggest Christmas market I ever visited it was that of Nuremberg in Germany (indeed one of the biggest in Europe). For my German colleagues it was not only a place to spend the evening but above all a place to acquire regional specialties from all over Germany available there in multiple varieties. Often it was produce you cannot simply buy round the corner.

In Germany, Austria, Switzerland and and Northern France the tradition of Christmas markets dates back to XIV-XV century. They are organised in the Advent time, which is four weeks time before Christmas. The biggest German markets attract yearly 2-4 million people each being the major tourist attraction in Christmas season.


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Between dreams and reality

Between dreams and reality

Brussels is a meeting place for people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. On trips when it is not just fly-in fly-out the same day it is worth to ask around what to do in free time. A couple of months ago while in Brussels, a colleague of mine proposed to go to an art museum devoted to the Belgian surrealist René Magritte.

As surrealism is balancing between the unconscious and real, I cannot say I understood that what I so. But this winter I had an opportunity to listen to a series of lectures in psychology, and went through some obligatory stuff including texts by Sigmund Freud. A vital part of his work was devoted to understanding of that what is behind of our night dreams. And why we associate with each other pictures that in real terms have nothing in common. With some exercise in games of that what is between dreams and reality, things got somehow more clear.

Below, photos I made that afternoon walking around the exhibition floors.

 

(Brussels, November 2016)


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Patria, in commemoration of 1830

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The statue of Patria on a monument at the Martyr’s square in Brussels.

The square and the monument are the burial site of over 467 people, who died in the fights for Belgian independence in a short gun revolution that started after an opera performance (held in Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, located five minutes of walk from the Martyr’s square, on August 1830, 25th) and lasted around one month. The most of those people were killed during street fights that took place on 23-26th September. However under a ceasefire, a new Belgian government was established on the 26th of September, and independence was proclaimed on the 5th of October.

The independence was regained from the Kingdom of the Netherlands (unofficially  United Kingdom of the Netherlands) under the rule of Orange-Nassau House that was given the present Belgian territories after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Prior to the Dutch rule, Belgians were under Spanish and the Austrian rule (XVII-XVIII centuries), and later after the French revolution and during the Napoleonic wars, they were included into the French Republic. Congress of Vienna was held after the Napoleonic wars and was the first pan-European peace agreement that divided Europe among its biggest powers (>>>). That time the Belgian interests were not taken into account. But still the independence came 15 years later.

The statue at the top of the Patria monument is symbolising the motherland (otherwise from Latin – Patria) stepping on the chains of oppression.

 

The monument and reliefs at its base.


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