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    Belgium in Brief: Everybody Makes Mistakes

    Credit: Belga/The Brussels Times

    It’s a new month – just in case some of you have lost track of time, and lots has changed.

    Outside of your house, the world is starting to return to normal, and what’s more normal than spelling mistakes? We all make them, they’re only human, but some are more noticeable than others.

    Point in case, the new plaque commemorating the 60th anniversary of Congolese independence from Belgium will have to be replaced days after it was unveiled in Brussels because of spelling mistakes in Dutch.

    The plaque has several mistakes, one is a missing “e” in the Dutch word for “mayor” (burgmeester instead of burgemeester). The most noticeable one, however, is a classic mistake, often made by people whose mother tongue isn’t Dutch. The language has two versions of the word “the” (de and het) and here, the wrong one was used.

    Ouch.

    So, what else is new? We recap what changes today, look at Belgium’s ruthless colonial general, and explain just what you should take from the latest figures.

    With so much information, and so little time to catch up before it potentially changes again, here are some of the top stories from around the country to get you up to speed.

    Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:



    1. What changed on 1 July?

    As of 1 July, Belgium will be undergoing substantial changes, not just as the result of a new month, but also new coronavirus measures implemented country – and Europe – wide.

    So, what changed? 

    2. Mayor Culpa: Dutch-language mistakes found on newly unveiled plaque for Congolese independence

    A plaque commemorating the 60th anniversary of Congolese independence from Belgium will be replaced days after it was unveiled in Brussels because of spelling mistakes in Dutch.

    Placed in Ixelles’ town hall on Tuesday, the plaque is written in French and Dutch and has excerpts of a Congolese independence song written in the Bantu language Lingala.

    In the Dutch version, the word for ‘mayor’ is misspelt and there are several grammatical errors, including in the phrases ‘the 60th anniversary’ and ‘of independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo.’ Read more.

    3. Average of 84 new infections per day in Belgium

    An average of 84 people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, according to figures by the Federal Public Health Service on Wednesday.

    The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 61,509. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

    An average number of 83.7 (rounded up to 84) people per day tested positive for the virus over the 7-day period from 21 to 27 June. The trend decreased by 11% compared to the daily average of 94.3 new infections the week before. Read More.

    4. Ixelles will remove bust of Leopold II’s ‘ruthless’ colonial general

    A bust honouring a colonial-era general who decapitated Congolese leaders and brought their skulls to Belgium as trophies will be removed from a public square in Brussels.

    As the debate surrounding the presence of statues of Belgium’s colonial king, Leopold II, rages on, one of the capital city’s municipalities discreetly announced last month that it would take down a large bust honouring one of Leopold’s most notorious colonial envoys: General Émile Storms. Read More.

    5. Belgium still investigating murder of first Congolese Prime Minister

    An investigation in Belgium to bring to justice those suspected of being involved in the murder of Patrice Lumumba in 1961 is still ongoing, Federal prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw said on Wednesday.

    Lumumba was a Congolese politician who served as the first Prime Minister of what was then known as the Republic of the Congo and was murdered in January 1961. Read more.

    6. Flemish city cannot impose use of face masks in supermarkets

    A Flemish mayor’s decision to impose the use of face masks in supermarkets has been overturned just as the measure was set to come into force on Wednesday.

    Mayor Jan Vermeulen of Deinze, a city in the province of East Flanders, said the measure will be revoked after Federal Interior Minister Pieter De Crem said the mayor did not have authority on regulations on the use of face masks in public.

    Vermeulen on Tuesday had published a decree ordering the use of face masks in Deinze’s 17 grocery stores from 1 July, in an effort to curb a spike in new coronavirus infections. Read more.

    7. End of passenger limits on Walloon public transport

    There will no longer be a limit on the number of passengers aboard TEC vehicles as of Wednesday, the public transport company announced Tuesday.

    All seats and standing places will, therefore, be able to be occupied. Read More.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times