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Belgium in Brief: In(stagram) Bruges

It’s Friday, the big stories of the world are still there (and below) but BIB was meant to be a discussion on more than just the latest big bad – so today, that’s where we will focus.

A cultural quickfire round:

Bruges: The picturesque city of Bruges has joined the ranks of Paris and New York in this year’s edition of the 50 most Instagrammable places in the world, the only Belgian city to make the cut.

Coffee & ArtA group of artists in the Flemish city of Mechelen have banded together to create an urban art gallery across the city.

Tintin: A drawing of Belgium’s most famous detective Tintin (though you may know him by another name depending on your mother tongue) has made €3.175 million at auction.

Got some quickfire culture? Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

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1. Belgium’s compounding communications problems

In what was already a difficult week for Belgium regarding communication strategies, PM Alexander De Croo has come under fire for not being as direct as his critics would like.  Read More.

2. Belgium tightens rules for UK travellers arriving by bus or train

Belgium is tightening its rules for travellers arriving by bus or train from countries outside the European Union, including the United Kingdom, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden announced on Friday.

The stricter rules will apply to travellers from non-EU and non-Schengen countries, which includes the United Kingdom, aiming to prevent the further spread of the more infectious coronavirus variant on Belgian territory. Read More.

3. Bruges named one of the world’s most Instagrammable places

The picturesque city of Bruges has joined the ranks of Paris and New York in this year’s edition of the 50 most Instagrammable places in the world, the only Belgian city to make the cut.

“Often overlooked by its Brussels and Antwerp cousins,” Bruges comes in at number 42 on the 2021 list put together by global travel site Big 7 Travel, placing it between Nice, France (43) and Hoi An, Vietnam (41). Read More.

4. Belgian Tintin ‘Blue Lotus’ cover auctioned for €3.175 million

A cover for Tintin’s “The Blue Lotus” by Belgian comic artist Hergé was sold at auction in Paris for the record sum of €3.175 million including costs, on Thursday.

The drawing in gouache, India ink and watercolour from 1936 was ultimately not used for the comic book cover as the colour palette was too expensive to print. Read more.

5. What happens with already-booked trips if Belgium closes its borders?

Suggestions by experts that Belgium should close its borders have left travellers questioning what such a closure would mean for trips that were already booked.

Now that several cases of the UK variant and at least one case of the South African one have been detected in Belgium, a growing number of experts are speaking out in favour of a border closure or a ban on non-essential travel – especially in light of the upcoming spring break next month. Read more.

6. 82-year-old who died after vaccination: no cause for alarm say experts

The federal agency for medicines and health products (FAMHP) has started an enquiry into the case of an 82-year-old man who died five days after receiving the first dose of vaccination against Covid-19.

The man, a care home resident who was among the first wave of people to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires two doses administered 21 days apart to be fully effective. The man had pre-existing medical problems. Read More.

7. ‘It beats aimless walking’: Mechelen’s streets become covid art gallery

Belgium will start administering the Moderna vaccine on Monday, starting with four hospitals including one in Brussels, the office of Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told Belga News Agency on Wednesday. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times