Book launch: “175 years of Belgian – Romanian relations”

The Belgian Ambassador to Bucharest, Phillippe Beke, launched on Tuesday the first volume of the tree-part book ‘175 years of Belgian – Romanian relations’, covering the political and diplomatic ties and the economic and cultural exchanges, from 1838 until 1916. The book is a compendium covering interesting and less known historical facts from the early presence of the Flemish in the Danube region and Transylvania until the entry of Romania in the World War I. The book, written by a group of researchers, with an introductory note by the Belgian Ambassador, who also wrote the chapter on trade exchanges and Belgian investments, reveals less known episodes of the interaction between Romanians and Belgians. Some worth reading chapter refer to the settlements of the Flemish and Germans in Transylvania after the end of the crusades era, the links between the Belgian Royal family and the Romanian Royal house, the Brukenthal period, the setting up of the National Bank following the Belgian model, or the origin of the national currency, the Thaler-Lion, or the participation of Romanian scientist Emil Racovita in the Belgica expedition in Antarctica. As regards the literature, the Ambassador noted the contribution of Belgian poet Marie Nizet, who wrote two poems dedicated to Bucharest and Moscow but also a book on vampires that, according to Mr. Beke, was the main source of inspiration for Bram Stocker’s Dracula. The second and third volume will cover the inter war period and the Communist era.

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