xxyi Characteristics. BELGIUM.
of 42,800 men. It is composed of 419 regiments of Infantry (Line, Rifles,
Carabineers, Grenadiers), 8 regiments of Cavalry (Guides, Chasseurs-a-
Cheval, Lancers), 4 regiments of Field Artillery, 15 battalions of Fortress
Artillery, Engineers, Military Train, etc. The Grenadiers and Guides form
the royal guard. — The Garde Civique, or militia, consists of 40,400 men.
The national colours are red, yellow, and black, placed in three per-
pendicular stripes, which were the colours of the ancient Duchy of Brabant.
The armorial bearings of Belgium consist of the Lion of Brabant, with
the motto ‘L’union fait la force’ (‘Eendracht maakt macht’). The flag of the
Congo State is blue, with a five-pointed gold star.
CHARACTERISTICS. Those indicated by the following monkish
lines are said to exist to some extent even at the present day: —
‘Nobilibus Bruwxella viris, Antwerpia nummis,
Gandavum laqueis, formosis Bruga puellis,
Lovanium doctis, gaudet Mechlinia stultis’.
(Brussels rejoices in noble men, Antwerp in money, Ghent in
halters, Bruges in pretty girls, Louvain in learned men, and
Malines in fools.) Halters are mentioned in connection with Ghent
in allusion to the frequent humiliations to which its turbulent
citizens were subjected by their sovereigns. The reputation of the
citizens of Malines originated in the story that they once mistook
the moon shining through their cathedral-tower for a conflagration,
and endeavoured to extinguish it by means of the fire-engines.
The Belfries (Flem. Belfort, Fr. Beffroi), originally detached
bell-towers, though at a later period usually attached to the hétel
de ville or to the cloth-hall, were regarded in the middle ages as a
kind of symbol of municipal freedom. Etymologists differ as to the
origin of the word belfry, but it seems to be connected with the
German Berefrit or Berg/ried (watch-tower; low Lat. berfredus), s
that the resemblance between the first syllable and the English word
‘bell’ is purely fortuitous.
The Kermesses (Flem. Kermissen), or village-fairs, which usually
take place in July or August, afford admirable opportunities of
studying the national Flemish characteristics. A prominent part
on these occasions is played by the Archery Clubs, which are very
numerous in Belgium and display astonishing skill.
Béguinages, see p. 77; Wind Mills, Dykes, Canals, and Polders,
See pp. XXXVli, xxxviii.
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K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
Baedeker, Karl, Belgium and Holland, including the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg: handbook for travellers, K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience