Today, the people and government of Belgium commemorate the day in 1831 when Leopold I took his constitutional oath as the first King of Belgium. Belgium became an independent state on October 4, 1830, after gaining sovereignty from the Netherlands.
Located in Western Europe, Belgium shares land borders with Germany, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It boasts of historic medieval towns and Flemish Renaissance architecture. Belgium is also well-known for its chocolates and waffles, as well as for its wide variety of beers, pastries and other baked goods.
Its capital and largest city is Brussels, the center of Belgium’s international politics and the home of numerous politicians, diplomats, civil servants, and international organizations, including the international headquarters of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Belgian capital also has several well-known universities, including Université Libre de Bruxelles, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Royal Military Academy, and Koninklijk Conservatorium.
Antwerp, which is known as the “diamond capital of the world,” is another famous city in Belgium. It is an international port city on the country’s River Scheldt. Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1663, has gained global prominence as a European fashion academy, where the local designers – the Antwerp Six – transformed the city into a center for the 1980s avant-garde.
The Philippines and Belgium established formal diplomatic relations on July 4, 1946. In 1949, the Belgian government decided to open a legation in Manila. Years later, in 1964, the Philippines established the Philippine Embassy to Belgium and Luxembourg and the Mission to the European Communities in Brussels. In July 10, 2013, then Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario and Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Renders signed the Philippines-Belgium Joint Plan of Action (JPA). The JPA provides an opportunity and a platform for the two countries to work and cooperate closely in addressing practical challenges and various concerns and boost overall aspects of bilateral relations. In September 15-16, 2014, then President Benigno S. Aquino visited Belgium and met with King Philippe and the Belgian Federal Government officials. The two countries have close cooperation towards the common aspirations of peace, freedom, democracy, and the promotion of well-being and prosperity of the people of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Belgium.
We greet the People and Government of Belgium headed by His Majesty King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel on the occasion of its National Day.
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