The village dates back to the 13th century and gradually grew until the population peaked at 2,500 in 1876. Since then, it has steadily declined until in 2007 there were only some 360 residents left. Landmarks include the 17th-century stone windmill, one of the oldest in the country, and the cooling tower of the nuclear power station built there between 1969 and 1985.
Belgium's federal government is in hot water with the European Commission over its failure to bring urban waste water treatment facilities across the country, including at several spots in Flanders, up to EU standards and faces stiff penalties if the country does not clean up its act.
There are a number of rules: students are only allowed to take a lift in a Belgian car during the first stage – Ghent to Paris– to avoid them simply calling up Daddy for a ride all the way to Barcelona. They can only take one ride per car, and all lifts have to be logged on the lift card. In return, the organisers have organised a place to spend the night at each of the stops along the way. There are also barbecues and DJs who accompany the convoy.
A man accused of trying to lure two children into an apartment in Blankenberge last week has been arrested following a flood of tips to the police. The man tried to get the two girls, both aged eight, to follow him into the building to see a kitten. One of the girls raised the alarm, and the man fled. Following the release of an artist's sketch and a description of the man, he was spotted on a train travelling from Antwerp to Ostend and arrested when the train stopped in Bruges.
The exact contents of De Wever’s report are not revealed, but he made it clear he had found “a degree of convergence” among the main parties on the major questions of state reform and reform – or the lack of it – of the social security system. There are those who want both, and there are those who want neither. The camps are split along language as well as political lines. In between, there are those who want one without giving away too much ground on the other.
The match, tied in with Belgium’s presidency of the European Union, surpassed the previous record for a crowd at a tennis match – 30,472, set in 1973 in Houston for the 'Battle of the Sexes' between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Clijsters was initially due to play Justine Henin, but when Henin injured her elbow, Williams stepped in. Buoyed by her home crowd, Clijsters won the exhibition match – umpired by Martina Navratilova – 6-3 6-2.
“We want to put pressure on the city council to consult the sector the next time the question of higher taxes comes up,” said Patrick De Bouw, local representative of Ho.Re.Ca Vlaanderen, the industry organisation. “Normally we have good relations with the city, but our members were massively against this decision in a time of general difficulties. A spokesman for the city said the last tax increase dates back to 2003, and called the latest measure “very reasonable”.
When absenteeism does occur, 22% take on temporary staff, and only 7% recruit new staff. By far the majority, 72.8%, ensure the work of the missing employee is shared out among colleagues. In about half of all cases, the employer himself takes up the slack. Only 31% of employers make use of the government’s medical check-up service which determines if an employee really is sick. Most cited the cost – €60 for a single consultation – as the main disincentive.
The main subjects of conversation are:
One in four said the subject depends on who is in the vicinity. Eight out of ten said they would never chat about non work-related matters if the boss were around.
The find was made during the Plugstreet Project, a research project in the battlefields of the First World War. Plugstreet was the soldiers’ pronunciation of the name of the village Ploegsteert. It was clear from the uniform that the man was an Australian, but there was no trace of identification. DNA tracing of the descendants of the 34 men reported missing in action from the unit was considered too expensive.