Creative Industries Belgium
Population: 10,449,361 (July 2014 est.)
Internet country code: .be
three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France; the colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field)
Kingdom of Belgium / Koninkrijk België (Dutch) / Royaume de Belgique (French) / Königreich Belgien (German)
Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Political divisions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. Its capital, Brussels, is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.
Belgium’s modern, open, and private-enterprise-based economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the more heavily-populated region of Flanders in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium imports substantial quantities of raw materials and exports a large volume of manufactures, making its economy vulnerable to volatility in world markets. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium’s trade is with other EU countries, and Belgium has benefited most from its proximity to Germany. In 2013 Belgian GDP grew by 0.1%, the unemployment rate increased to 8.8% from 7.6% the previous year, and the government reduced the budget deficit from a peak of 6% of GDP in 2009 to 3.2%. Despite the relative improvement in Belgium’s budget deficit, public debt hovers around 100% of GDP, a factor that has contributed to investor perceptions that the country is increasingly vulnerable to spillover from the euro-zone crisis. Belgian banks were severely affected by the international financial crisis in 2008 with three major banks receiving capital injections from the government, and the nationalization of the Belgian retail arm of a Franco-Belgian bank.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$421.7 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
$421.3 billion (2012 est.)
$422.5 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
St’art investment fund is an unique financial instrument in Brussels and Wallonia and is the product of the joint efforts of the Wallonia Region and Wallonia-Brussels Federation to support the development of the creative economy. St’art is aimed at small and medium companies, including non-for-profit organisations. The fund contributes to the creation of companies and the development of existing structures in order to undertake new projects, create new products and win new markets. The objective is also to influence banks and private investors. Human capital, talent and the ability to innovate are key factors in the economic life of the regions.
Creative Wallonia is a framework program that places creativity and innovation in the center of the Walloon project. With the Contracts of the Future and the Marshall plans, Wallonia has mainly favored networking in order to consolidate the most promising sectors. This approach appears to be obtaining results: various studies or independent indicators testify to the excellent results registered by Wallonia, specifically in the foreign investment and the export domains.
Flanders DC is the Flemish organisation for entrepreneurial creativity. Its aim is to make entrepreneurial Flanders more creative and Creative Flanders more entrepreneurial. Research on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and creative industries are made and events are set up in order to develop tools and bring people together.
The numediart Institute for Creative Technologies was founded in 2007 by the University of Mons. Building upon MONS 2015 (Mons will be the EU Capital of Culture in 2015), the Institute organizes internationally-renowned scientific training and research activities in the area of cultural and creative industries. The topics covered by the Institute are : audio, image, video, gesture, and bio-signal processing, for applications in which man-machine interaction aims at creating emotions. These activities are performed in the framework of the numediart Program coordinated by the numediart Consortium.
Mons 2015 European Capital of Culture
With 300 major events and thousands of cultural and artistic activities, Mons 2015 is getting ready to span 17 partner cities from Lille to Ghent. But the European Capital of Culture has a more ambitious strategy of development and regeneration not only for Mons but the entire region. Becoming a ‘Creative Valley’ in a world turned upside down by new technology is all about moving with the times and acquiring an impetus that will carry thousands of visitors along.