BELGIUM TODAY           MARCH 2011  
March 3 - May 28
Virginia Beach, VA
An exhibition of twenty-five new oil paintings by Mimi Verhulst Lanese is presented at Towne Pavilion II.  Artist's Website
March 16
Washington, DC
Hans Op de Beeck discusses his recent work, including his video Staging Silence (2009), which is on view through March 27 at the Hirshhorn Museum's Black Box.  Website
March 18
Washington, DC
At the Grande Fête de la Francophonie, more than 35 embassies and associations present culinary specialties of the Francophone world, at the Maison Française, Embassy of France. Tickets: $30  Website  
Through March 16
New York, NY
A video by Francis Alys is included in the group show Project Europa: Imagining the (Im)Possible, at the Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University.
Through June 5
San Francisco, CA
The exhibition Pulp Fashion:  The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave presents exquisite historical costumes made by the artist from rag paper, at the Legion of Honor Museum.  Website
Through June 19
Salem, MA 
Golden: Dutch & Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk Van Otterloo Collection includes nearly seventy paintings  from the 1600's along with 20 examples of furniture and decorative arts from the 17th century,at the Peabody Essex Museum. Website
At the March 3 reception he hosted to kick off this year's Francophonie Cultural Festival in Washington, DC, Ambassador Jan Matthysen awarded the "Grand Prix de la Francophonie" to Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. For the third year in a row, the Ambassadors of  francophone countries have singled out an American who has promoted both the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity. Former recipients of the prize were Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana (2009) and General Jim Jones,  then U.S. National Security Advisor (2010).  
In his remarks, delivered mostly in French, Dr. Billington spoke of his long-time personal and professional links to the French-speaking world that have facilitated his research.  He also mentioned  Library of Congress events and programs "that are periodic reminders of what France has given us."
In cooperation with the offices of Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanackere and Prime Minister Leterme, FPS Foreign Affairs has put together a brochure that highlights the country’s assets, to present Belgium as an attractive country for foreign investors. The brochure, entitled “Belgium: brilliant investment, sweet return” is available in English, and begins with an introductory overview of Belgium’s strengths. Readers are invited to find out what Belgium has to offer through a series of short articles from independent and objective sources. There is also a sheet put together by FPS Finance, offering an overview of the most significant taxation aspects that may be of interest to potential investors. This sheet is entitled “Smart taxation in Belgium.”
At an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington DC, on February 23, Ambassador Jan Matthysen elaborated on the advantages of further integration among European militaries, in order to build more effective military capabilities in Europe.
The CSIS event focused on how Euro-Atlantic security can be enhanced in today’s uncertain times. Ambassador Matthysen underscored the need for “pooling and sharing” and he pointed to the possibilities of the new Lisbon Treaty to make this happen within the European Union. Several pooling and sharing initiatives are already underway, often on a bilateral basis between two European countries. Read more
On February 14 Kim Clijsters was ranked No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association, repeating a feat she  achieved in 2003 and again in 2006.  The tennis ace quit the game in 2007 to have a baby, returning two years later to win the U.S. Open in both 2009 and 2010.  In January of this year she won the Australian Open, making the twenty-seven-year-old a four-time Grand Slam winner. Clijsters' recent reign at the WTA summit was, however, very brief: on February 21 Danish player Caroline Wozniacki reclaimed the  top spot.
Belgian runner Stefaan Engels' goal was to promote physical fitness by running 365 marathons in 365 days and, on February 5, he did it -- setting a Guinness World Record.  The forty-nine-year-old Engels, a former asthmatic, ran a total of 9,569 miles  in seven countries: Belgium, Canada, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, the U.K and the U.S.  
Embassy of Belgium, 3330 Garfield Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20008 or 202 333-6900 with questions or comments.