Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands.
The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie
Seraing is a Walloon municipality of Belgium in Province of Liege. The municipality of Seraing includes the old communes of Boncelles, Jemeppe-sur-Meuse, with Liège, Saint-Nicolas, and Flémalle, it forms the greater Liège agglomeration. To the south of Seraing are the Condroz and the Ardennes regions, in addition to its steel factories, Seraing is home to the crystal manufacture Val Saint Lambert, which has been operating on the site of an old Cistercian abbey since 1826. The site of the Arcelor steel company, previously known as Cockerill-Sambre, is the summer residence of the prince-bishops of Liège. Several skeletons, potshards and jewels were discovered here, dating from the 5th and 6th century, attesting to Seraing being inhabited in Frankish times. The first mention of Saran dates from 956, when a Carolingian farming domain extending on both sides of the Meuse River and owned by someone named Saran was donated to the abbey of Sint-Truiden, the whole territory soon passed to the Bishopric of Liège.
In the 11th century, Prince-Bishop Henri I of Verdun used a house in Seranus to entertain guests. Throughout the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of Seraing owed allegiance to Liège, pledging to defend the approach to the city in case of invasion. The first wooden bridge across the river, which replaced the ferry, was built in 1381, the name of the town changed several times throughout its history, with the current spelling only being set in the 18th century. The first ironworks were founded there in 1809, John Cockerill revolutionized the steel industry by using blast furnaces and coke instead of traditional charcoal. These inventions would be the basis for his new company, John Cockerill & Cie established in Seraing in 1817, over the next decades, many more metallurgical plants and foundries were built in this area, which became an integral part of Wallonias industrial backbone, the sillon industriel. Glassworkers found the proximity of a source of coal attractive. The Val Saint Lambert started its operations in 1826, Seraing was the first location in Belgium where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built in Belgium.
Work began on the building in 1927 and completed before the end of 1930, in the 2012 Tour de France, Seraing acted as the finish of Stage 1. The Val Saint Lambert site includes the old Val-Saint-Lambert Abbey and the manufacture, where glass workers still blow, carve. The neighbouring castle houses a glass museum, besides the Cockerill castle, the historic centre of the city includes the city hall and the main church, which harbours 12th-century baptismal fonts. The forested region south of Seraing offers a multitude of strolls, according to an old local legend, witches abound in the Seraing area. The macrales have been resurrected in the year 2000 and are now a staple of the local folklore
He was considered one of the worlds best and most consistent goalkeepers during his career, he was the first winner of the Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper at the 1994 World Cup. On club level, Preudhomme played for Standard Liège, with Mechelen, he won the Belgian Cup in 1987, the Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup in 1988 and the Belgian league title in 1989. He won the Portuguese Cup with Benfica in 1996 and he retired as a player in 1999, aged 40. For Belgium, Preudhomme was capped 58 times, from 1979 to 1995, other than the 1994 World Cup, he played in the 1990 edition. Preudhomme is a product of Standard Lièges youth system which he joined 10 years old in 1969 and he was first called up to the first team in 1977. He made his debut on August 1977, after an early injury of the main goalkeeper Christian Piot. Preudhomme went to KV Mechelen in 1986, Preudhomme moved to Benfica in 1994, becoming the first foreign goalkeeper in Benfica history. He made his debut on 21 August, against Beira-Mar, on 18 May 1996, Michel won his first trophy in Portuguese football as Benfica defeated Lisbon rivals Sporting 3–1 in the Portuguese Cup final.
For his outstanding performances and almost impossible saves, he was nicknamed by Benfica fans Saint Michel, on 10 August 1999, Preudhomme played his last match, an off season friendly against Bayern Munchen. After his retirement, at the age of 40, Preudhomme became Benficas Director of International Relations, Preudhomme made his senior debut on 2 May 1979 in a 0–0 draw with Austria in a UEFA Euro 1980 qualifying match. Preudhomme served as third keeper behind Jean-Marie Pfaff and Theo Custers in the UEFA Euro 1980 as Belgium lost in the final against Germany and he made his final appearance for Belgium on 17 December 1994 in 1–4 loss against Spain, in a UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying match. After his professional career, Michel Preudhomme stayed at Benfica to become technical director. In September 2000, he suggested the club to attract José Mourinho to become the head coach, at that time, Mourinho was just an interpreter at F. C. Barcelona. Preudhomme met Mourinho when he once visited Barcelona, Preudhomme has been the head coach of Standard Liège twice, the first time from December 2000 to May 2002 and the second time from August 2006 to the end of the 2008 season.
After leaving his technical director duties at Benfica, PreudHomme replaced Tomislav Ivić on 20 December 2000, on May 2002, he left his coach position and became Standards sporting director. On 30 August 2006, after Dutchman Johan Boskamp was sacked due to results, Preudhomme left his sporting director duties. After Preudhommes return, Standard Liège won in 2008 its first Belgian Championship in 25 years, with Gent he finished second in the Jupiler Pro League, this was their highest place ever. He won the Belgian Cup, it was the time in the history of the club that they won that trophy