Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. 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. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. 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; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. 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 comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Sister cities or twin towns are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, counties, prefectures, regions and countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after the Second World War in 1947, was intended to foster friendship and understanding among different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation, to encourage trade and tourism. By the 2000s, town twinning became used to form strategic international business links among member cities. In the United Kingdom, the term "twin towns" is most used. In mainland Europe, the most used terms are "twin towns", "partnership towns", "partner towns", "friendship towns"; the European Commission uses the term "twinned towns" and refers to the process as "town twinning". Spain uses the term "ciudades hermanadas", which means "sister cities". Germany and the Czech Republic use Partnerstadt / miasto partnerskie / partnerské město, which translate as "partner town or city".
France uses ville jumelée, Italy has gemellaggio and comune gemellato. In the Netherlands, the term is stedenband. In Greece, the word αδελφοποίηση has been adopted. In Iceland, the terms vinabæir and vinaborgir are used. In the former Soviet Bloc, "twin towns" and "twin cities" are used, along with города-побратимы; the Americas, South Asia, Australasia use the term "sister cities" or "twin cities". In China, the term is 友好城市. Sometimes, other government bodies enter into a twinning relationship, such as the agreement between the provinces of Hainan in China and Jeju-do in South Korea; the douzelage is a town twinning association with one town from each of the member states of the European Union. Despite the term being used interchangeably, with the term "friendship city", this may mean a relationship with a more limited scope in comparison to a sister city relationship, friendship city relationships are mayor-to-mayor agreements. In recent years, the term "city diplomacy" has gained increased usage and acceptance as a strand of paradiplomacy and public diplomacy.
It is formally used in the workings of the United Cities and Local Governments and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and recognised by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. A March 2014 debate in the British House of Lords acknowledged the evolution of town twinning into city diplomacy around trade and tourism, but in culture and post-conflict reconciliation; the importance of cities developing "their own foreign economic policies on trade, foreign investment and attracting foreign talent" has been highlighted by the World Economic Forum. The earliest known town twinning in Europe was between Paderborn, Le Mans, France, in 836. Starting in 1905, Keighley in West Yorkshire, had a twinning arrangement with French communities Suresnes and Puteaux; the first recorded modern twinning agreement was between Keighley and Poix-du-Nord in Nord, France, in 1920 following the end of the First World War. This was referred to as an adoption of the French town; the practice was continued after the Second World War as a way to promote mutual understanding and cross-border projects of mutual benefit.
For example, Coventry twinned with Stalingrad and with Dresden as an act of peace and reconciliation, all three cities having been bombed during the war. The City of Bath formed an "Alkmaar Adoption committee" in March 1945, when the Dutch city was still occupied by the German Army in the final months of the war, children from each city took part in exchanges in 1945 and 1946. In 1947, Bristol Corporation sent five'leading citizens' on a goodwill mission to Hanover. Reading in 1947 was the first British town to form links with a former "enemy" city – Düsseldorf; the link still exists. Since 9 April 1956 Rome and Paris have been and reciprocally twinned with each other, following the motto: "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; the support scheme was established in 1989. In 2003 an annual budget of about €12 million was allocated to about 1,300 projects; the Council of European Municipalities and Regions works with the Commission to promote modern, high quality twinning initiatives and exchanges that involve all sections of the community.
It has launched a website dedicated to town twinning. As of 1995, the European Union had more than 7,000 bilateral relationships involving 10,000 European municipalities French and German. Public art has been used to celebrate twin town links, for instance in the form of seven mural paintings in the centre of the town of Sutton, Greater London; the five main paintings show a number of the main features of the London Borough of Sutton and its four twin towns, along with the heraldic shield of each above the other images. Each painting features a plant as a visual representation of its town's environmental awareness. In the case of Sutton this is in a separate smaller painting showing a beech tree, intended as a symbol of prosperity and from whi
Ruwen Faller is a German sprinter who specializes in the 400 metres. His personal best time is 45.74 seconds, achieved in July 1999 in Erfurt. Ruwen Faller at IAAF
Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
Fécamp is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France. Fécamp is situated in the valley of the Valmont river, at the heart of the Pays de Caux, on the Albaster Coast, it is around 35 km northeast of Le Havre, around 60 km northwest of Rouen. According to its late medieval founding legend, the trunk of a fig tree carrying the Precious Blood of Christ collected by Joseph of Arimathea was washed ashore on the riverbank at Fécamp in the 1st century. A fountain of holy blood gushed from the site; the monks' legend justified the artificial etymology of the name to Fici-campus, the camp of the fig tree. Fécamp, however, is mentioned in 875 as Fiscannum and in 990 as Fiscannus and as late as 1496 which stem from the Germanic root fisc with an unknown suffix, it used to be the name of the Valmont River. The prehistoric site, on the high ground inland from the port of Fécamp, reveals human occupation dating back to Neolithic times. Spreading over 21 hectares, surrounded by walls and ditches for a length of nearly 2000 meters, including a praetorian door.
Objects recovered range in date from the Neolithic until Roman times. Many items of the Gallo-Roman period have been found locally coins. A bronze axe, of Celtic design, was unearthed in 1859. Fécamp was on the ancient road linking Lillebonne with the north of Gaul; the archaeological diggings around the Ducal palace in 1973-1984 revealed some evidence of the La Tène Celtic culture and Gallo-Roman works. Two Gallo-Roman cemeteries have been discovered. During Roman times, a road linked Fécamp to Étretat, passing through the present-day village of Fond-Pitron; the current D940 follows the original Roman road. In the 6th century, Saint Leger was exiled to Fécamp. In 932, William I of Normandy founded the castle, to be the residence of the Dukes of Normandy up until 1204, after which, the Norman Duchy was integrated within the French royal domain; the castle was the birthplace of many Norman dukes, including Richard I of Normandy and Richard II of Normandy. In 1202, King John of England granted a community system to Fécamp.
In 1410 the English razed the town. In 1449, Fécamp was freed from English occupation. For Fécamp, the Wars of religion finished in July 1593, when Captain de Bois-Rosé rallied the city to Henry IV of France after his conversion to Catholicism, it was at Fécamp that Charles II of England landed, on 16 October 1651, soon after the Battle of Worcester, where he had been defeated by Cromwell. The history of Fécamp has always revolved around its harbour; the reputation of the salt-herrings of Fécamp was established as early as the 10th century, that of smoked herrings from the 13th century. An association of whale fishermen was created in the 11th century. Fishing for cod started commercially in the 16th century, under the impetus of Nicolas Selles, an early shipping magnate. Throughout the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, Fécamp had an important role as the chief fishing port in France for cod and cod-related fish; this was the case up until the 1970s. First practiced by three-masted sailing ships, Atlantic fishing trips could last more than six months, the time taken to fill the hold with cod, which were salted to preserve them.
The fishing was carried out in small boats, carrying only two or three fishermen. Many of these small boats would be never returned to the ship; as technology evolved, the three-mast boats disappeared, giving way to steamers to diesel-engined vessels. These days, only a small fishing fleet restricted to fishing around coastal waters. In the harbour, pleasure-boats have taken the place of all but a few fishing-boats. In the 19th century, the recipe for Benedictine liqueur was “rediscovered” by Alexandre Legrand; the Palais Benedictine now houses a visitors' centre. Fécamp has four high schools: Anita Conti high school Providence high school, a private high school situated in the city centre. Descartes professional high school, situated in the school complex at St. Jacques Guy de Maupassant high school at St. Jacques 12th – 14th century ruins of the ducal former palace enclosed in the abbey grounds – two towers and a wall section Remains of the fort of Bourg-Baudouin, on the approach to Notre-Dame-du-Salut Benedictine Palace, ruined buildings of the Benedictine abbey.
Former mill of the 18th century. The Town hall, a Louis XVI style building Former hostelry of the du Grand Cerf, 16th century Courtyard de la Maîtrise with 11th-12th century tower. Old houses in the neighbourhood of the Hallettes, of which two houses are 16th century: Numbers 21 and 73 Rue Arquaise and 6, Rue de la Voûte Water Tower 13th century Épinay farm, 16th century, former country retreat of a religious order Church of the Trinity: Primitive Norman Gothic style, constructed from 1175 to 1220 with some Roman traces. Lantern tower from the 12th century. Abbey of the Trinity: Traces of former buildings: cloisters, a former mill, tower de la Maîtrise St. Etienne’s churc
Jochen Böhler listen is a German historian, specializing in the military history of World War II, the Third Reich, the German occupation of Poland 1939–45, the research on the perpetrators of the Holocaust. He is the recipient of several international awards. Böhler obtained a Magister's degree at University of Cologne in 1999, where he specialized in modern and medieval history, as well as ethnology and political economy, his Magisterial thesis, Wehrmacht war crimes in Poland, won a departmental award. His PhD was finished at the same university in 2004, he is a member of the German Committee for the History of the Second World War and of the Working Group on Military History. From 2000 he has worked in the German Historical Institute in Warsaw. Between 2003 and 2004 he was a Fellow in Residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Since January 2008, Böhler served as the Baron Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim Fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem.
Böhler, Jochen. Auftakt zum Vernichtungskrieg. Die Wehrmacht in Polen 1939. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer. ISBN 978-3-596-16307-6. Böhler, Die Berichte der Einsatzgruppen aus Polen 1939: Vollständige Edition. Berlin: Metropol, ISBN 978-3863311384. Böhler, Gewalt und Alltag im besetzten Polen 1939–1945, Publications of the German Historical Institute Warsaw. Osnabrück: Fibre, ISBN 978-3-938400-70-8. Böhler, Der Judenmord in den eingegliederten polnischen Gebieten 1939–1945, Osnabrück: Fibre, ISBN 978-3-938400-51-7. Böhler, Der Überfall. Deutschlands Krieg gegen Polen. Frankfurt: Eichborn, ISBN 3-821-85706-4. Böhler, Einsatzgruppen in Polen. Darstellung und Dokumentation, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, ISBN 978-3-534-21353-5. Böhler, Intention oder Situation? Soldaten der Wehrmacht und die Anfänge des Vernichtungskrieges in Polen. In: Timm C. Richter: Krieg und Verbrechen. Situation und Intention: Fallbeispiele. Reihe: Villa ten Hompel aktuell, 9. München. Böhler, Auftakt zum Vernichtungskrieg. Die Wehrmacht in Polen 1939, Schriftenreihe der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Bd.
550, Bonn, ISBN 3-89331-679-5 & Fischer TB, Frankfurt 2006, ISBN 3-596-16307-2. Böhler, Jochen, "Größte Härte…" Verbrechen der Wehrmacht in Polen September–Oktober 1939. Ausstellungskatalog, Hamburg: Fibre, ISBN 3-938400-07-2. Works by or about Jochen Böhler in libraries
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona