BELGIUM

Chocolate, Saxophones and Secrets


By Jheri St.James

     The Kingdom of Belgium is a country of 30,518 sq. km. in Western Europe bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France and the North Sea. Belgium is at a cultural crossroads between Germanic Europe and Romance Europe. It is also the geographical crossroads of Western Europe. The majority of Western European capitals lie within 1,000 km. of Brussels. Belgium is one of Europe’s true melting pots with Celtic, Roman and Germanic cultures having made an imprint and, later on in history, French, Dutch, Spanish and Austrian influences. During most of its history, Belgium has been part of the Low Countries (including the Netherlands and Luxembourg), and like the Netherlands, constructs “polders”—areas of land close to or below sea level that have been reclaimed from the sea, from which they are protected by dikes or, further inland, fields that have been drained by canals.

     Belgium is sometimes called “the heart of Europe”. This is not only because of its geographical location, but also due to many international institutions, such as NATO and the European Union, having their headquarters in Brussels. This in its turn is because it has an excellent transportation system, a modern and toll-free road system, is connected to the European railway system, and Antwerp is the second largest European port. Belgium was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and a founding member of NATO in 1950. It also helped establish the European Economic Community (EEC), which was to become part of the European Community (EC) with headquarters in Brussels.

     The economy in Belgium greatly depends on imports and exports. Food products, machinery, rough diamonds, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, clothing and accessories, and textiles are the main imports, and the principal exports are automobiles, food products, iron and steel, diamonds, textiles, plastics, petroleum products and nonferrous metals. Its most importan trading partners are Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the U.S., and Spain. Trade in Belgium is affiliated with that in Luxembourg, because these two countries created a customs and currency union in 1922. Belgium strongly supports deepening the powers of the EU to integrate European economies. Belgium was one of the first countries to adopt the euro, the single European currency, in January 1999 and the Belgian franc was completely replaced by euro coins and banknotes in early 2002.

     Historically, the population of Belgium (10.2 million) has three distinct ethnic communities—Fleming, Walloon and German—and three official languages, one for each community—Dutch, French and German. But in addition there are many minority groups who speak according to their ethnic identity—Jews, Italians, Spaniards, Poles, Turks and Moroccans. Within each of those communities, language use varies widely, with parts of each community maintaining their language of origin over generations, other parts moving towards the language of the city of residence. More than 98 percent of the adult population is literate. Belgium’s educational system is the second most intensive in Europe, after the UK’s. Education is required from the age of 6 until the age of 18, but most Belgian students keep on studying until the age of 23.

     Belgium is well known for art, architecture, beer (450+ brands), food and chocolate. Brands of Belgian chocolate—Neuhaus, Cote d’Or, Leonidas, Godiva—are world-renowned and widely distributed. Mary’s chocolate company supplies the royal court. When one goes on www.google.com and types in “Belgium Chocolate”, no less than 769,000 sites appear. Culinary tours, cooking schools, resorts, clubs and chocolate fountains are just a few of the affiliated enterprises.

     Chocolate has had a reputation as an aphrodisiac for over 1500 years, originating in both the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Montezuma drank fifty golden goblets of chocolate a day to enhance his sexual prowess. Christopher Columbus brought chocolate to Europe in the 16th century, but nobody enjoyed it until the 17th century.

     Disagreements over the ingredients in chocolate plays an unexpectedly large part in the formation of the European Union, with some countries using only cocoa butter and others shea nut and palm oils. In 1996, Directive 73/241/EEC was revised allowing the addition of up to 5% of vegetable oils other than cocoa butter in the production of chocolate, providing the addition is clearly labeled. This important directive affects all EU chocolate producers. The purist countries, such as Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Germany, Greece and Italy do not use cocoa butter substitutes and the directive means that cheaper chocolate products will circulate freely in the EU, lowering prices and purity. These countries argue that the vegetable fat products should not even be called chocolate. Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Austria, Finland and Sweden benefit from this directive, as the substitute fat products used in their products will be sold more easily. The directive also affects the exporters of cocoa beans—Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria—with potentially severe job losses. Who would suspect that the little bits of brown in a cookie would have such tremendous global financial importance? But the Aztecs prized the beans so highly, they used them as currency—100 beans bought a turkey or a slave—and tribute or taxes were paid in coca beans to Aztec emperors. At that time it was called xocolatl, and Montezuma said, “The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.” Today the U.S. and Canada are the world’s largest consumers of chocolate, bringing the divine drink full circle back to the Americas. Surprisingly, the Quaker sect held a virtual monopoly for centuries of chocolate making in the English-speaking world—Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree are probably the best known names.

     Belgium boasts a variety of famous artists: Peter Paul Rubens, Rene Magritte, Jan van Eyck, Breughel, Memling, Ensor, Delvaux. Magritte and Delvaux were two major surrealistic artists. Hergé, the creator of the comic strip reporter Tintin is the world famous and most widely known cartoon artist in Belgium. Many great French authors sought refuge in Belgium. Victor Horta is a well known architect, one of the originators of Art Nouveau architecture, which had a major impact upon 20th century buildings all over the world.

     The saxophone was invented by Antoine-Joseph (Adolphe) Sax in 1840 in the Belgian city of Dinant. The saxophone was subsequently played in Berlioz’ Chant Sacre and many other operas. It replaced oboe, bassoons and French horns in military bands, and was heard in Wagner’s Tannhauser. The first saxophone was built in the U.S. in 1885 and in 1901 Claude Debussy composed for saxophone, as did Richard Strauss, Charles Ives, Bela Bartok, Mussorgsky/Ravel in Pictures at an Exhibition, George Gershwin and Puccini. Stan Getz, John Coltrane, and many other jazz musicians have become prolific saxophone players.


Two Views of Dinant, Birthplace of the Saxophone

     Between World War I and World War II the center of occult and mystical activity in Western Europe was shifted from France to Belgium, which became the main center for many esoteric brotherhoods and secret societies. The website www.google.com produced only 124,000 sites for research on this cryptic topic, 645,000 less than chocolate. But for our readers who might be interested, Freemasonry seems to be the umbrella name, with Knights Templar, Meritorious Order of the Rosy Cross, The Illuminati, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Bildenburg Group, and the Vatican Secret Archives as other organizations implicated in secretive world-control activities in Belgium.

     All Belgium’s activities, above and under ground, take place in relationship to the ground, the soil. The earth is the platform upon which the Kingdom of Belgium, its castles, people and many diverse activities evolved. Cocoa beans need soil in which to grow. Artists take their colors from elements in soil. The metals used for the production of saxophones are products of Gaia, Mother Earth. It is no secret that Common Ground 191’s soil collectors in Belgium were members of the M. Michou Brutsaert family, who live in Brussels, but we have been unable to contact them successfully for the details of their story so that remains a mystery. Belgium is found at the fulcrum of Western Europe. Its soil is unique in the world. We add it to our peace project with respect and gratitude, envisioning the spread of peace over the entire planet, like melted chocolate, sweet, soothing and invigorating.

Top | Back

 

 


All images and text © Copyright 2017 Common Ground 191 - All rights reserved