Off topic: Hell is Belgian bureaucrats.
Thread poster: Michael Beijer

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
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May 15, 2013

bureaucracy.jpg

‘Bureaucracy: A Belgian art form. The process of making an apparently simple task rather less straightforward than it first appeared by positioning carefully drafted bits of paper between the subject and their desired object.’ –An A to Z of BELGIUM



[Edited at 2013-05-15 22:44 GMT]


 

Back to basics
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Thank you, Michael May 16, 2013

Although a trifle harsh, I had a good laugh with some of the entries!

As a Belgian who has been living abroad for the last quarter of a century, I can only agree with the description of the lack of organisation and downright corruption in this country (of course everything is relative; "corruption" in Brazil, where I live now, is still somewhat different than the variant encountered in Belgium). Also, the narrow-mindedness and disrespect that people show towards anything that is "out of the ordinary", seems to be growing year after year. Even I as a Belgian, but an "abnormal one" at that (having chosen to do things differently), frequently run into this and I have to admit that it drives me up the wall.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
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Hi Stefan, May 16, 2013

Yes, I hope it didn't come across as too harsh.

I'm working on yet another Belgian annual report at the moment and couldn't resist posting this when I found it. Many of the points could of course also be applied to Randstedelingen.

Michael


 

Cristina intern  Identity Verified
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Big difference between Belgium (Flanders) and the Netherlands May 16, 2013

Thanks Michael for sharing this interesting report.

Knowing quite well the Dutch language and both countries, I have to admit that there is a difference between Belgium (Flanders) and the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands people can be easy going and professional at the same time.


 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
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Very true May 16, 2013

Very observant. As an escaped specimen, I too have to concede that most of those things are true, shamefully so in some cases.

I have the impression that this list was started a while ago, because the cactus entry must be from around the early 90s when these things were popular all round (my grandparents adorned their windowsills with them), but then they went out of fashion for about 10-15 years (the young generation despised them) and then they came back under the auspices of IKEA who marketed them as a kind of quiet, natural green zen decoration. And thus, they found their way back to Belgian windowsills...icon_biggrin.gif

The ice rinks and receptions (shall we say Christmas markets) for the Christmas entry, invariably equipped with lots of Glühwein, waffles, pancakes, soup, sausages not to forget and other weird gimmicks one wonders how they are paid for, are a thing of the late 90s. Last year we did a translation of a Season's programme and there must have been about 10 Christmas markets on for a whole month all day, each with ice skating rinks or similar things and with lots of activities for the children every day, and all at the coast somewhere. The coast isn't very big, so these things must be subsidised, because surely they are making an immense loss. Not even the city of Cologne has that many.


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
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This is hardly a "report" May 16, 2013

Cristina intern wrote:

Thanks Michael for sharing this interesting report.




It's someone's observations about Belgium. Some of which are quite true (comments about Belgacom, Charleroi and Louvain-la-Neuve are spot on) and others either no longer apply (Delhaize now has fast check-out-Colyruyt on the other hand takes longer than Delhaize ever did) or are inaccurate.
I've lived in the Netherlands and am still in Belgium but my personal preference would be to never (again) live in either one.


 

Back to basics
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Agree May 16, 2013

writeaway wrote:
I've lived in the Netherlands and am still in Belgium but my personal preference would be to never (again) live in either one.


...agree! Both have grown increasingly unpleasant over the years (for various and different reasons), especially if one cares to think for oneself, instead of following the herd with your mental faculties on zero.

Come to think of it; Dutch bureaucracy can be as daunting as its Belgian counterpart, especially if you are unfortunate enough to be in a situation that is out of the ordinary (own experience!).

[Edited at 2013-05-16 17:05 GMT]


 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
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Did you know May 16, 2013

that a few years ago a study found that increasing numbers of people in Belgium ask themselves the question what kind of pen they should use to fill in a form, what colour the ink should be this especially) and how they should fill it in (capitals or no capitals)? Talk about your faculties being on zero!
It has come that far...
And people find it funny or nothing to worry about...


 

Back to basics
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That is EXACTLY what bothers me... May 17, 2013

Kirsten Bodart wrote:
It has come that far...
And people find it funny or nothing to worry about...


Thank you for exactly pointing out what bothers me when I come back; the complete lack of awareness that they live in a situation that is "volledig van de pot gerukt" (love that Dutch expression!)...Passive, complacent, and downright lazy (until THEY themselves are personally confronted with these ridiculous situations, and then they are "verongelijkt"....surprise!!!!!)...and, of course, expecting everything as if it were their birth right! For the record; this applies both to the Dutch and to the Belgians! Very sad and I do not really have a lot of hope that this will change in the future; I think these places (and large parts of Europe) are on their way down and there is nothing to stop it if people do not start realizing that a mentality change (and a lot of sacrifice) is urgently required...


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:55
Hebrew to English
And I thought England was hell.... May 17, 2013

What's with all the Belgium/Netherlands bashing? Granted I've only ever spent a few hours in the Netherlands and I've never been to Belgium, everyone knows the worst place in the world is the UK!icon_smile.gif

Here you don't even have to deliberate with yourself what colour ink pen to use on official forms, it's stipulated for us (This form MUST be filled in with BLACK ink). (Isn't that a violation of my human rights to choose what ink I use??? - Might take that to Strasbourg!)icon_smile.gif

Surely Belgium has some redeeming features?

[Edited at 2013-05-17 16:47 GMT]


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
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Indeed May 17, 2013

Ty Kendall wrote:

What's with all the Belgium/Netherlands bashing? (...)

Surely Belgium has some redeeming features?

[Edited at 2013-05-17 16:37 GMT]


Indeed it does. In my view its main redeeming feature is the large amount of work I derive from these same Belgian bureaucrats. The more complex waffle, the more I earn;)

Michael

PS: And yes, England is hell too – that's why my wife and I have recently decided to move to the south of France (for a year or two) next year.

[Edited at 2013-05-17 16:44 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
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Ty! May 17, 2013

Ty Kendall wrote:

What's with all the Belgium/Netherlands bashing? Granted I've only ever spent a few hours in the Netherlands and I've never been to Belgium, everyone knows the worst place in the world is the UK!icon_smile.gif

Here you don't even have to deliberate with yourself what colour ink pen to use on official forms, it's stipulated for us (This form MUST be filled in with BLACK ink). (Isn't that a violation of my human rights to choose what ink I use??? - Might take that to Strasbourg!)icon_smile.gif

Surely Belgium has some redeeming features?

[Edited at 2013-05-17 16:47 GMT]

You didn't read it thoroughly enough Ty!

In amongst the stuff about grey and brown and cacti they did mention waffles and chocolate, both of which are simply heavenly in Belgium.

Most people would say likewise about the beer too, lots of locally brewed treasures, like wine in France. Unfortunately I can't stand the stuff but I saw plenty of people enjoying it heartily when I was there.


 


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Hell is Belgian bureaucrats.

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