• Celebrating Black History Month

    Celebrating Black History Month

    On February 26, 2014, Black History Month was celebrated with a lively panel discussion at the Ambassador’s residence. The purpose of Black History Month is to celebrate the heritage and culture of African Americans and their contributions to U.S. society.  This year’s event is special as it marks the 50th [...]

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  • Roller Derby Teams Invade Belgium for 2nd Annual Skates of Glory Competition

    Roller Derby Teams Invade Belgium for 2nd Annual Skates of Glory Competition

    The first inline roller skate was created by Belgian inventor John Joseph Merlin in 1760 and patented by M. Petibled of Paris in 1819; 50 years later James Plimpton of Medford, Massachusetts re-arranged the placement of wheels to create a skate with more flexible movement called the “quad.” The history [...]

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  • 45 Individuals, 45 Cultures, 45 Dreams and 45 Expectations:  ONE BFTF SUMMER INSTITUTE!

    45 Individuals, 45 Cultures, 45 Dreams and 45 Expectations: ONE BFTF SUMMER INSTITUTE!

    On the 29th of June planes and cars, from all over Europe and the United States, were heading in the same direction: Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. 45 individuals, 45 cultures, 45 dreams and 45 expectations were represented at the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute 2013. Soon the 45 [...]

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  • An American Story to Tell in Passchendaele

    An American Story to Tell in Passchendaele

    This time next year we will mark the centenary of World War I, the so-called “War to End All Wars” that wreaked havoc on the European continent and completely flattened a number of Belgian towns. Earlier this week, Embassy Staff and Interns travelled to Ypres, Belgium, a town in West [...]

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  • Our Annual Iftar

    Our Annual Iftar

    On July 10.2013, U.S. Ambassador  to Belgium Howard Gutman welcomed 150 teachers, community and religious leaders, diplomats, and friends to his home – and America’s home in Belgium – for an iftar, celebrating the start of the holy month of Ramadan. In his speech – one of the last he [...]

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  • Celebrating America’s Birthday

    Celebrating America’s Birthday

    In the spring of 1776, overwhelming support for independence swept through Britain’s thirteen North American colonies. Fiercely opposed to tyranny and taxation without representation imposed by their British colonizers, the colonies banded together and elected to take action in their struggle for freedom. On July 2, the colonies voted in [...]

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  • Cross-cultural Communication through the Meet Us Program

    Cross-cultural Communication through the Meet Us Program

    Before starting my internship at the U.S. Mission to Belgium, I had never heard of the Meet US Program, nor did I have any idea of what it was. Now, nearing the end of my internship, I realize that the Meet US Program is a great aspect of our youth [...]

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  • Ambassador Gutman Celebrates the End of his Partnership Tour in Belgium

    Ambassador Gutman Celebrates the End of his Partnership Tour in Belgium

    On Sunday, May 5, 2013,  U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman completed his Partnership tour of all 589 cities in Belgium by visiting the commune of Voeren. On the same day, Ambassador Gutman also welcomed the governors and mayors of Belgium to his residence for a reception to celebrate Ambassador [...]

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  • A Very Special Last Post in Ypres

    A Very Special Last Post in Ypres

    Every night starting in 1928, the Last Post has been played at 8:00pm under the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper, Belgium to honor the British and Allied soldiers who fell in combat during the Ypres Salient in World War I. At present, this solemn salute has been played over 29,000 [...]

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  • U.S. Embassy to Belgium and U.S. Mission to the EU Co-Host Belgian Movie Premiere of “Lincoln”

    U.S. Embassy to Belgium and U.S. Mission to the EU Co-Host Belgian Movie Premiere of “Lincoln”

    In celebration of Black History Month, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman and the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union William E. Kennard hosted the avant-premiere of the movie “Lincoln” in Brussels on January 22, 2012. Over 500 Brussels attendees enjoyed a lively gathering for the pre-screening of “Lincoln”, a [...]

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Recent Posts

Take a Drive on America’s Main Street: Route 66

Take a Drive on America’s Main Street: Route 66

Today, for most travelers on U.S. Route 66, the goal is the journey itself, not any particular destination. The highway was established in 1926, when it was advertised as “the shortest, best and most scenic route from Chicago through St. Louis to Los Angeles.” The route’s founder, Cyrus Avery, believed [...]

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Food talk is big among those who live in America’s melting pot

Food talk is big among those who live in America’s melting pot

Maybe American-English speakers think with their stomachs, because they often express themselves in the language of cooking. Good friends who like the same things are “like two peas in a pod.” Any bad situation that gets worse moves “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” Something really easy [...]

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Follow this pop-music map of America

Follow this pop-music map of America

  Sometimes it’s not what you sing about, but where. American songwriters have often used well-known locations as a shorthand — know the place and you know the cultural message. Some of these associations are known worldwide; others need a little deciphering outside the U.S. New York: “Empire State of [...]

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Who are Americans? It’s complicated, especially in terms of race

Who are Americans? It’s complicated, especially in terms of race

“Where are you from?” The question, seemingly simple, is anything but clear in the United States. It could be asking where you were born, where you grew up, where you now live or where your ancestors lived. And in a country built by immigrants, answering the question has proven difficult. [...]

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Columbus Day

Columbus Day

Columbus Day is the U.S. federal holiday commemorating explorer Christopher Columbus’ landing in the New World on October 12, 1492. It also celebrates the cultural heritage of Italian Americans, since many scholars believe Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. Columbus Day has been an annual holiday in the United States [...]

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The Mardasson Memorial in Bastogne

The Mardasson Memorial in Bastogne

The Mardasson Memorial is a tribute from the Belgian population as a whole to the American nation. Its construction came about thanks to an initiative of the Belgian American Association set up in 1945 and consisting of various Belgian dignitaries who wished to perpetuate the memory of those brave Americans [...]

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U.S. Route 66: A Journey for Travelers Seeking ‘Americana’

U.S. Route 66: A Journey for Travelers Seeking ‘Americana’

As the Disney-Pixar movie Cars explains, there was once a thoroughfare through the southwestern United States that weaved from Chicago to Los Angeles through small towns, prairie and open desert. For most travelers, Route 66 was simply the best route west to California, one immortalized in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes [...]

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Oh, Say Can You Sing?

Oh, Say Can You Sing?

Although “The Star-Spangled Banner” is performed before every baseball game and at many other public events, it’s notoriously hard to sing. But in its history, the song has allowed the performers who can sing it to create memorable and unique interpretations of the United States’ most prominent musical symbol. When [...]

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Celebrating the Achievements of Martin Luther King Jr.

Celebrating the Achievements of Martin Luther King Jr.

Americans on each third Monday of January honor the life and achievements of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., (1929–1968), the 1964 Nobel Peace laureate and the individual most associated with the triumphs of the African-American civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. As a political organizer, supremely skilled [...]

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Thanksgiving Day a Time for Reflection, Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day a Time for Reflection, Gratitude

Thanksgiving in the United States is possibly the premier U.S. family celebration, typically celebrated at home and marked with a substantial feast. As the anchor of what is for many a four-day holiday weekend, Thanksgiving provides an occasion for family reunions, marks the beginning of the “holiday season” that continues [...]

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