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In the city of two countries, the Belgian bar is closed. Dutch pubs will soon open across the street



Border town caught in bizarre uneven lockdown

“It’s never been quiet. Never.”

However, the story is not entirely universal. Although the city is Belgium, it is also the Netherlands – or at least in part. Walk two minutes on the road, and you are in the Netherlands. Walk a little further, and you return to Belgium.

The Belgian city, Baarle-Hertog, is an enclave in the Netherlands, only 10 kilometers from the border, and is divided in two in a confusing manner by the Dutch city of Baarle-Nassau.

This oddity, which originated in the Middle Ages, is usually almost irrelevant to everyday life. But the coronavirus crisis has caused the government to reject the open borders that define the European Union. And Belgium – with about twice the number of Covid-19 deaths per capita compared to the Netherlands – has instituted a much tighter lockdown.

“I’m not allowed to open,” said van der Kogt. “But 50 meters, on the other hand, cafes and restaurants, they open first June. And I’m not allowed to go there, because I live in Belgium.”

Although Dutch restaurants remained closed, retail stores remained open throughout the crisis. And while Belgian shops are allowed to open this week, Belgians have been banned from shopping across the border – even when that means only crossing one of the white stones that meet the center of the city.

“In this crisis situation, the mayor is not the authority,” said Marjon de Hoon-Veelenturf, one of the two mayors of Baarle (he is Dutch). “We just have to listen to the laws and regulations of The Hague and Brussels.

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“A discussion arises where citizens talk to each other about which country is taking the most reasonable steps. That brings a certain polarization.”

People were “shocked” by the coronavirus crisis experienced by the Belgian mayor, Frans de Bont. “Personally, but also countries, Europe. I think they were surprised together.”

Baarle is certainly an extreme example. The question for Europe is whether your own country-by-country approach is an indication of deeper decay in the union.

The twin mayors of Baarle: Frans de Bont, from Baarle-Hertog, Belgium, and Marjon de Hoon-Veelenturf, from Baarle-Nassau, Netherlands.

“The first reaction was clearly a national level reaction, completely uncoordinated and chaotic, and completely out of line with what you expect from a shared border-free travel area that has been around since 1995,” said Marie de Somer, senior policy analyst at European Policy Center.

The European Commission itself said on Wednesday, in a policy paper intended to outline how to reopen the Schengen-free travel area, that internal border controls “endanger our European way of life.”

Europe promises to reopen summer tourism after coronavirus

It warned that if the border remained closed “beyond what was needed for public health reasons,” the closure would “place a heavy burden not only on the function of the Single Market, but also on the lives of millions of deprived EU citizens.” the benefits of freedom of movement, which is a major achievement of the European Union. “

This is not the first time the European Union has had to deal with a government that left Schengen at the first sign of the crisis. For several years now, countries including Germany have carried out several levels of border control, ostensibly to stem the flow of migrants who move illegally within the EU.

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The scale of coronavirus closure, is unprecedented, said Ian Lesser, vice president at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels.

The barricaded road leads from the Netherlands to Belgium.

“The risk, of course, is that such a national-member-state-first approach is somehow the norm, and is embedded in policy and politics,” he said.

More likely, he added, the economic benefits of open borders will at least in the short term mean that border controls will not be maintained, and “only strengthen the value of having open borders within the Schengen area.”

For now, local roads cross the Dutch-Belgian border, a short drive from Baarle remains barricaded with concrete blocks. Local residents mock that the barrier is easily crossed by smaller rural farm roads, but the symbolism is clear.

Julien Leemans, 63, confusedly took it all in stride. The border was not an abstraction for him – it crossed his house.

Though most of Julien Leemans' The house is in the Netherlands, the front door is in Belgium.

“Ninety percent of the house is Dutch,” he laughed. “Ten percent – only toilets – are Belgium.”

Yes, the front door also belongs to the Belgians, and that means he lives in Belgium – cannot shop in Dutch shops, even though he himself was born and raised in the Netherlands.

“You see now the differences from countries about the corona – Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Britain – everything is different.”

“Europe?” he said with a laugh. “What is that?”

Darren Bull and Mark Baron from CNN contributed to this report.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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