On 14 April 2023, the College of Europe in Natolin was abuzz with excitement as Belgian and Luxembourgish students, together with the Student Affairs and Professional Development Office (SAPDO), organized vibrant celebrations of their respective cultures through a range of activities. The event was a testament to the diversity and richness of Belgian and Luxembourgish cultures - and celebrations included music performances, fireside chat, comics exhibitions, and traditional food tastings.
At the close of the National Day celebrations, the students placed a selection of Belgian comics in the Natolin library for other students to enjoy. Comics are an important part of Belgian culture, with iconic characters like Tintin, Asterix, and Lucky Luke being beloved by people of all ages.
On 11 April, at the initiative of the students, the College of Europe in Natolin was honoured to host an online conference and a Q&A session with Mr Charles MICHEL, the current President of the European Council, during which students from the Natolin and Bruges campuses were invited to ask their questions.
On 12 April, the students organized a cinematic celebration of Belgian cinema. They invited their fellow classmates to two movie screenings featuring some of the most acclaimed Belgian directors of the past decade: The Broken Circle Breakdown by Felix van Groeningen, a critical and commercial success in Belgium, winning numerous awards and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and Le Tout Nouveau Testament by Jaco VAN DORMAEL, featuring a star-studded cast, including Catherine DENEUVE and Benoît POELVOORDE, and was a hit with audiences and critics alike.
On the day following, around 30 students from the College of Europe in Natolin were invited to the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Warsaw. The purpose of the visit was to learn more about Luxembourg and to engage in a dialogue with the Ambassador of Luxembourg to Poland, H.E. Mr. Paul SCHMIT, and the staff of the embassy. The visit was a unique opportunity for the students to deepen their understanding of Luxembourg and its culture, its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and diverse population.
April 14 was the main day of celebrations. In the morning, the students were offered a workshop on Luxembourgish language and culture. The workshop was a unique opportunity for the students to learn about the language and customs of Luxembourg, one of the smallest but most vibrant countries in Europe. The workshop covered a range of topics, including the history of the language, basic vocabulary and grammar, and the cultural significance of various traditions. In the afternoon, the students gathered to hear two special guest speakers. The first was H.E. Rik VAN DROOGENBROECK, the Belgian Ambassador to Poland. The second speaker was Mr Bart LAURENT, Director of Operations of the European Union Military Staff, presenting on the EU mission in Ukraine.
After the speeches and presentations by the guest speakers, the students enjoyed a traditional dinner experience at the Natolin student restaurant. The dinner was a chance for the students to sample some of the traditional foods of Belgium and Luxembourg and to socialize with their fellow classmates.
Following the dinner, the students gathered in the Auditorium Copernicus for a quiz and music evening. The quiz covered a range of topics related to Belgium and Luxembourg, including history, culture, and politics. The students were divided into teams and competed against each other for prizes.
To add a more cultural touch to the evening, the students finished the celebrations with a Belgian cantus. A cantus is a traditional student singing event that is popular in Belgium and other European countries. The event involves singing traditional songs and drinking beer, creating a fun and festive atmosphere. Overall, the National Day celebrations of Belgium and Luxembourg at the College of Europe in Natolin were a great success showcasing the importance of cultural exchange and understanding.