Monday August 1, 2022

What’s the best way to embark and start exploring the world again after a long isolation? Ask the Belgian Foreign Ministry Department what they came up with. In late January, Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès announced that beginning February 7, Belgian travellers will be issued a uniquely designed passport featuring one of their national prides – not with images of beer, frites, or chocolates, but with a comic strip and cartoon characters on every page. Yes, images of classic Belgian comic characters such as Tin-Tin, Lucky Luke, Marsupilami, Largo Winch, Blake and Mortimer, and the famous blue dwarves, the Smurfs. Belgium played a major role in the history of comics. Comics are also an essential part of Belgian culture and heritage. The art of creating comics is popular in two regions of the country, Wallonia and Flanders. That is why all major comics are published in French and Dutch. Aside from these comic characters, this official travel document also features the two iconic landmarks in Brussels, the Atomium and the Manneken Pis statue. What else makes this passport even cooler? Along with its fun design, the Belgian passport is more counterfeitsafe. Looking with the naked eye, you will only see simple silhouettes of the illustrations on the passport. However, under UV light, the images on each page come to life, where their rich details can be seen. The superposition of the 2 inks inside the design itself is one of the many security elements intended to protect the passport, and therefore the identity of the passport holder. This was designed by both the French design and engineering firm Thales Group and the Belgian technology company Zetes. As a world traveller, and if I have possession of this passport, I would most likely be on the lookout...... Read more on Full Issue!

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