Between moules-frites and sancerre, MD writes...

The scribe went to the Made in Belgium exhibition last week (10/08/05) at the Dexia Art centre in Brussels. For those who don't know (and, let's be fair, that'll be most of you) it celebrates 175 years of Belgium as a stand alone country. Interestingly, the English commentary at the expo missed out some parts of the exhibition which focused on recent history, but I'll leave the detail for you to find out for yourselves (Editor: surely not the Eddy Merckx vs Lance Armstrong debate?).

The exhibition provided a potted history of all things Belgian and events in the territory from pre-history to the present. It was in comparison a marked contrast to the absolute crap dished up by HMG at the millennium dome.

However, and as ever in Belgium, there are some notable omissions: nothing on Hergé the creator of Tintin (some nonsense about his estate not being invited to participate in time); ditto, nothing about Johnny Halliday (Editor: still collecting his albums?); and and no doubt others.

In the industry sector contemporary achievements were presented and a number of companies in the engineering field caught the eye (notably in transmissions and aerospace). GKN might usefully investigate some of these for its cash pile (see previous post). But I also noted some potentially interesting companies as investments (some of which are quoted in New York and/or London). Readers seeking international diversification might want to research:

* Dexia (according to some the best bank here)
* Group Delhaize (int'l supermarket group; equity is up 400% since early 2003)
* UCB (biopharma group)
* Solvay (chemicals & pharmaceuticals)

NB: 5 famous Belgians - Eddy Merckx (The Cannibal is the greatest cyclist of all time), Jacques Brel (the late great ne me quitte pas musician), Jackie Ickx (motor racing, 6 time winner of Le Mans 24 hours), George Remi (aka Hergé of Tintin fame), Peter Paul Rubens (just google him if you don't know).

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