Stuart Weir writes about the city of Brussels, and a statue of a boy on a mission

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20170831_113036.jpgMannekin Pis, a statue of a boy on a mission, photo by Stuart Weir

RunBlogRun opines: Stuart Weir wrote this piece on Brussels, the home of the Memorial Van Damme, before his three other pieces on Brussels were posted.

Stuart Weir went to nine Diamond League meets plus the World Champs and Paralympics for @runblogrun in 2017. Stuart makes me smile. His sense of humor, his love the the world and his genuine affection for our sport and its characters comes out in every word he writes.

Stuart Weir will cover the Great North Run for @runblogrun as I am staying home in the former colonies.

I missed this one, but, since it made me laugh, and Stuart Weir worked so hard on it, well, we had to post it.

Thanks Stuart!

The Diamond League series ended in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, in the fourth month after it all began in Doha in May. This is my ninth Diamond League and it seems to have gone on forever.

Belgium is a small country with a population of 11 Million. The capital, Brussels has a population of 2.6 million. Bordered by the sea to the north, France to the West, Netherlands to the East and Germany to the south, the country has two main languages French (Western half) and Flemish or Dutch in the Eastern part with a significant German speaking minority to the south. As the French-speaking Belgians often don't speak Flemish on principle, and vice versa, English is widely spoken as a compromise.

Arguably Belgium's greatest contribution to the world is chocolate and beer. Despite the name "French fries" are said to have originated in Belgium. I am not sure about Brussel sprouts.

Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital to the extent that in the UK the word "Brussels" is widely used in the UK to signify all the evils of the European Union!

I am not the only Brit in Brussels this week as representatives of her majesty's Government are in town to negotiate Brexit. As the following extract from the talks show, the negotiations are going well:

EUROPE: If you pay 120 billion dollars, you can leave the EU.

BRITAIN: But the reason we want to leave is so that we stop paying money to Brussels.

EUROPE: Yes indeed and we are offering you the chance to stop playing Brussels. The cost is only 120 billion dollars.

As you can see we are on the very cusp of a deal.

The Memorial Van Damme event has run for over 40 years, having been first organized in 1977 by a group of journalists in honour of Ivo Van Damme, a Belgian double medal winner at the Montreal Olympics who was killed the previous year in a car accident at the age of 22. It is held in the King Baudouin Stadium, previously known as the Heysel Stadium where 39 fans died at a football match in 1985 when a wall collapsed.

As well as politics, beer, chocolate and athletics, Brussels can offer you culture like the statue called Manneken Pis. It is not a majestic bridge or a tower or a cathedral, but a bronze statue of a boy happily peeing into the fountain's basin.

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