Flash Mob Celebrates Herman Van Rompuy’s Presidency and Europe

Michelle and I arrived in Belgium for 10 days on Tuesday, with a pretty full business and friends agenda, and in part to participate in the “flashmob” to celebrate the retirement of our friend President Herman Van Rompuy as the President of the European Council (the Council of the heads of state of the 28 European countries).  A clip of the event is attached  — it is worth watching.  It starts with some shots of Herman visiting the Ruben’s exhibit at the Bozar (for the Americans, think The Kennedy Center) with the head of the Bozar, our friend Paul Dujardin.  When Herman and Paul get to a landing on the stairs on their way out, it looks like a typical crowd of visitors is milling in the hall.  But then we all hear a single accordion.  The crowd begins to part to reveal a single school boy playing the accordion.  So Herman stops to be courteous.  But after 30 seconds, all of a sudden, an organ joins from the back of the room, then later violinists come out, then drums, then a soloist, and then flag wavers, Herman’s grand children and by the end 250 people are singing or playing music (including Michelle and me and our friends the Steels (the new grandparents of Victoria) and the Boogaerts.)  It was a fabulous event — and classic Belgian:  warm, informal, spontaneous, with joy and without pretense.    For my Belgian friends, I am a guest this Sunday on De Zevende Dag (for the Americans, think “Meet the Press” in the U.S..)  All the best.

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