Topic: Belgium

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Mundaneum

Computing Reference works Belgium

The Mundaneum was an institution which aimed to gather together all the world's knowledge and classify it according to a system developed called the Universal Decimal Classification. It was developed at the turn of the 20th century by Belgian lawyers Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine. The Mundaneum has been identified as a milestone in the history of data collection and management, and (somewhat more tenuously) as a precursor to the Internet.

In the 21st century, the Mundaneum is a non-profit organisation based in Mons, Belgium that runs an exhibition space, website and archive which celebrate the legacy of the original Mundaneum.

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Netherlandish Proverbs (1559)

Visual arts Belgium

Netherlandish Proverbs (Dutch: Nederlandse Spreekwoorden; also called Flemish Proverbs, The Blue Cloak or The Topsy Turvy World) is a 1559 oil-on-oak-panel painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder that depicts a scene in which humans and, to a lesser extent, animals and objects, offer literal illustrations of Dutch-language proverbs and idioms.

Running themes in Bruegel's paintings are the absurdity, wickedness and foolishness of humans, and this is no exception. The painting's original title, The Blue Cloak or The Folly of the World, indicates that Bruegel's intent was not just to illustrate proverbs, but rather to catalog human folly. Many of the people depicted show the characteristic blank features that Bruegel used to portray fools.

His son, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, specialised in making copies of his father's work and painted at least 16 copies of Netherlandish Proverbs. Not all versions of the painting, by father or son, show exactly the same proverbs and they also differ in other minor details.

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Wire of Death

Military history Military history/World War I Military history/German military history Belgium Military history/European military history

The Wire of Death (Dutch: Dodendraad, German: Todesdraht) was a lethal electric fence created by the German military to control the Dutch–Belgian frontier during the occupation of Belgium during the First World War.

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Brabant Killers

Crime Organized crime Belgium

The Brabant killers, also named the Nijvel Gang in Dutch-speaking media (Dutch: De Bende van Nijvel), and the mad killers of Brabant in French-speaking media (French: Les Tueurs fous du Brabant), are believed to be responsible for a series of violent attacks that mainly occurred in the Belgian province of Brabant between 1982 and 1985. A total of 28 people died and 22 were injured. The actions of the gang, believed to consist of a core of three men, made it Belgium's most notorious unsolved crime spree. The active participants were known as The Giant (a tall man who may have been the leader); the Killer (the main shooter) and the Old Man (a middle aged man who drove). The identities and whereabouts of the "Brabant killers" are unknown. Although significant resources are still dedicated to it, the most recent arrests in the case were of the now-retired original senior detectives. Failure to catch the gang resulted in a parliamentary inquiry. There have been many theories of ulterior motives behind the crimes.

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Universal Decimal Classification

Libraries Belgium

The Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) is a bibliographic and library classification representing the systematic arrangement of all branches of human knowledge organized as a coherent system in which knowledge fields are related and inter-linked. The UDC is an analytico-synthetic and faceted classification system featuring detailed vocabulary and syntax that enables powerful content indexing and information retrieval in large collections. Since 1991, the UDC has been owned and managed by the UDC Consortium, a non-profit international association of publishers with headquarters in The Hague (Netherlands).

Unlike other library classification schemes that have started their life as national systems, the UDC was conceived and maintained as an international scheme. Its translation in world languages started at the beginning of the 20th century and has since been published in various printed editions in over 40 languages. UDC Summary, an abridged Web version of the scheme, is available in over 50 languages. The classification has been modified and extended over the years to cope with increasing output in all areas of human knowledge, and is still under continuous review to take account of new developments.

Albeit originally designed as an indexing and retrieval system, due to its logical structure and scalability, UDC has become one of the most widely used knowledge organization systems in libraries, where it is used for either shelf arrangement, content indexing or both. UDC codes can describe any type of document or object to any desired level of detail. These can include textual documents and other media such as films, video and sound recordings, illustrations, maps as well as realia such as museum objects.

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