Belgium adds Tintin, Smurfs and other comic book heroes to its passports

Belgium is adding popular characters like Tintin and the Smurfs to its passports to celebrate the importance of comics in Belgian culture.

Belgium is the country of origin of many classic comic book characters like Tintin and The Smurfs, and now Belgian citizens can take them anywhere in the world with new official passports. From February 7, the original passports will be phased out and replaced with new ones featuring artwork of beloved Belgian comic book heroes. This effort by the Belgian government aims not only to increase its security against counterfeiters and fraud, but also to highlight the importance of these characters in Belgian culture.

While celebrating these classic comic book characters is a major aspect of this new redesign, there’s also a bigger accomplishment in mind. According to Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which announced the new passports on January 27, recognizability is the goal of this redesign. Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès says comics and comics are considered “the 9th art” in Belgium, and including them in their passport will give them visibility as an important part of Belgian culture. Just by looking at the pages of the new passport that have been shared, it is easy to say that this objective has been hit.


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At first glance, the pages of the new passports do not include the details of the characters included, opting instead for a silhouette look, but even the outlines of these numbers are absolutely unmistakable. On one page, you can see the shape of a Smurf’s iconic hat, as well as his rounded nose, as they spin a globe in front of them. In another, Captain Haddock, Tintin and his dog Snowy can be seen walking towards Haddock Manor, presumably returning from another adventure. Tintin’s signature haircut can be seen on top of his head while Haddock’s captain’s hat rests firmly on his own. But there is more to these passports than meets the eye. As part of the added security measures to prevent counterfeiting, a black light on the passport pages fills in the silhouettes with more details of the characters’ faces and surroundings.

While Tintin and the Smurfs are the most recognizable, there are more characters to be found inside. Some of note include Marsupilami and Lucky Luke. This project to redesign the Belgian passport is part of a massive collaboration between the authors, publishers and beneficiaries of these characters. By working together, they managed to include a wide variety of stories from Belgian comics in a small passport to showcase an important part of their culture. A bonus for Belgians: the price of these passports will not change from the original, even with the beautiful new artwork.

With the release of the new passports on February 7, it will be a great showcase for comics as an important part of Belgian culture. Considering them such an important art form, Belgium has celebrated these comics in the best way. Not only will this give non-Belgian citizens a glimpse of these characters; it will also give them an idea of ​​their culture. When someone sees characters like Tintin and The Smurfs being prominently featured on something as official as a passport shows how important these stories are to the people they have entertained for generations.

Next: Punisher Creator Shares Hilarious Frank Castle/Tintin Mash-Up Fan Art

Source: FPS Foreign Affairs

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Daniel K. Denny