Belgium’s new passports celebrate the country’s comic book history

Written by By Hannah RyanArnaud Siad, CNN

Most passports tend to be relatively uniform in design. They are often burgundy, black or blue in color and may encompass a small version of a nation’s symbol. But that won’t be the case for Belgians on February 7 – the country will now issue passports defined by images of its comic book heroes, from Tintin to the Smurfs.
Belgian passport holders will now be able to flip through the pages of their new document and spot some of the country’s most beloved fictional characters, including Lucky Luke and Blake and Mortimer alongside Hergé’s famous boy reporter and the Blue Smurfs who have long been popular with children. worldwide.

In a statement, Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès said the new passport is “even more secure thanks to new security and personalization techniques” and added that it will be “recognizable thanks to its original design, which honors one of the jewels of our culture”. : the heroines and heroes of comic strips.”

The illustration shows the lunar rocket from “The Adventures of Tintin – De avonturen van Kuifje” by Hergé on a page of the new Belgian international passport Credit: ©Hergé-Moulinsart, Benoit Doppagne/Belga Mag/AFP/Getty Images

Wilmès also described Belgium’s passport as “one of the best in the world” and called it a “source of pride” for the nation. She also noted that it is “an object of covetousness for counterfeiters”, which is why the Foreign Office is constantly working to improve its security.

“The implementation of this new passport is also an opportunity for us to highlight the 9th art, comics, which is a central element of our culture and our influence abroad,” said Wilmès.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked the “publishers, authors and rights holders who agreed to participate in the project”.

She also highlighted the strengthening of the quality and security of the passport but acknowledged that the cost would not increase, which she described as “a strong gesture which will be profitable for our fellow citizens”.

According to Tintin official websiteon the occasion of the launch of the new document, a temporary exhibition on the history of the Belgian passport will be accessible at the Comic Strip Museum until 6 March.

Most of the images in the new passport are taken from classic comic books, such as Tintin’s ‘Explorers on the Moon’ – first published in 1954 – and, according to Tintin’s website, the comic book characters chosen for adorning the new passport pages are related to the theme of travel.

Tintin’s adventures have taken him around the world, from the United States to Sydney and even into space. From now on, Belgian travelers will be accompanied by Hergé’s drawing as well as the other comic book characters that the country is famous for producing.

Daniel K. Denny