Tintin joins the Smurfs on new Belgian passport

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From Monday, all new Belgian passports will feature Tintin, the Smurfs and other heroes of Belgian comic-strip art.

With a 34-page standard passport, Belgian travellers will be accompanied by Lucky Luke, Blake and Mortimer, and Bob and Bobette. Many images are from the original strips, such as the 1954 Tintin serial, Explorers on the Moon, where the intrepid boy reporter took his first steps on the lunar surface 15 years before Neil Armstrong. Others were specially designed for the passport, such as a Smurf contemplating a globe, with its knapsack and maps spread on the ground.

“We have chosen a design that represents well our country, its arts and culture, with a touch of talent, expertise, humour and humility,” Belgium’s foreign minister, Sophie Wilmès, told the Francophone national broadcaster RTBF.

While the naked eye sees a silhouette of a scene, other details, such as facial expressions and textures are revealed only under UV light, a security feature.

“There is a little bit of Belgian humour here,” Wouter Poels, a foreign ministry spokesman said. “It’s always nice if you can link what is functionable to something that is enjoyable. But a passport is and remains an administrative document,” he said referring to 48 new security features, such as barcodes, laser-engraved photographs and the polycarbonate ID page.

Read more via The Guardian

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