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Interview with an Honorary Consul for Belgium in the UK

01 October 2013

Name: Peter Green 
Honorary Consul for Belgium since September 2002 
Main profession: Marine Surveyor 
Jurisdiction: South and South West England 
Estimate of the number of Belgians in jurisdiction: 350

Peter Green

What made you interested in becoming honorary consul for Belgium? 
My wife is Belgian and I had business connections with Belgium in that the head office of the company I worked for at the time is in Antwerp. I also used to work over many years on ships in the Antwerp Docks and in Zeebrugge.

Do you have regular contact with Belgians in your jurisdiction? Can you provide examples of why Belgians get in touch with you? 
Belgian nationals often contact me for advice on renewing their passport and ID cards - having moved to the UK fairly recently. I also authorize life certificates for Belgians and British pensioners who have worked in Belgium and either help with a number of legal enquiries, or pass them on to the Embassy.  

At what events in your jurisdiction do you represent our country? 
The events include several held by the Mayor of Southampton, occasional naval visits, Remembrance Day Service and a FOSEC organised commemoration of Belgians who died in Southampton during World War 1. The local association of consuls meets a few times a year where I represent Belgium too. 

How often do you visit Belgium? Where do you tend to go?  
We tend to visit Belgium three times a year. We mostly go to Tielt where my wife’s parents live. Brussels and Antwerp are fairly regular destinations too. Last year we also went to the Ardennes for a long weekend.

How do you keep informed about Belgium?
The Embassy’s newsletters, the internet and news from friends and relations in Belgium.  

Which 5 words would you list to describe Belgium?
Hospitable, hard-working, well-known for great art, food and beer!     

How is Belgium perceived by the British public?
Unfortunately, many are confused by its make-up i.e. Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. Some even see Brussels as a country!