Belgium’s First Fingerprint e-ID abroad

Gilbert as a test case

On 31 May 2021 I took part in the Belgium’s First Fingerprint e-ID abroad, in our Belgian Embassy in Beijing. With the time zones Beijing was a favorite location to try the new administrative procedure when it was launched worldwide, as the first in line. As I understand, not that simple as the data of the scans – picture, fingerprints, signature – must be uploaded to the system in Brussels and the whole process was not tested before.
See the official post:
Belgium’s First Fingerprint e-ID Abroad!
31 May 2021

If you have trouble opening the link, see here the PDF version: 210531 firstIDcard
I was gladly the test case. Overall it went very well, it was fun. The only hassle is to make the electronic signature, the machine is a nightmare as you don’t see what you are doing. I had to repeat more than a dozen times and settle for the less bad result.

See how the old ID card looked like, and the fingerprint process.
Next step is waiting for the new ID to arrive and to activate here the chip. In the past it could not be done in the embassy and I had to do it in Belgium during a visit.

My eID reader

My eID reader

I use the eID with this eID reader to have access to the retirement website in Brussels.

A European mess

There is still no European standard to have secure access to government or banking websites, accepted and used by the member states.
For ING Belgium I use a ING card reader. Every country has its own system, in Belgium it is called CSAM. In Belgium there are other options such as
About itsme:

“itsme” was approved in Belgium in January 2018 and the button itsme is visible on CSAM. ING Belgium also allows itsme. In December 2019 itsme was approved by the EU. However France imposes France Connect registration that cannot be used by people like me and does not follow EU standards. A real headache. It does not follow “eIDAS”.
eIDAS oversees electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Union’s internal market. It regulates electronic signatures, electronic transactions, involved bodies, and their embedding processes to provide a safe way for users to conduct business online like electronic funds transfer or transactions with public services.

Belgian community in Beijing

In Morel’s Restaurant

As reported earlier our Belgian community in Beijing is getting more active.
The “BiB” was set up earlier, see: Launch of the Belgians in Beijing Club

On 26 November 2020 we all got together in Morel’s Restaurant. considered as our Belgian home far from home.
The Belgians will celebrate New Year’s Eve also in Morel’s, see the menu. For very personal reasons I will an “observer” will will drink a glass together.

On 1 January 2020 there were 1555 Belgians officially registered in China, according to the official figures of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Of the total, we have 1059 adults and 496 children (under 21), 560 female and 995 male. There might be more Belgian around, not registered with the embassy or consulate.

Vlamingen in de Wereld

There is a worldwide organization for Flemish people abroad, called “Vlamingen in de Wereld“.

We have since this year a local representative, Tina Heyninck, see her article here: “In Beijing is alles constant in beweging”.
On 15 December 2020 Tina launched the Beijing section with a reception graciously hosted by our Belgian ambassador in his Beijing residence, along with the FIT representative Marc Struyvelt.

I am not sure since when I became a member of VIW in Beijing, it could be from the mid-eighties. I am trying to check… Always happy to receive my printed copy!

Belgian Beer Culture Week in China

On Saturday 20 June, the same day our King and Queen landed in Wuhan, our friends from Vandergeeten & EG DistriSelecta launched a Belgian Beer Culture week in China. I was asked to say a few words in the Beijing opening party, done in the new Belgian bar “De Refter”, in Sanlitun. Vandergeeten, as it is mostly known, is one of the pioneers of importing Belgian beer (and more) into China. Their beers can be found all over the country.
De Refter is one more Belgian bar (and restaurant), joining the ranks of several others such as Beer Mania, The Tree, Morel’s and others that serve lots of Belgian beers.
I asked my friend James to join me to say a few words too as the “Chinese side” of the Sino-Belgian cooperation.
Before heading to De Refter we had a dinner next door so to speak, in Homeplate BBQ, I love their food, The meat is slowly cooked to become oh so tender; see the special oven they use. The place is always packed. The also have home-made beer.

I had a great time and discovered again some new Belgian beers. They are now part of my collection I have at home, all in my kitchen that is becoming too small to host the now about 100 different beer bottles. All bought and empties in Beijing. See the new add-on and part of the gallery of bottles. We are for sure happy to have so many beers from Belgian here.
Thanks to Mercedes and Bowen for the hospitality and the nice evening.
Beer, along with chocolate and diamonds are probably the best known features of Belgium around the world (maybe along with Manneken Pis…)