New Belgian passports to feature iconic cartoons Tintin and the Smurfs

Tintin's moon rocket features on a page of Belgium's newly designed passport.
Tintin's moon rocket features on a page of Belgium's newly designed passport. Copyright BENOIT DOPPAGNE/AFP
By Euronews with AP
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The newly designed passports will also increase security, the country's foreign minister has said.

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From images of Gothic and baroque buildings to pictures of a young, red-haired adventurer named Tintin.

If ever a Belgian was in need of a passport over the past century, it was the intrepid cartoon journalist who travelled the world looking to stamp out trouble.

And now, the character created by cartoonist Hergé will be traveling with every Belgian going overseas.

From February 7, Belgium will redesign the country's passports to include images of Tintin and other famous cartoon characters for which the nation is perhaps best known.

Tintin's famous moon rocket and the Moulinsart mansion of his friend Captain Haddock will also feature in new passports, as well as the Smurfs and cowboy Lucky Luke.

Despite its cartoon book appearance, authorities say passport security has been significantly improved.

"The Belgian passport is one of the best in the world, it is a source of pride for us, but also an object of desire for counterfeiters," Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès announced on Thursday.

"This is why we are constantly working to improve its security," she added in a statement.

Wilmès also thanked those publishers and authors who had collaborated on the country's updated passport.

The foreign minister added that the new passports were an opportunity to highlight a "central element of [Belgium's] culture and influence abroad".

The old Belgian passport will still remain valid until its expiry date, authorities added.

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