While some countries brag about how powerful their passports are based on how many countries their citizens can visit without restrictions, Belgium's passport is going for a different distinction: most fun.
Where most countries use subtly-shaded images of national heroes, historic sites and natural wonders in the security paper that's used for passports, Belgium is starting to issue a new series that boasts not only enhanced security and 'personalization techniques' but also images of Belgian comic book characters, including the most famous, Tintin. In fact, the book opens on an image of Tintin's rocket ship.
“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 Minister Sophie Wilmès told a press conference. “This is why we are constantly working to improve its security.”
Wilmès also said that the passport is “an opportunity to highlight the 9th art, the comic strip, which is a central element of our culture and our influence abroad,” including not only Tintin but also Bob & Bobette, Marsupilami, Lucky Luke (whom most non-Belgians won't recognize) and the most recognizable surprise: Who knew the Smurfs were Belgian?