Passports are more about the journeys we take than the books themselves. We don’t often spend a ton of time digging through the pages, except to occasionally look at the stamps and wonder how it’s really been five years since your last visit to Ireland. And so forth. But each country’s passport is full of homages to the place of origin. Pinterest-worthy quotes from notable Americans and illustrations of monuments and national symbols fill each page of the US booklet. And sure, how nice is that? But what if instead they were cool illustrations? Like the very charming new passports out of Belgium. Each page features iconic Belgian comic strip characters.
The 34-page booklet, which we first saw at Design Taxi, features 31 pages of delightful cartoon illustrations. The properties covered include some of the most famous comic strips to come out of Belgium, like The Smurfs, The Adventures of Tintin, and Willy and Wanda. Others featured include the detectives Blake & Mortimer, Suske & Wiske, and Lucky Luke.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès announced the new passports on January 27. Per the Brussels Times, the new passports will formally debut on February 7. In a statement, Wilmès, spoke of the new passport look and its ties to Belgium’s artistic culture:
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. This is why we are constantly working to improve its security. The introduction of this new passport is also an opportunity for us to highlight the 9th art, the comic strip, which is a central element of our culture and our influence abroad.
Frankly an excellent idea for all countries to embrace. The UK passport with Paddington on every page? I’d apply for citizenship immediately! Give me France with Madeline, Japan with some thrilling Manga characters adorning its pages. The opportunities are endless.
But baller designs aren’t all Belgium was shooting for when designing the sweet new passports. As the video demonstrates, it seems a little bit trickier to copy. Scanned images of each page shows some very tricky new security measures. However, despite the new look and reinforced security measures, Wilmès specifically noted that the passports will not increase in price.