Belgium is a small (but incredible) country located between France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It is home of a little over 11 million inhabitants spread over 30,500 km2. Despite its small size and its – almost – absence from the international political scene, the country is known worldwide for its many beers, its chocolate made in Belgium, but also many other things that we do not even suspect! And yes, the land of surrealism surprises with its diversity, its expressions and its unique specialities! I’ll take you around……
You can find Belgium on a world map, that’s very good! But have you ever been interested in Belgian culture and specialities? Do you know Belgian expressions that no one else understands?
Here are 15 things you should know about Belgium
#1. In Belgium, size doesn’t count
Belgium is a very small country: It takes 2 hours to drive from East to West and maximum 3 hours to drive from North to South. But one can be stuck more than two hours in daily traffic jam in Brussels and this doesn’t mean that Belgium doesn’t have much to offer…
#2. Belgium has 3 official languages
It is officially a trilingual country. Part of Belgian speak Dutch, you may call it Flemish, another part speak French and a little part also speaks German. And if you are in Brussels, you can practice all the world languages you want … But you know; the more, the merrier !
#3. Belgium is the European heart
The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is the European capital.The European institutions are located in the capital. Belgium is described as being the “heart of Europe”…
#4. Belgium is the headquarter of the big boss
Both the NATO and the European Union have their headquarters in Belgium (in Brussels).
Moreover, Brussels is the second city in the world that host the most lobbyist (after Washington D.C) and there are more diplomats in Brussels than anywhere else in the world.
#5. ‘French fries’ actually come from here !
French fries are a bit of a national pride, so it’s not easy to have to explain to foreigners that “French Fries” actually means “Belgian Fries”. Without a lie, you can find the best french fries in Belgium and even in the most remote and least inhabited villages, at any time of the day, you can always find a “Baraques à frites”.
Why are they better than elsewhere? The secret is the double cooking in oil. Doubly fatter, doubly better.
#6. Belgium has delicious food
Have you ever heard about Belgian chocolate? Or about the waffle? Or the Speculoos? And what about French (Belgian) fries?! Yes, the very famous and yummy French fries are originated from Belgium 😉
#7. Belgium is politically unique
Belgium is the only country in the world with 7 (seven!) parliaments! And only Belgian politicians understand the political system in the country.
#8. Belgium can be seen from the universe
You can see Belgium from the space as the roads and highways are enlighted at night. So even if it is a small country, astronauts can see it!
#9. Belgium is home to famous comics
Belgium is home to several popular comics like Tintin, Asterix, Smurfs, Lucky Luke but also XIII and Largo Winch. We used to say « Any known comic on earth that is not Japanese or American, is Belgian ».
#10. The country has one of the biggest port of the world
Antwerp, in the North-East, has the seventh biggest port in the world.
#11. …And the best beers !
Belgium has the most and the best beers in the world. Most people aged 6 years know what a beer tastes like. (In 2011, France raised taxed on Beer (which is Belgian). To keep balance right, Belgium raised taxes on wine (mostly from France).)
#12. Belgium hero is pissing in public
Belgium’s only hero is Manneken pis, a child that peed on a spanish colonel 500 years ago. Some say it’s fiction. Don’t be disappointed after visiting his statue in Brussels: it’s 70 cm big.
#13. Belgium invented a piece of music
The Saxophone is a Belgian Invention. It was created by Adolphe Sax who comes from Dinant. Also it is said that Van Beethoven’s grandparents were Belgian …
#14. Belgium knows how to be united for the best…
Belgian know how to celebrate and there are many occasion to be united: The “Red Devils”, the Belgian footbal team, took the country to the World Cup in Brasil in 2014; Stromae, the Maestro and master of “Alors on danse” makes people move all around the world; And usually, any occasion is good to celebrate (drinking beers, of course!)
#15. … But also for the worst
On Tuesday 22nd March 2016, Belgium was the stage of several attacks at Brussels airport and in the metro Malbeek. “What we feared has happened,” said the Belgian Prime Minister, “Belgium was hit by a blind, violent and cowardly attack.” To face the tragedy, people stand up !
Even though Belgium is a small and diverse country with different languages and different people, Belgium is the proof that we can be united in diversity. The country is ONE and terrorism didn’t kill the unity!
Did you know about these facts?
What do you know about Belgium?