15 facts every foreigner should know about Belgium

Belgium is a small but incredible country located in the “heart” of Europe, in between France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The country is well-known for its chocolate and its beers, but Belgium is much more than that.

Here are 15 things every foreigner 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. …The number neither

We are less people than the inhabitants of Los Angeles. There is an average of 11 milions people living Belgium but this doesn’t mean people are not nice and funny. Belgian know how to party 😉

#3. 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 !

#4. 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”…

#5. 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.

#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?

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