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What is Belgium famous for – Facts about Belgium

Belgium is famous for its foods, Belgian beers and Belgian chocolate. Belgium is also known as the site of the most famous battle of World War I, the Battle of Waterloo.

We visited Belgium recently and learned what is Belgium famous for? Now you can read and enjoy some of the most interesting facts about Belgium.

Belgium facts - what is Belgium famous for

Belgium’s geography

Belgium is a small country located in Western Europe. It is situated between France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The total area of Belgium is 11,781 square kilometres (4,586 sq mi). Belgium has an estimated population of more than 10 million people.

Belgium is the collective name given in the country, but it is comprised of three recognized regions. These are the Walloon Region, Flanders and The Brussels Capital Region.

The capital city of Belgium is Brussels. It has a population of over 1 million inhabitants.

There are three official languages in Belgium.

The official language in Belgium is Dutch, French and German; however only around 58% of the country’s population speaks Dutch, while 39 % speaks French and a small percent speaks German

Belgian Flag

Governments in Belgium

Belgium has a King and six governments – five regionals, one and one federal government. During recent government formation from 2019-2020, it took 652 days for a federal government to be formed. Belgium broke its own record of 589 days without a government.

Monarchy in Belgium

The monarchy of Belgium is a constitutional system of government, with a monarch who reigns but does not rule. It’s one of the four countries in Europe that has a Constitutional monarchy where the Monarch only has a representative and ceremonial role.

The head of state is King Philippe, who was crowned in 2013 following the abdication of Albert II, his father. He holds no real power but has the duty to protect the country’s Constitution, enforce laws and most importantly, represent Belgium domestically and internationally.

Belgian chocolate industry 

Belgium is known for the largest chocolate factory in the world, located in Wieze, east of Flanders. Belgium Facts about chocolate The worldwide renown of Belgian culinary skills and its products is mainly due to its chocolates.

Belgium’s chocolate industry is 400 years old and was brought to Europe when the Belgian colonizers left The Congo in Africa.

There exist a few laws about chocolate that actually make Belgian chocolate. It must contain 35% cacao – American chocolate, on average, contains only 10% cacao, so this chocolate will taste richer than most of what you used to!

Around 540 Chocolate manufacturers operate in Belgian markets, and you can buy chocolate in over 2000 chocolate shops.

French Fries or Belgian fries

French fries were first introduced to the world by Belgians, so maybe since the Belgian invented french fries, they should be called Belgian Fries. The most commonly known recipe of French fries is made with potatoes, oil and salt. But in Belgium, it’s common to put mayonnaise on your fries! Try it; it’s yummy.

In Brussels, you can visit a museum dedicated to Belgian/French Fry.

French fries are often served with mussels.

Belgian waffles or liege waffles and other Belgian food

Belgium is known for its famous liege waffles, a type of waffle made from dough rather than batter. They are cooked in a rectangular-shaped cast iron mould called a liegeplank or “waffle iron” that makes large, thick, and crispy waffles with deep grooves.

The actual recipe has been kept secret for over 100 years, but what we know is that they are cooked in a special mould that gives the waffles a crispy crust and a moist interior. The sugar used is caramelized before being added to the dough, giving it a slight flavour of burnt sugar.

The famous Belgian beer culture 

Belgium is famous for its beer. The most popular beers in Belgium are Lambic, witbier (white beer), trappist beers and abbey beers. The best-known brands of Belgian beer are Stella Artois, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Jupiler, Duvel and Cristal Alken

There are hundreds of different beer glasses in Belgium, each for a different type of beer. The special design of the glass of beer helps the taste of the beer.

Drinks in a bottle are frowned on – a lesson I only have learned through experience. What I can only say is to never drink beer directly from the bottle except for pils which is well-known among Belgian beer drinkers.

According to Wikipedia, the average Belgian drinks 68 litres of beer, which went down from 200 litres drunk in 1900.

Famous Belgian Cities

Brussels 

Brussels is the capital and largest city of Belgium and one of the three official capitals of the European Union (with Rome and Frankfurt), as well as its seat of government, while it remains the country’s largest municipality.

The City of Brussels has a population of 1.2 million within its administrative boundaries. The metropolitan area, which includes the surrounding Dutch-speaking region, has a population of 2.3 million on an area of, including 19 municipalities in Flanders, with most fronting on the Brussels-Capital Region’s bilingual country boundary.

This city is home to all three EU institutions: the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Council, European Parliament.

Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union.

Antwerp

This is the biggest city in Belgium and is located in the northwest of the country. This popular port city has a population of more than 1 million people. Antwerp is home to one of Europe’s largest ports and has an impressive history, including being an important place for the slave trade.

Antwerp and Diamond trade

Antwerp has been a diamond capital since the 15th century. 60-800% of diamonds in the world are cut and sold in the city. The Flemish jeweller is well known for developing the scaif – a new way to polish the diamond. This is also the perfect place to find diamonds if you are actually on the market for some, particularly when we go for more about cut quality and clarity. They have the best price and quality ratio there, especially in the best cut and clarity, and the best place to buy diamonds is in Belgium.

Rochefort

A view worth seeing in Rochefort is the castle on the hill. This castle offers an impressive panorama of the city and its surroundings.

Bruges

Bruges is a medieval city in Belgium, and it’s known for its canals, historic buildings. It has also been renamed the “Venice of the North”. A lot of tourists love to visit the place because of its historical sites and architectural beauty. Bruges was founded by Vikings who built their settlement on an area already inhabited by hermits of Saint Andrew.

Belgium has one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Grand Place Brussels

The Grand Place, sometimes called De Grotemarkt, is flanked by finely preserved guildhalls and other grand buildings that showcase Belgium’s vernacular architecture at its finest.

A side of these houses is set in an ornate medieval townhouse that is a masterpiece of Gothic style. Grand Place has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site after representing an extraordinary representation of late 17th-time architecture. You will have the most beautiful view of the sky through the roof terrace at The Municipal House.

Every two years on the square, volunteers wave carpet a 7-by 24-meter flower carpet in different years comprising around 700,000 begonias.

World War I

The Belgian region of Flanders is best known for being the centre of the Western Front. Many of the largest battles of World War I occurred in the region. The Tyne Cot Cemetery is the biggest Commonwealth military cemetery in Europe. You may also attend The Last Post Ceremony, which takes place every single day at 8 a.m. in the evening at Menin Gate, Ypres. Around 12,000 remains are thought to have been there, and although it’s amazing, it’s extremely thought-provoking. The Flanders Fields museum is a great way to learn the history of Flanders. If you are interested in WW I, a stay in Flanders is absolutely necessary.

Belgians are crazy about football.

Belgium’s soccer has been nickname the Red Devils, and the entire country colours red whenever major football tournaments have been held. Football is the one thing that will unify all Belgians so as to leave only a few differences between them. People wear accessories that are associated with sports like football. Automobiles are decorated with flags, and Devil Horns and Belgian flags are seen across every window in the area.

in 2018 Belgium ended third in the FIFA World Cup

Belgians love to talk about the weather

Belgians are obsessed with the weather, so you always have someone who can discuss a subject on their chat. Contrary to popular beliefs, it doesn’t rain the whole time in Belgium, but the rain seems fairly frequent. So if you get the chance of meeting a local Belgian in person but want someone to start a conversation, say something about the weather.

Famous Belgian

  • Jacques Brel: French singer and songwriter with a Belgian father and Dutch mother
  • Maurice Maeterlinck: Belgium’s first Nobel laureate in literature. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1911 for his contribution to French theatre
  • Lambert Adolphe Quetelet – Belgian mathematician who invented the Body Mass Index
  • Robert Cailliau – Belgian computer scientist and the designer of the World Wide Web
  • Jean Claude van Damme: a famous actor known for his tough-guy roles and splits, who is half Belgian
  • René Magritte: a surrealist artist considered to be probably Belgium’s best-known painter
  • Audrey Hepburn: an actress that was born in Belgium and is one of Hollywood’s most well-known actresses
  • Herge – a former member of a socialist party who wrote about Tintin, a character that became very popular in Europe, Asia and Africa. The stories were sometimes banned in Russia for being “too imperialist.”

Comic books

Belgium is famous for comics. The most popular Belgian comics include Tintin and Snowy, Lucky Luke, the Smurfs and Marsupilami. . All of the major comics in Belgium are bilingually published regardless of what region these come from, and there are major differences between different comics in each region influence one another and the other.

Manneken Pis – Symbol of Brussels 

Manneken Pis is a symbol of Brussels. It’s a small figurine of a little boy peeing that has been standing in the same spot for hundreds of years, though it had been stolen few times. It’s a well-known icon for the city and it inspires many people to visit the city.

However, Pissing Boy is famous in Belgium it’s hard to see it as a European Landmark

Festivals in Belgium

In 2008, Belgium was named as the country with the most festivals per square mile. Some of these include

Couleur Cafe Festival- a combination of raving and live performances that is celebrated throughout many cities in Belgium

Tomorrowland Festival – big Electronic music festival

Carnaval De Binche – carnival which takes place on the weekend just before Ash Wednesday. this carnival dated back to the 14th century has a UNESCO World Heritage status  as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity 

Jazz Middelheim- a music event that displays live performances from musicians from around the world.

Facts about Belgium – summary 

By now, you know that Belgium is famous for chocolate, Belgian waffles, Belgian culture and some of the best music festivals

Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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