Belgium is a tiny country in Europe compare to some other big ones like Spain, Italy, Germany, France, U.K. But despite it’s size, this place has many things to offer including waffles, chocolates, diamonds, french fries, and many more countless things. No wonder this country is known as the “Essence of Europe“. I came across these facts on Belgium here and there. Most of them I experienced after being here for a while but some other facts I collected from various different places. eNjOy …
1) A country without Government: Yep, it is scary, but Belgium had no official government for close to 2 years now. No worries, everything is working just fine. The country is being run by a caretaker government.
2)Belgian Chocolates: Belgium produces around 220,000 tonnes of chocolate every year. That means, 22 kg of chocolate is consumed per person per year or 61 grams per day on an average. The world’s biggest chocolate selling point is Brussels National Airport (aha, not any Swiss airports. What does that tell you?)
3) The diamond capital: The world’s main diamond center and second largest petrochemical center is in Belgium. Almost 90% of raw diamonds in the world are negotiated, polished, and distributed in Antwerp, Belgium.
4) 3 official languages: Belgium has 3 official languages. Majority people speak Flemish, which is a local dialect of Dutch, then French is the 2nd most popular, finally very small percent of Belgians (may be 1%) speak German. Luckily, most of the locals can speak Flemish and French very well along with English in cities like Brussels, Brugges, Gent or Antwerpen…good for the expats.
5) Education Law: Education is compulsory in Belgium upto the age of 18, which is the highest in the world.
7) Royal Palace of Brussels: The Royal Palace of Brussels is 50% longer than Buckingham Palace.
8) Quality of Education: A 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Belgium as the best country for children’s education well-being.
9) Belgian Frites: Belgians should be given credit for their “French Fries“. It wasn’t France who came up with fries at the first place. Foreign soldiers in Belgium saw French speaking people eating/serving fries (“frites” is what we call here) and that’s where the “French Fries” name came from. Oh, one more thing, in Belgium fries are eaten with mayonnaise, not ketchup, which actually tastes wayyy better.
10) Belgian Waffles: There are 3 main sorts of Belgian waffles: Liege waffles, the most common ones and are eaten more like cookies, have small bites of sugar cyrtals in them. Brussels waffles, my favorite ones, are usually bigger, lighter, rectangular, and eaten with various toppings like fruits, ice cream, nutella. Galettes, haven’t tried this yet, are thinner, softer, and typically eaten for breakfast, sometimes with jam.
Along with the above facts, a Belgian – Adolphe Sax invented saxophone, the first printed newspaper was published in 1605 in Belgium, oil painting was invented here in the 15th century. One more thing I have to mention is that Belgium produces the highest number of comic books in the world (even more than Japan). Belgians are so crazy about comics books that the even have a museum dedicated to those comic lovers. One of the most famous comic hero is Tintin (remember him?), who was a Belgian…