10 Fun Facts About Belgium

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.

6) Heart of Europe: Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but also the capital of European Union (EU) and houses the headquarter of NATO. That’s why Brussels is called the “Heart of Europe”.

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…

94 Comments on “10 Fun Facts About Belgium

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    • I miss fresh Belgian waffles and its smell…for chocolates, at least I can find Belgian chocolate here and there. But then again, fresh Belgian chocolate is another world. Thanks for stopping by…cheers

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  2. Pingback: 9 Fun Facts About Paris | Journey Around The Globe

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  19. Belgian Frites is great. Belgium also has a lot (and I mean a LOT) different local beers. Deserves a place in the list;)

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    • For now, you can say its my country. But I will be gone may be next year back to my home sweet home in Portland, Oregon (USA) and will miss everything about Belgium 😦

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  20. On my way back to the old country this weekend for a road trip with my brother and girlfriend. One night in Bruges and another in Antwerp, home via Gent. Can’t wait!

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  21. Interesting article! I’m half-Belgian by descent and have been there quite a few times now. It’s a lovely little country and the food is great (I love kroketten and bitterballen, although I think they may be Dutch). Another interesting fact is that it is compulsory to vote in the Belgian elections, it is considered a federal offence to abstain.

    I hope you tried the beer there, there are so many different beers (mostly bottle conditioned) and each is served in its own glass. They really treat their beer like the French treat their wine!

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    • We actually drove to Lund and Malmo in Sweden after our visit to Legoland in Denmark couple weeks ago, it was fantastic. Belgium is a small country with large attitude… I am sure you will love Brussels if you decided to come here in the future

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    • Oh how wonderful, we’ve visited Vienna in couple months ago in April. My next post was going to be on Vienna actually. So many places to visit there. Thanks for stopping by.

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  22. Pingback: Capital of Diamond – Antwerp, Belgium « Journey Around The Globe

  23. you forgot Belgian beer, the Atomium. Oh my, when I was 8 or 9 years old, we went to see the Atomium and there were these, to me, amazing speaking trash cans in the form of a man and a woman. They kept saying “ici papier, papier ici” and my mom had to find trash to put in their mouths.

    sorry to rattle on. It’s just a fun memory for me and I guess you had to be there.

    Love your blog as well as frites with mayonnaise

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    • I love almost everything about Belgium, we have about a year and a half left here before going back to my home in Oregon. Until then enjoying every bit of it… Thx for visiting my blog btw

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  24. Pingback: Waterloo, Belgium – A place where Napoleon fought his last battle « Journey Around The Globe

  25. Appuuu…I’m so glad I found your blog! I was wondering if you had one cause you get to travel to so many cool places!! I hope I can visit you guys in Belgium..iA, until then…I’ll just read your posts and imagine myself there =D

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  26. Pingback: Pick Leopold’s for Chicago Restaurant Week 2012 | Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events

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