25
Apr-2013

Why visiting Belgium ?

Belgium   /  
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In life you  need Waffles, beers & chocolate… What else ?

Although Belgium is one of the smallest countries in Europe, it has a lot to offer to visitors! At the heart of Europe, Belgium offers a variety of landscapes from the North Sea to the Ardennes forests. Come and discover its culinary specialties (fries, waffles and chocolate) and its beers, its beautiful cities, its culture of comics, folklore and the good humor of its inhabitants (the well-known Belgian humor).

What we know of Belgium abroad

  • Belgian beers (especially Leffe)
  • The beautiful town of Bruges
  • The Adventures of Tintin, our national hero and the Belgian comic strip with the most famous of them: the Smurfs, Le Chat, Spirou, Gaston…
  • Mussels and fries
  • Belgian chocolate
  • Belgian fries and fricandelles
  • Music festivals in the summer (Pukkelpop, Dour festival, Rock Werchter, … not to mention the Tomorrowland appointment of the biggest DJ)

The famous Belgian people

  • The surrealist painter René Magritte.
  • Comic strips drawers: the most famous is Hergé, creator of Tintin and Peyo with his little blue men (Smurfs).  But we can also mention Franquin (Gaston), Edgar P. Jacobs (Blake and Mortimer), Morris (Lucky Luke) or Willy Vandersteen (Bob and Bobette).
  • Writers: Inspector Maigret by Georges Simenon and Amélie Nothomb.
  • Musicians: Jacques Brel, Hoeverphonic, Keane, Stromae with the worldwide famous “Alors on danse”, Axelle Red or Lara Fabian.
  • Actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Poelvoorde, François Damiens, Cécile de France, Virginia Efira or Marie Gillain

LANGUAGES AND POLItic in belgium

Belgium is a small country. To cross the country from north to south, it’s only 300km and 6 hours in train.

Belgium has three official languages: French, Dutch (= Flemish) and German. In northern Belgium they speak Dutch, the south speak French and Brussels-capital speak both languages. German is spoken in the cantons of eastern Belgium (near Germany). Wallonia is the southern part of Belgium, the north is called Flanders.

Unfortunately, the country is known for its political crises and 194 days without a government in 2010-2011. Major problems exist between the north and south of the country, but they are essentially political. You just notice these tensions in the north when the Flemish do not want to talk French.

Typical Belgian parties

Want to know the real Belgian atmosphere ? Folklore is very important and still living in Belgium!

  • The Fêtes de Wallonie mid-September (in the cities of Namur, Liege and Brussels), where péket is drunk by the crowd in every streets and there is a lot of concerts. It is a huge event in Namur.
  • 24h Vélo Louvain-La-Neuve is the biggest student festival in Belgium. It takes place in October.
  • August 15 in Liege is also a place to drink peket!
  • The carnival of Binche, Eupen and Malmedy. In Binche, the most famous carnival festivities last for three days and only Gilles only come on the day of Mardi Gras to throw oranges in the public.

Belgian children celebrate St. Nicolas. December 6, Saint-Nicolas accompanied by Bogeyman and his donkey, brings gifts to all the children of the country. That day, children get a plate full of sweets, chocolates, biscuit and cougnoux.

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