Belgium, the land of chocolate, waffles, and beer, is a country rich in history, culture, and traditions. From its picturesque cities to its stunning countryside, there is much to discover about this small yet mighty nation.
Whether you’re a history buff or just curious, you’ll find something to love about Belgium. So let’s take a closer look and uncover fascinating facts about this charming country!
1-5 Interesting Facts About Belgium
1. In Belgium, you’re an automatic organ donor unless you say otherwise. Talk about a default setting with heart!
2. During WWI, the Belgian royal family rolled up their sleeves and got down to business – King Albert I led the defense, Queen Elisabeth served as a nurse, and even the 14-year-old Crown Prince enlisted in the infantry!
3. In 2009, a Belgian bodybuilding championship was upstaged by some uninvited guests – doping officials! All the competitors high-tailed it out of there, leaving the event canceled.
4. In Belgium, marriages are made to break, with a world-leading divorce rate of 70%. Ouch!
5. Beer lovers, take note – Trappist beers are brewed in monasteries in Belgium, and the profits go to charity. Cheers to a good cause!
6-10 Fun Facts About Belgium
6. Who says the Kings can’t take a day off? The former Catholic King of Belgium had himself declared “unable to rule” for a day just so a law legalizing abortion could pass without him having to sign it!
7. Belgium has a folk character that’ll make the naughty kids shiver – “The Whipping Father” accompanies St. Nicholas and beats misbehaving children with sticks, before bagging them up and taking them away. Yikes!
8. In 1978, when it became clear that Israel was going to win the Eurovision Song Contest, most Arabic countries took their ball and went home – including Jordan, who replaced the live broadcast with a picture of daffodils and claimed that Belgium had won.
9. Belgium has three official languages, and none of them is Belgian. Dutch (Flemish) is dominantly spoken in Flanders, French in Wallonia, and German in the eastern Liège province.
10. Did someone say feline mail carriers? In 1879, Belgium tried to deliver mail using cats, but it didn’t quite work out as planned.
11-15 Surprising Facts About Belgium
11. Thunder, explosives, and a single lucky cow. In 1955, a thunderstorm in Belgium set off 40,000 pounds of buried WW1 explosives, but only a single cow was harmed.
12. A win for Belgium! They beat Iraq for the world record for having no government for the longest time.
13. In the 1970s, Belgian schools served children beer!
14. The war just got a whole lot funnier. Upon discovering an abandoned printing press in Belgium during WW1, British soldiers started publishing satirical newspapers from the trenches.
15. Did you know that the beloved French fries originated in Belgium? But, due to a little linguistic mix-up during World War I, when American soldiers arrived in Belgium and tasted the delicious fried potatoes, they believed they were in France. And thus, the name “French fries” was born.
16-20 Awesome Facts About Belgium
16. In one town in Belgium, psychiatric patients live with local families instead of institutions, often for their entire lives.
17. Belgium is also a highly urbanized country, with 98% of the population living in cities and towns, one of the highest rates in the world.
18. If you’re a fan of medieval castles, you’ll love Belgium! It boasts having the highest number of castles per square mile in the world, with two per village.
19. The Belgian capital of Brussels is second only to New York City in terms of international presence. It’s home to 120 international governmental organizations, over 1,400 NGOs, and 180+ embassies that employ over 3,000 diplomats.
20. Finally, when it comes to beer, Belgians take their brews seriously. Every Belgian beer has its own, special glass. And locals are adamant about serving their favorite beers in the proper glass. Drinking a Belgian beer in the wrong glass is simply unthinkable!
That’s it for this post guys, I hope you had fun while reading 20 Interesting Belgium Facts that you should know.
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