• Mariella R

Belgium!

Have you ever wondered what life is like in a francophone country? In this series, you will explore a new location every week. Today, we'll take a look at Belgium.


Bonjour

That's hello in Belgium.

Bruges, a town in Belgium

Belgium has three national languages, but none of them is "Belgian." If you know any Walloon, you can speak it here. The Belgians love beer and invented chocolate and French fries, which really should be called "Belgian fries." Europe's first skyscraper was built here in 1932 and the lights of Belgium's highway system are the only man-made thing visible from the moon. From Lonely Planet's Not for Parents Travel Book.

Belgium occupies part of the Roman province of Belgica, named after the Belgae, a people of ancient Gaul. The area was conquered by Julius Caesar in 57–50 B.C., then was overrun by the Franks in the 5th century A.D. Brussels, the capital, is the capital of the European Union. Growing divisions between Flemings and Walloons, and devolution along linguistic lines, culminated in the revised constitution of 1994, which turned Belgium into a federal state with significant autonomy for its three regions and its three language “communities.” From Infoplease.


Fast facts

Capital: Brussels

Population: 11.46 million

Currency: Euro

Official languages: Dutch, French, German

Area: 30,528 square kilometres


Fun facts

  • Actor Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium.

  • Belgium holds the world record for the longest period without a government—589 days in 2010-2011.

  • Belgium produces more than 220,000 tons of chocolate per year.

  • Robert Cailliau, co-inventor of the World Wide Web, is a Belgian.

  • In the 1970s, light beer was served during school lunch.

  • The “Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels was written in Brussels.

From SpotAHome.


Belgian fries, called frites!

Doesn't this make you want to visit Belgium?!

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Québec!