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Belgium Pictures

Sandwiched between France and Holland, a drive through Europe will take you past this country which has parts of it that speak French (Wallonia and Brussels), Dutch (Flanders and Brussels), and German in the eastern vicinity of the kingdom. English is also used making it a fourth language spoken in the country, albeit unofficially.

 

Gastronomically, Belgium is known for its chocolates. Enjoyed all over the world, Belgian chocolates are the most expensive and of the highest grade. Belgium is rumored to have invented the fast food staple, French fries, used in another favorite dish, mussels and chips. Belgium is also known for its beer and waffles.

Belgium King Belgium Bruges Belgium Atomium

A federal state and a constitutional monarchy, Belgium is divided into 3 types of terrain: the northern part of the country, known as Low Belgium, is flat with a smattering small hills and sandy beaches. Middle Belgium, in the heart of the country, consists of rover valleys and rolling hills. High Belgium in the south rises more than two thousand feet above sea level in the Ardennes highlands.
The climate in Belgium varies as one goes inland. The area near the sea is mild and humid. It becomes warmer towards the center of the country. Hot summers and cold winters characterize the seasons in the region of Ardennes. The center of the country which is Brussels, rainfall throughout the year is spread evenly.
One of the most industrialized countries in Europe, Belgium has the advantage of being at the heart of the continent with excellent transport facilities. It is a major producer of steel and iron and it exports most of its output products all over the world. Belgium is also gaining importance in the service economy and has a secure place in the list of top tourist destinations.


The nation’s capital, Brussels (a city that speaks both Dutch and French), is home to the NATO headquarters and several other European institutions. The city also hosts several conventions and exhibitions throughout the year.


Belgium is also famous in history as the location of the Battle of Waterloo, the last great war waged against the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It is here in 1814 that Napoleon surrendered to the Duke of Wellington.

 
Belgium Brussels Eglise Saint Jacques sur Coudenberg Belgium Brussels Grand Place Grote Markt Belgium Brussels Manneken Pis

The name “Belgium” gets its name from an ancient Celtic tribe called the Belgae. Belgium had once been part of the Roman region of Galia Belgica or Belgian Gaul along with the Netherlands, northern France, and parts of Switzerland. When Mary of Burgundy, daughter or Charles the Bold (the last Burgundian ruler), married Maximilian I (from the Hapsburg family of Germany), all realms under Brugundian rule passed on to the Hapsburghs. Their grandson, Charles V, became emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and made Belgium (which had been part of the Netherlands) a sovereign state under Spain. When France went to war with Spain, several areas were taken over by that country. In the 18th century, Belgium had parts of it belonging to the Dutch and parts of it belonging to the French. Belgium gained independence in 1839 and has since been a neutral state, much like Switzerland.
Belgium is also known as the home of many great artists in the field of arts and literature. In the Middle Ages, Jean Froissart and Philippe de Comines both wrote in French and are counted among the finest writers of their generation. In 1911, Maurice Maeterlick, poet and playwright, won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Famous Belgians of the Renaissance period include the Flemish painters Jan and Hubert van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and Hieronymous Bosch, all known for their outstanding contributions in the visual arts. 17th century painters Anthony Van Dyck, and Rubens are considered to be the greatest of the Flemish painters. Rene Magritte, James Ensor, and Paul Delvaux head the 20th century Belgian artists.

Belgium Brussels Parks Belgium Brussels Spirit of Europe
Belgium Brussels Royal Palace

Cosmopolitan yet low-key, Belgium is a country of connaisseurs and expensive taste. Lying in the heart of Europe, several neighboring countries have tried to lay claim to some portions of it as exemplified in the Spanish, Dutch, Austrian, and French architectural influences in the country’s landscape and habits of its citizens. Excellent examples of different styles of architecture from the Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau eras are scattered all over the country.

In the applied arts, one of the forefathers of the movement known as Art Nouveau is Victor Horta, a Belgian architect. Henry van de Velde has also made his mark in the field of modern architecture.A famous fictional character of Belgian nationality is British novelist Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. Many mistake him for being French because he comes from the French-speaking side of the country. But he will proudly say that he is “Belgian, not French”.

Belgium is a country rich in history, the arts, and culture. You have not been to Europe if you haven’t been to Belgium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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