Travel Guides: Belgium
It is often said that Belgium is not a country, but a compromise. Belgium was created in 1830, when the Catholic provinces of the Netherlands which had won its independence, coming under the domination of Spain in the seventeenth century, were detached from the northern Calvinism.
Basically there are two nations, one who speaks Flemish in the north, and one who speaks French in the south. The two do not agree, especially since the balance of power went to the speakers of French, initially enriched from mines (the Walloons), to the Flemish and numerically superior recently enriched, who live in Antwerp, a city located on the Scheldt River, second largest port in Europe. To further complicate things, the city of Brussels is a French-speaking enclave in Flanders and a German minority lives along the border with Germany. Sometimes, in Brussels, rival linguistic groups steal in the middle of the night, street signs written in the unwanted language. Political compromise was achieved by appointing one of three prime ministers: Walloon, one Flemish and one Belgian.
Parochial disputes are numerous, but rarely degenerates irritability in violent events. With 66 ministers in government, political divisions determined based on language, you can imagine the bureaucratic nightmare that is the capital of Belgium. As if it was not enough, the city of Brussels was designated the capital of Europe; 25% of its residents are well-paid bureaucrats, from other countries. Most Belgians are friendly people, workers, characterized by a lack of dogmatism, strong opinions and an honest desire to earn good money with minimal effort. The Belgians have worked hard to achieve a Franco-German dream of a united Europe, and their Europeanization has contributed to their relative obscurity, compared to other nations.
However, Belgium, although small, was ranked in the top 20 global economies, ahead of countries such as Sweden, Austria, Turkey, Denmark and South Africa, not to mention the Asian tigers Singapore and Hong Kong. Belgium production equals that of Taiwan, an area of strength in exports (which has a double population). In terms of GDP per capita, Belgium ranks 14th in the world, ahead of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, ranked 12th in Human Development Index and is the seventh large trader in the world, accounting for 4% of total world exports. A great industrial power, Belgium is difficult to assess in terms of its cultural influence on Europe and the rest of the world.
The impact of its bi-culture is diminished by the fact that intense rivalry tends to neutralize the effect of both sides. There is no single national cultural profile of Belgium. Conflicting values can be described as follows: basic cultural factors of communication, communication models of language use in meetings and negotiations, behavior manners and taboos. How to get along with them: Prove them that you are aware that the Flemings are not the Dutch and the Walloons are not French. The main difference between the two groups is a problem on the basis of consensus decision-making style versus hierarchical, so you will have to adapt your approach accordingly. Belgians of both beliefs will seek in you certain qualities: pragmatism, profit orientation, flexibility, willingness to compromise, ability to respect the integrity and creativity of a small country.
Belgians are deep Europeans and expect from you to share a dose of enthusiasm to Europe (if you come from an EU country). Belgium denies cultural diversity of the reputation which has made it among the tourists that would simply be a better country just going through it. Administrative bodies of the European Union have added some cultural diversity, but the huge bureaucracy facing the country came together with an image problem of Eurocrats is hardly improved. Belgium is one of the Benelux countries. The country’s official name is the Kingdom of Belgium (Royaume de Belgique / Koninkrijk Belgie). It is located in Western Europe and is bordered by France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and North Sea. Belgium area is approximately 30,500 square meters. The territory of Belgium is divided geographically into three regions: the coastal plains in northwest, central plateau and highlands in the south-east of the Ardennes.
The difference between the top and below is not very big, just 694 meters (the lowest point is located at the North Sea and Belgium’s highest peak is Botrange height of 694 meters). Belgium is located in the temperate climate zone. In this country live about 10.35 million inhabitants, with a population density of 335 inhabitants per square kilometer. The average age of residents is 40.9 years. Most inhabitants are of Belgian nationality, which basically means they are either Flame (58%) or Walloons (31%). The rest of 11% is mixed population. Belgium has three official languages – Neerlandese, spoken by the Flam, French, spoken by Walloons and about 1% of the population speaks German. Regarding religion, Roman Catholics predominate (75%). The remaining 25% of the population is predominantly Protestant.
Belgium is a constitutional monarchy; form of government is democratic federal parliament. The capital city of Brussels has almost one million inhabitants. Belgium is divided administratively into 10 provinces and three regions (Brussels, Flanders and Walloon). Based on the 1993 revision, there are currently in Belgium three levels of government: federal, regional and linguistic communities of the four government-and-sharing between the duties and responsibilities. Belgium is considered the crossroads of Western Europe and Brussels is only 1,000 km away from all the older capitals of Western Europe. The European Union and NATO have here their headquarters. It gained independence on 4 October 1830 when the then government of Belgium declared independence from the Netherlands. In 1831 came to the throne King Leopold I.
Belgium has a modern economy based on private enterprises that mainly benefit from the country’s central geographical position, well developed transport infrastructure and industrial base and economic well-knit in the country. Most industrial units are concentrated in the populous region of Flanders in the north. Because Belgium has few natural resources, it imports most of the raw materials and exports many products; it is dependent on the situation on world markets. In 2002 it joined the European Monetary Union. The most developed industries are: mining machinery, metallurgy, machine building industry, transport, food, chemical, textile, glass and petroleum industries.
In the agriculture should be mentioned sugar beets, fruits and vegetables, cereals, tobacco, beef and pork and milk. It is one of the founding members of the European Union and hosts the majority of institutions and other major international institutions, including NATO. Belgium is situated on the border that divides Europe from Germanic and Latin Europe and the two main regions of the country marks this. Linguistic diversity and its associated political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and complex system of government. The name “Belgium” is derived from the Roman province of Gallia Belgica, located in the far north of Gaul, inhabited primarily by Belgium people, a mixture of Celtic and Germanic peoples.
They are mentioned by Julius Caesar in Commentaries by Bello Gallico, naming them as the most powerful of the Gaul: “Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgæ“. Various nations and cultures have occupied the territory of Belgium today, the Celts and Romans to the French and Dutch. The region was incorporated into the Roman Empire in Gaul during Caesar’s campaign. After waves of migration from the fifth century the region became the center of the Carolingian Empire and after dismantling its feudal states gradually emerged in the region are united in the Burgundian Netherlands. During the reign of Charles V the territory occupied the current Benelux. Until the eighteenth century the southern Netherlands under Spanish rule and then the Habsburg and in 1795, are incorporated in the First French Republic.
The collapse of the Napoleonic Empire current territory of Belgium and Luxembourg are attached to a new state, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, a kingdom led by a Protestant Dutch king. In 1830 a revolt broke out against the regime will lead to the independence of Belgium. To prevent its entry under the domination of France, the Great Powers decided to establish a third king, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, came from a family of German princes. Belgium imposes its policy of neutrality, the failed policy of the belligerent powers in the two world wars. In 1949, in the new global context, Belgium decided to end this policy and is one of the founding members of NATO.
It also participates actively in the Benelux economic union and is also one of the founding members of the European Union. Belgium is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. Particular historical context meant that the organization is very complex in Belgian politics. In the nineteenth century, political and economic elite of mostly French throughout the country has systematically neglected the Flemish population. Flemish emancipation movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century appeared to counter this situation. At the end of World War II the Neerlandofone and francophone communities marked the state policy by trends of autonomy. Tensions have increased and intra-state drive has come to be called into question.
Since the 1970s a series of institutional reforms have transformed the unitary state into a federal state with three levels of government to ensure a compromise that minimizes tensions in terms of linguistic, cultural and economic. Head of State is the King but he has reduced powers. He appoints the prime minister, but he must have the support of the parliament. The prime minister is head of the federal government, consisting of an equal number of ministers, francophone and neerlandofone. The legal system is based on civil law, which has its origins in the Napoleonic Code. Court of Cassation is the highest level of judicial hierarchy, situated on a higher level than the Court of Appeal. Federal Parliament is bicameral consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives.
The first consists of 40 elected members, 21 community representatives and 10 members co-opted. Major members of the royal family on the list of succession to the throne are senators by right. The lower house is composed of 150 representatives elected in 11 electoral districts by proportional vote. Since Belgium is one of the few countries with compulsory voting, is the country with one of the largest turnout. Since the 1970s in Belgium there are no national political parties that are dividing them to represent the political interests and cultural communities. The main parties in each community are three political important groups: Liberalism the right (Flemings Liberals and Democrats (VLD) in Flanders and the reform movement of Belgium (MR) in Wallonia), Christian Democrats Conservative Party (Flemish Christian Democrats (CD & V) and Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH)) and the leftist Social Democrats (Socialist Party – Different (Sp.a) and the Socialist Party (SP)).
A number of parties were able to obtain a significant representation from the last half of the century on nationalist themes, language and environment. The series of Christian-democratic governments started in 1958 was discontinued in 1999 following a major scandal of dioxin contamination. A coalition of Liberals, Social Democrats and Greens was formed under the leadership of Guy Verhofstadt, who until 2007 managed to implement a series of important reforms; he maintained a balanced budget and planned a withdrawal from nuclear energy. Internationally, the government had a policy of active diplomacy in Africa and opposed the Iraq War. In June 2007 the government coalition lost the election, marking the start of a major political crisis.
In December 2007 was made a compromise that meant the formation of a provisional government headed by former prime minister, the government has made the transition (on 23 March 2007) to a government formed by the Flemish Christian Democrat Yves Leterme. Since December 2008, Prime Minister is Herman Van Rompuy. In addition to the federal constitution as revised in 1993, Belgium still has two levels of federal administration: three language communities: Flemish Community of Belgium, French Community of Belgium, German-speaking Community of Belgium; 3 areas:
Flanders, subdivided into five provinces: Antwerp, Limburg, East Flanders, West Flanders, Flemish Brabant; Walloon, subdivided into five provinces: Walloon Brabant, Namur, Liège, Hainaut, Luxembourg; Brussels – Capital Region.
Each community and region has its own legislative assembly and government. Brussels Capital Region is officially bilingual, both major communities exercising their authority on its territory, for there is a common community issues Common Community Commission. Different visions of the two major communities are reflected in the structure of particular federal official institutions. The Flemish Community and Region have merged, while the French community was limited to the transfer of powers to the regions. For this reason, the administrative system is asymmetric, equivalent institutions in different regions having the same power. Conflicts between different institutional structures of federal bodies are resolved by the Constitutional Court of Belgium.
Provinces and Brussels-Capital Region are subdivided into communes. Excluding the 19 municipalities of the Capital Region who are bilingual French-of Netherlands, the municipalities in the two regions have a single official language, language that takes common community. Of these 27 are common features common to a range of public services are offered in another language than the language of the village. In terms of territorial organization of the electoral courts, municipalities are grouped into districts. The federal government retains authority over common issues: justice, defense, federal police, nuclear energy, monetary policy, debt, social security and controls a large share of public finance, healthcare and international politics.
Post and Railway Company are state-owned national companies, which are the responsibility of the federal government. The federal government is responsible for the obligations of Belgium in the EU and NATO. Communities exercise their authority within a territory defined by borders of language. Originally these powers were linked to linguistic issues: education, culture, mass media and language use. Gradually these have been transferred to other jurisdictions that are not directly related to language issues: health (medical and preventive), social (youth protection, aid to families, immigrant assistance services, etc.). Regions have authority in matters of territory. These include economy, agriculture, public works, energy, transport, water management policy, the environment, housing, urban and regional planning, nature conservation and foreign trade. Regions supervise the provinces, communes and inter-communal utility companies.
Belgian territory has an area of 30,528 km ² and is divided in three geographical regions: the coastal plain in north-west, central plateau and the highlands of the Ardennes of south-east. Following the example of the Netherlands, the coastal plain has furnished polders which allowed the recovery of territories in the North Sea, but their percentage is very small. Central Plateau is a fertile valley and the rocky highlands are a forested valley which lies to the north of France. Herein lies the Botrange Signal, the country’s highest point, rising from 694 meters above sea level. The main rivers are the Scheldt and the Meuse.
The climate is temperate with strong maritime influence, with significant precipitation throughout the year. Average monthly temperatures vary between 3 ° C in January and 18 ° C in July and average rainfall varies between 51 mm and 78 mm in February and July. Belgium’s economy and infrastructure are highly integrated with Western Europe. Belgium is located in the center of a highly industrialized region, which it reserves a place among the top ten countries in international trade. The economy is characterized by a highly productive workforce, a high GDP and important exports. The main import products are: food, industrial equipment, petroleum and chemical products, rough diamonds, textiles and clothing and accessories. The principal exports are automobiles, food, steel, petroleum products, plastics, textiles and finished diamonds.
The economy is heavily oriented towards the service sector, but significant regional differences between Flanders, the region’s most dynamic, and Wallonia, a region located in the postindustrial period affected by the decommissioning of traditional industries. As one of the founding members of the European Union, Belgium supports the European economic integration and open economy policy. In 1999, Belgium adopted the euro, which replaced the Belgian franc in 2002. Since 1922 Belgium and Luxembourg formed a common economic area and in 1944 these countries are part of the Benelux Economic Zone. Belgium was the first country in mainland Europe which has gone through a period of industrial revolution in the early nineteenth century.
By mid-century mining and metallurgical in the Walloon region around the town of Liège and Charleroi grew strongly, while Flanders has remained predominantly an agricultural region. After the Second World War, Ghent and Antwerp were developed with the petrochemical industry and port activities. The 1970s were a period of recession due to oil crisis and the decline of the steel industry. Liberal economic policy in Flanders has moved north of the country’s economic center, which is currently concentrated in the region of Brussels-Antwerp-Ghent-Louvain. Between 1990 and 2009, Belgium received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of 830 billion dollars. In 2009, foreign direct investment in Belgium was 33.7 billion dollars from 110 billion in 2008.
Belgium is very well connected to West-European transport networks. It features over 3,500 km of track of which about 3,000 km are electrified. The national railway company is Belgian National Railway Company, providing most of rail links. Due to high population density, the frequency of trains is high and low transport cost. International services are performed either with InterCity trains to Amsterdam, Strasbourg or Zurich, or through high-speed trains to Paris, London, Cologne, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Marseilles, Bordeaux. Urban and interurban transport lies with the regions, there are three transport companies De Lijn for Flanders, Wallonia and the TEC region STIB / MIVB Brussels-Capital Region.
Brussels is the only city that has a subway system, easy transport and tram systems existing in Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi and Ghent. Belgian coastal tram is a tram line code that works along the entire Belgian coast from the border with France to the border with Holland. Belgium has more than 149,000 km of roads arranged in which over 1,700 km of motorways. Large crowds have one or more ring roads. Highways are marked with the letter “A” and follow the European road routes, seat belts are called “ring” and are marked with the letter “R” and national roads are marked with the letter “N”. The port of Antwerp is one of the largest ports in the world. It is situated on the river Scheldt estuary and is a major inter-modal hub. Other seaports are port Bruges located in Zebrugge, Ghent port and port Ostend.
Belgium has over 2,000 km of navigable channels of which 1,500 km are currently in use. The main inland ports are those of Brussels and Liège. Belgium has one of the most densely populated territories in Europe, 97% of the population living in urban areas. Population density, 342 inhabitants / km ², is the second in Europe after the Netherlands. In 2004, 92% of the population and 6% were Belgian citizens were citizens of other EU states. In 2007 the Flemish population was 6,117,440 inhabitants having Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges as the most populated cities, the Walloon Region was 3,435,879 inhabitants in Charleroi, Liège and Namur as the most populated cities, and the Brussels Region was 1,031,215 inhabitants, of which two of the 19 municipalities had over 100,000 inhabitants.
Both Neerlandese and French spoken in Belgium have minor differences in vocabulary and semantic nuances of the languages spoken in the Netherlands to France respectively. Many local Flemish use current Flemish in the local environment. Walloon language, the main regional language of Wallonia is currently understood and spoken by a small percentage of the general population of older persons. Its dialects and other traditional dialects in Wallonia are currently used in public life. There are no recent official statistics on the use of three official languages or their dialects. Estimates of the number of speakers estimated Neerlandese, their percentage is from 57% to 60% of French people are approximately 40% -43% and the German-speaking people is around 75,000 people per 1% of the population.
Catholicism was one of the main reasons for the independence of Belgium and has played an important role in history. Royal Institute continues to maintain a strong Catholic reputation. However the state is a secular state with a secular constitution that provides for freedom of religion. Officially recognized religions are subsidized, they are, in order subsidies: Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism, Judaism, Orthodoxy and Anglicanism. In 2007, Buddhism has made first steps towards official recognition. Belgian cultural life has tended to take place in every community. Since the 1970s there is no bilingual university except the Royal Military Academy, or mass media. No cultural institution or scientific organization represents both communities.
Despite political and linguistic divisions that have often changed over the centuries, the region corresponding to present Belgium has seen the development of many artistic movements that had a strong impact on European culture. In medieval times the contributions in the field of painting and architecture were very important. Early Dutch painting, Flemish painting and Baroque architecture and numerous examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque were important moments in art history. Flemish tapestries were also highly valued and sought after by nobility throughout Europe until the eighteenth century. Many famous artists have lived in territory of present Belgium: Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens and Antoon van Dyck.
In the nineteenth and twentieth century there were some major Belgian romantic painters, expressionist and surrealistic as Wappers Egide, Constant Permeke or René Magritte. In architecture Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde were among the main promoters of Art Nouveau style. Among the best known writers can be remembered Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren and novelists Hendrik Conscience, Georges Simenon, Suzanne Lilar and Amélie Nothomb. In 1911, poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Adventures of Tintin comic books by Hergé is the best known Belgian comic strip, but many other authors, Peyo, André Franquin, Edgar P. Jacobs, Marc and Willy Vandersteen Sleen made the Belgian comic industry to be regarded as important as the U.S. or Japan.
Since the beginning of the modern era many personalities have made important contributions to science and technology. The most important are explorer Gerardus Mercator, anatomist Andreas Vesalius, Herbalist and mathematician Simon Stevin and Dodoens Rembert. The region has contributed to numerous technological developments in mining and metallurgical industry. During the most recent chemist and engineer Ernest Solvay process Solvay developed Zenobia Gramme dynamo Gramme respectively, and physicist Georges Lemaitre proposed the Big Bang. On numerous occasions the Nobel Prize was awarded to Belgian scientists: medical Jules Bordet in 1919, Corneille Heymans in 1938′s and in 1974, Albert Claude and Christian de Duve – together with the Romanian-born American scientist George Emil Palade – and for chemistry in 1977 to Ilya Prigogine.
Football and cycling are popular sports among the Belgians. Eddy Merckx is considered to be the greatest cyclist of all time. Jupiler League football is the most important football competition and the clubs such as CSR Anderlecht have often had major successes in Europe. In recent years two Belgian tennis players had important successes, each is ranked first in the WTA rankings, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin. Spa-Francorchamps circuit hosts the Belgian Grand Prix Formula 1 calendar competition. Belgian driver Jacky Ickx won eight major awards and has twice finished second in the Formula 1 World Championship. Thierry Boutsen is another Belgian pilot who won three races in 1989 and 1990.
In 1920 the Antwerp city hosted the Summer Olympics, in 2000 Belgium with the Netherlands hosted the European Football Championship and the Benelux and has applied to host the 2018 edition of the World Cup. Belgium is known internationally for its gastronomic specialties. Many restaurants can be found in Belgian, important gastronomic guides such as Michelin Guide. Gofrels, French fries and mussels are among the most famous Belgian specialties, but there are many local specialties. Belgium is famous for its chocolate produced here and many local brands became well known internationally.
Belgium is also known for the more than 500 specialty beers. Belgian Beer contains one of the largest varieties of quality beer in the world, from brown to pale ale and the famous Trappist beers and Lamb. Belgian beer origins are in the Middle Ages when monasteries produced for own consumption and later as a way to round off the income. Although beer production is now dominated by Inbev and Alken Maes international corporations, there are still about 125 independent breweries across the country. UNESCO World Heritage List included the following facilities in Belgium: Ensemble “Béguinages flamands” (1998); Central Square (Grote Markt / Grand ‘Place), Brussels (1998); “Canal du Centre” (1998); tall clock towers (Beffrois, Belfriede) (1995, 2005); Career Neolithic flint (flint) from Spiennes (Mons) (2000); Cathedral of Tournai (2000); The historic center of Bruges / Brügge (2000); Museum Plantin-Moretus (2005).
Belgium, though it is a small country, is rich in medieval towns, Gothic cathedrals and ancient castles. Also, we should not forget that it the land of chocolate, diamonds and beer. So we can say that is the place that meets all the requirements of a demanding tourist. In Belgium, you can spend a few days admiring the architecture of cities and many kinds of chocolate tasting. Brussels will attract attention primarily through the famous Grand-Place (the social center of town), where you will find the famous Hotel de Ville, one of the most beautiful in Europe, which is has great night light. In summer, the market is occupied by sellers of flowers (every two years in August, “flower carpet” covering the pavement for several days makes it a unique market in the world), and winter in this place, an ice rink opens which is the meeting place of young people.
Grand-Place is located in chic terrace, where you can shoot a beer-sipping soul traditional appreciated worldwide. Within walking distance of Grand Place is located Manneken Pis symbol statue, where you have to take a picture. For this you have to wait some time because the crowd is big. After making the picture in question, take a break and enter one of the chocolate stores near the statue. Here you can enjoy the chocolate fountain. Take home a few boxes of pralines (they would be the most appropriate souvenir from here). In Brussels you can visit: the Basilica of Sacre Coeur (which offers a stunning beauty), the Palace of Justice, the Royal Palace and Parliament are all symbols of this cosmopolitan capital.
On the Heysel Plateau visit Mini-Europe Atomium, a park with miniatures that are just below the Atomium. Here, all European Union countries are represented by models of buildings representative of each country. Belgian Comic Centre is a place for adults and for their children. The center is located in a restored building since 1903. In the center you can meet a rocket colored white and red, in which Tintin and Snowy are said to have flown to the moon, long before Armstrong and Aldrin. As we venture into the rest of the center, meet “personalities” such as Tintin, Asterix, Thorgal, Lucky Luke, the Smurfs, Charlie Brown, Andy CAPP, and WISKA Suskind, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and many others. The price is 6.25 euros for adults, 5 euros for students and pensioners, and 2.50 euros for children under 12 years.
Do not forget to allocate at least one day for shopping. You can go to Saint-Hubert Galleries where there are luxury stores, and vast libraries. Here, between rounds of shopping you can enjoy a tea in one of the tea salons. Then, you can go and giant shopping mall “City 2″, in stores on the boulevard Adolph Max or Grand-Sablon Square, where there are numerous antique shops and art galleries. One afternoon, after you’ve seen the whole city and before leaving for the northern country, you can make a trip to Waterloo, where you can admire the monument erected in memory of Napoleon (monument Le Lyon and the museum dedicated to the battle).
Antwerp, “Diamond City”, is the second largest city of Belgium, a major port and at the same time, Antwerp is a historical city, where lived many artists and painters (such as Van Dyck and Rubens). Here you can visit the Rubens House, the Cathedral (the largest in Belgium, found in a market where you can take a train that will ride through the city). From Antwerp, head to Bruges, but be sure to stop even for a few hours in Ghent, “The Medieval Town.” Flanders in the northern city of Bruges boasts the most beautiful in Belgium, famous for its canals. Bruges city will enchant you with its great beauty, being called “Venice of the North”, a beauty that you will find both on a walk, and a wonderful boat ride.
The city of Bruges has a charm, stroll along the canals revealing lovely views, and so do not forget your camera. A double room in a 3 stars hotel in Bruges costs about 120 euros / night and in Antwerp around 100 euros / night with breakfast included. In Bruges, you must get to the Museum of Diamonds or a diamond processing workshop, Diamond House, where, at certain hours, you can watch a demonstration of diamond grinding (the museum is only one hour a day). Diamond grinding was and is one of Belgium’s major industries. The Belgians have a famous technique of diamond polishing (diamond polishing powder, which is said to have been invented by Lodewijk van Berquem around the year 1450).
Prices for “Diamond Museum” are: for the exhibition, 5 euros for adults, 2.50 euros for students or minors. Museum / diamond polishing demonstration: 7.50 euro 6.20 euro for adults and students or minors. In Bruges you have to go to Groeninge that is one of the most famous museums in Belgium. Inside is a selection of fine arts and also a complete collection of paintings from the Netherlands, dating from the XV-XX centuries. Prices for visiting this museum are: adults – 8 euro, children under 13 years old – free. We recommend you end your day in a family of famous brasseries (“Beer House”) of the brewery, where you will be explained the technical processing and hops will show you step by step stages of brewing.
At the end of the visit you will taste a brew Enterprise included in the price (3.75 euros and what you want, for a fee). Belgian cuisine will win the first time. During the days spent in different regions of the country you can taste different seafood specialties, delicious mussels in many ways, maatjes (herring) and chips, and for dessert, you will serve famous Brussels gaufres. Belgium is beloved by the beauty of cities, the amazing sights, but especially the hospitality of the people who are aware they live in the cultural center of Europe. Belgium is an ideal country for the tourist who is interested in Europe because here all the attractions found in a specifically European focus, and can admire a lot in a short time because Belgium is a small country.
Still quite unknown by tourists, Belgium is a country candidate to become a nice destination, with its cultural wealth and heritage first. The entire country is carefully preserved on architectural wealth, inherited from the Middle Ages, one of the most prosperous periods. Bruges, the medieval city, the city of Brussels of modern art, they are key witnesses. Country “payment”, as Jacques Brel said in his songs, has kept its ancient traditions, many of chance. Folk celebrations, such as the Grand, guarded religious life and the Belgians during a calendar year.
Country of origin of several artists, Belgium hosts a number of museums and monuments, the artistic impressions of this series. Who has not visited at least once a country that is bathed in the works of ancient art, Renaissance paintings of the current, but also the wealth of modern art or art décor needs to know that one advantage is the animated film and the streets of cities neighborhoods. Although it can be said that the main attraction of the country would be celebrating Mannehen Pis statue, where every tourist does not hesitate to photo it in his various costumes, and Central Square in Brussels, a nice place to drink your coffee or get a table in the intimate to the most beautiful baroque buildings of various guilds, and the other places should not be missed.
Belgium produces over 172,000 tons of chocolate per year in over 2130 stores in the area. Cocoa is used as natural ingredient and no artificial substitutes. There are over 400 types of beer, from the white to that of berries. There are more castles per square km than any other country in the world. Some defensive wall trenches with water, others have labyrinth garden shrubs to wander through. Saxophone was invented in Belgium by Adolph Sax in 1846. Throughout the year several jazz festivals show love for this type of music.
King House, despite its name is not and never was a royal residence. It currently houses the town museum, where we can see pieces of porcelain, paintings and an impressive collection of famous Gothic sculptures. Manneke Pis, is a symbol of the city, embodying a boy urinating into a well. Because his nudity, visitors of the city began to offer gifts to have vestments and currently there are over 500 costumes. Other major attractions of the city are the Cathedral of St. Michael and Gabriel, Place Royal, Grand Sablon, Musical Instruments Museum and Art sinusoidal.
Gent, the Flemish part of the country’s capital, built in Gothic and Renaissance is crossed by the rivers Leie and Lieve. The old port city is Graselei, many buildings being located here with impressive architecture. Provincial capital, Oost-Vlaanderen, is where the first university was founded in Flemish Belgium. The most beautiful part of town is the St. Michael’s Bridge, Saint-Michielsburg, where the three towers of the medieval city are. Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe. The city has an impressive architecture with Art Nouveau buildings or neo-Renaissance and medieval castles. Here is the most impressive Gothic cathedral in Belgium, an area of 1 ha, with a belfry 123 meters high and 48 support columns.
Predominantly Roman Catholic religion, almost every street corner there is a statue of lads with each child. In Antwerp is the house where lived the famous painter Rubens, rebuilt on the original drawings, and now keeps a few pieces of art and works of his followers. Waterloo is recognized around the world, this is the place where Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington, was then removed from the throne of France. Every five years, the battle is commemorated by a reconstruction in which over 200 soldiers participate. Belgium is the perfect place for skiing enthusiasts, its principal place of practice is the Ardennes, a place where all major activities during the summer become mountain biking or canoeing. Medieval towns, castles with architecture and Flemish art collections, impressive gardens and canals in Belgium make the perfect destination to spend the holidays.
Belgium has something special, whether it’s friendly people, with three official languages, converse easily in English, impressive architecture and the cuisine offered by a variety of appealing restaurants. Full of energy and carefree atmosphere of this country is contagious and everyone is invited to enjoy life to the fullest. Located between France and the Netherlands, Belgium contains everything offered better in Europe: in a single day you can make a romantic cruise on a canal in Bruges, you can search for diamonds in Antwerp, enjoy waffles on the beach in Oostende, you can have fun at a festival in Binche, you can lose in a castle in Namur, or you can explore the art museum in Brussels. The railway network will make travel easy and comfortable.