Often referred to as the ‘Essence of Europe’, Belgium is a wonderful place to visit. It is known for its capital city Brussels, beer, chocolates, waffles and numerous castles. Bounded by France, Netherlands and the North Sea, Belgium was originally only a part of a kingdom established by King Clovis. Officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica, this country served as a battlefield over the years. The official languages spoken here are Dutch, German and French, though the friendly people of Belgium try their level best to speak English with every tourist and try to help as much as they can! Belgium is one of the most densely populated countries of the world, with the population density similar to that of countries like Japan, India, England, etc. Not many people know much about Belgium. Check out some interesting and fun facts about Belgium.
Image: Jim Linwood@flickr
Area: 30,528 km2
Population: 11,041,266 9 (2012 estimate)
Official Languages: Dutch, French and German
Calling Code: 32
Type Of Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Interesting & Fun Facts About Belgium
- Belgium produces 220,000 tonnes of chocolate every year. When calculated, per person consumption comes to 22 kg of chocolate annually, or 61 grams per day on an average. The world's biggest chocolate selling point is the Brussels National Airport.
- Euthanasia and gay marriages have been legalized in Belgium since 2002 and 2003, respectively.
- The world's first country to ban cluster bombs was Belgium and it was also the second country in the world to ban forced marriages in the year 2006. Forced marriages could lead to a heavy fine and imprisonment.
- The highest proportion of female ministers in the world is in Belgium and this country also has the credit for being one of the earliest countries to have a female Parliamentarian, way back in 1921.
- Education is compulsory in Belgium upto the age of 18, which makes it the highest in the world and also one of the rare countries to have such a law.
- The only man-made structure visible from the moon is the Belgian motorway system, which is visible as a small glittering spot due to the lights all along the motorway network.
- Belgians are fond of keeping pets and almost half of Belgian households have at least a single pet. For 10 million people, domestic dogs and cats mount to 2 million and above.
- After US, Belgians are the most enthusiastic collectors of discount coupons in the world.
- The highest density of collectors of various art forms is in Belgium. In fact, the oil painting was invented in the 15th century by famous Belgian painters.
- The world’s main diamond centre and second largest petrochemical center is Belgium. Almost 90% of raw diamonds in the world are negotiated and distributed in Antwerp.
- The saxophone was invented in Belgium by a Belgian named Adolphe Sax.
- Belgium is the producer of the highest assortment of bricks in the world.
- The first Neanderthal skulls were discovered in Belgium in 1829.
- The Royal Palace of Brussels is one of the most beautiful structures in the world and is much larger than the Buckingham Palace in U.K.
- The cramique, gozettes, cougnou and tarts are the special pastries of Belgium.
- Over 800 types of beers are made in this country and what’s more, the first beer academy in the world was established in Belgium in 1999. The graduates obtain the ‘Masters of Beer’ diplomas from this academy.
- About 150 liters of beer is consumed by one Belgian per year.
- French fries or Belgium frites originated in Belgium and not in France and these are consumed with mayonnaise.
- Brussel sprouts originated in Belgium.
- The largest number of comic books are produced in Belgium.
- Durbury in Belgium is the smallest town in the world.
- The first lottery in history was organized in Belgium as a means to raise income for the poor.
- During the 17th century, a Belgian town named Spa was known for its splendid healing waters. Thus, spas first began in Belgium.