Sandwiched between France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, Belgium is home to a unique patchwork of culture and history that goes far beyond the realms of fries, waffles, beer and chocolate. However, those are definitely good too. Whether you’re planning to visit sometime soon or are just curious, here are some interesting facts about Belgium.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Belgium
1. There is No “Belgian” Language
Belgium has three official languages, and none of them is referred to as “Belgian.” Depending on the region, people speak Dutch, French and German. Flemish; a dialect of Dutch is the main language in Flanders while in Wallonia they largely speak French; and the East Cantons are home to mainly German speakers.
2. Waffles Really are a Big Deal in Belgium
When it comes to fluffy waffles, Belgium has tens of different types of them. In fact, just one stroll in the supermarket and you’ll find over 30 types on average. The most popular types of waffles for are the Brussels waffles which are airy and more puffed; and Liege waffles that are thick and sugary.
3. Belgium is Home to Some of the Best Festivals in the World
When it comes to partying, Belgians know a thing or two. From Tomorrowland, Rock Werchter, I Love Techno and more, Belgium is home to some of the best music festivals worldwide. It’s not just music festivals, either. Partying of any kind is taken quite seriously here, and there are many traditional parades and festivals. Namely, the Aalst Carnival, the Cat Parade in Ypres and the Horse Bayard of Dendermonde every ten years. Simply put, there’s always something on in Belgium.
4. There is More Beer Here Than You Can Imagine
Most people know that Belgium has some pretty great beer but did you know that there are more than 1,000 types of beer brewed in Belgium? In a country roughly the size of Maryland, that’s saying something. If you plan to visit Brussels, be sure to check out Café Délirium which famously serves over 1,700 different Belgian beers.
5. Belgium’s Holiday Season is All About Sinterklaas.
In Belgium, the legend of Santa Claus is a bit different. He goes by Sinterklaas or Saint Nicholas, and instead of delivering all of the presents via sleigh and reindeer on Christmas Eve, he arrives by boat from Spain in around mid-November. Additionally, resents are delivered to all of the ‘good children’ on the 6th of December.
6. It’s Home to One of the World’s Smallest Cities
Belgium has plenty of famous cities to be proud of from Bruges, Ghent, Brussels and on. However, one interesting place takes the title for one of the world’s smallest. Durbuy, a town of just 500 people, prides itself on being ‘the smallest city in the world.’
7. The Saxophone Was Invented by a Belgian
Adolphe Sax, a man born in the small city of Dinant, invented the saxophone. He was a musical instrument designer who was famous for his wind instruments and created the saxophone in the 1840s. Today if you visit the small town you’ll see remnants of his memory everywhere in the form of saxophones.