The state of Belgium is quite the paradoxical one – despite being one of the more popular destinations of Europe, it remains an underrated one. A cornucopia of cultures, Belgium is a combination of three distinct linguistic-oriented regions – Brussels – the capital, the French-speaking Wallonia, and the Dutch-speaking Flanders. Wallonia is known for its deep involvement with folklore – and while its structures are decidedly Belgian, the touch of old French elegance remains. Flanders, on the other hand, boasts more natural features – while it does have its share of museums and monuments, it is largely occupied by countryside full of miles-worth of cycling paths and an extensive North Sea coastline.
One may think of Belgium as a land of moules-frites, chocolates, and of course, beer – but that is not all there is to it. Belgium has its own very contrasting history that has its roots in its varied culture. Belgian cities, such as Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges and of course the capital city of Brussels have every modern amenity available yet bears the marks of the country’s military legacy. They are not short on heritage either – these four cities combined alone host at least 60 UNESCO heritage sites
The definition of modern is quite quaint in Belgium – it is a common sight to see a skyscraper near a flea market, or a Michelin-starred restaurant near a “fritkot” chip stand. The best part is that these contrasting features live in the city in harmony like nothing you have ever seen. All in all, it can be said that Belgium is a city with many faces, but one heart.
Some facts about Belgium:
- Antwerp, the world’s diamond capital is located in Belgium. 84% of the all rough diamonds pass through here.
- Iconic Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels. Much like Belgium, she was fluent in six languages.
- At a rate of 220,000 tons of chocolate annually, Belgium is one of the largest producers of chocolate in the world.