50 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Belgium | Amazing Facts 4U
Land & Geography
- The official name of Belgium is the Kingdom of Belgium.
- Belgium shares a land border with 4 countries including France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
- Belgium has a population of 10.5 million people. Covering an area of just 30,528 km² (11,787 mi²), Belgium is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Belgium is the world’s 3rd country with the most vehicles per square kilometres after the Netherlands and Japan. It has the highest density of roads and the highest density of railroads in the world.
- The largest city and capital of Belgium is Brussels. The city has a population of 1.2 million is home to the NATO headquarters.
- Brussels, Belgium is in fact the capital of the European Union being a centralized location and also due to the neutrality that Belgium is known for.
- Charles Martel (686-741) saved Europe from islamization by defeating the invading Muslims at the Battle of Poitiers in 732.
- It was a Belgian that actually founded New York City in the late 1400’s.
- Oil paints for painting were first developed in Belgium in the 15th century. Many such famous paintings can still be seen in many of the museums, legislative buildings and other historical locations all around Belgium. Belgium has the highest density of art collectors of any country.
Places / Architecture
- The Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps is the longest and the second oldest F1 Grand Prix circuit still in use First Grand Prix was held in 1924, two years after it started in Italy.
- The town of Spa in Belgium is where the word ‘spa’ comes from. People as far back as ancient Roman times used to come to the town to bathe in the famed cold springs for health and healing purposes.
- Europe’s first casino, “la Redoute”, opened in 1763 in Spa.
- Brussels’ Royal Palace is in fact bigger than Buckingham Palace. It has a façade 50% longer.
- The Belgium motorway is the prominent manmade object on earth that can be seen clearly from the moon. (At night, due to the lights all along the motorway).
- The longest tramway line in the world is the Belgian coast tram (68 km), which opened in 1885 and operates between De Panne and Knokke Heist, from the French border to the Dutch border.
People Customs & Culture
- Nearly all Belgians live in cities, the country has an urban population of amazing 97%.
- There are three official languages in Belgium. Dutch, spoken by just under 60% of the population , French spoken by around 40% of the population and German spoken by a small group.
- Belgium is known around the world as the Essence of Europe Because of the savory food, beer and desserts it creates. These recipes have been passed down for hundreds of years.
- Education in Belgium is a top priority it is in fact mandatory for all citizens under 18 to finish school. This has provided Belgium many opportunities in high tech fields.
- Belgium has the highest rates of ecstasy use in the world over 25 million tablets were consumed.
- When eating at the restaurant with a large group of friends or colleagues, it is common to find that you don’t split the bill equally and expect everyone to pay only for what they ordered, even if it takes time.
- People are suspicious of people smiling at you in the street or being overly friendly for no reason.
- In Belgium it is a struggle to make progress in French or Dutch since every time you try to practice with locals they reply to you in fluent English.
- Shops may be closed by 6 pm and you may be driven out by 5.45 pm even if you intend to buy.
- You are not required to tip in restaurants or cafés because it’s included in the bill by law.
- The country legalized female partisan in the clergy in 1921 one of the first countries to allow it in the world. It was one of the earliest country to have a female parliamentarian in 1921.
- Belgium is one of the few countries worldwide with compulsory voting which is enforced.
- The Law Courts of Brussels is the largest court of justice in the world with a built land area of 26,000 m² at ground level.
- Belgium has legalised euthanasia in 2002, and gay marriage in 2003 (First in World).
- Belgium was the world’s first country, along with Italy, to introduce electronic ID cards in March 2003. Belgium was also the first country in the world to issue electronic passports complying with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
- Belgium is the country that grants the most new citizenships per capita in the world after Canada.
- The name of the euro currency was first proposed by a Belgian to the European Commission in 1992. The design of euro sign (€) was created by the Belgian Alain Billiet.
- It is usual to find that an immigrant worker cannot get a job without a work permit and cannot get a work permit without a job.
- All motorways are lit in bright orange light at night.
- It is very usual to find the names of cities on road signs change from French to Dutch and vice versa every 5 or 10 kilometres of motorway.
- The world’s two first printed newspapers were both published in 1605 in Belgium. One was printed in Strasbourg, the other was printed in Antwerp.
- On 5 May 1835, the first railway line on the continent and first in the world outside the UK opened between Brussels and Mechelen, 2 years before the first railway in Germany, France or Italy.
- Belgium produces the greatest variety of bricks in the world.
- Brussels has one of the highest income tax rates in the world. In fact inheritance tax can reach up to 80%. They use this to offer many civil services , healthcare and insurance to everyone.
- Belgium is also the world’s main diamond centre (in Antwerp) and second largest petrochemical center. 90% of the world’s raw diamonds are negotiated and distributed in Antwerp.
- Belgium is world famous for beer. Belgium is the only country in the world that brews 800 different kinds of beers. Belgians consume on an average 150 liters of beer per person per year.
- Belgium is the world largest producer of chocolate producing about 220,000 tons of chocolates annually. It is also world’s number one exporter of chocolates. The world’s biggest chocolate selling point is Brussels National Airport. Belgium is also renowned for its bakeries.
- In 1846, Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone. It soon became a known instrument used in many bluegrass, jazz, and other bands.
- The Body Mass Index (BMI), still used today to know one’s ideal weight, was developed by the Belgian statistician and anthropometrist Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874).
- French fries are believed to have been invented in Belgium not France.
- Belgium has more comic makers per square km than any other country in the world.
- The world’s richest girl lives in Brussels (Athina Onassis Roussel de Miranda, granddaughter and sole heir of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis).
- Football is one of the most popular sports in Belgium along with cycling, tennis, judo and swimming.
- Nemo33, in the Brussels neighbourhood of Uccle, is the world’s deepest swimming pool, reaching 35 metres in depth. It is a famous place to practice scuba diving.
- Billiards balls made in Belgium are a highly sought for many pool players as they are made of pure ivory. 80% of professional billiard players use Belgian-made balls.
- Belgium has the most cycling Tour de France victories of any country except France, famous Belgian tour winners include Eddy Merckx and Philippe Thys.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team