Little Known Facts About Belgium

Little Known Facts About BelgiumBelgium is a small, multicultural, Western European country. It is located between France and Holland. Referred to as the “essence of Europe”, it is a charming place to visit.  

Belgium is known by most for its capitol city Brussels, its variety of beers and chocolates, actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, and the Belgium waffle of course. Some little known facts about Belgium:

Belgium is home to the world’s first Beer Academy. Beer Academy grads receive “Masters of Beer” diplomas.

The world’s first praline chocolate was invented almost one hundred years ago in the Belgium town of Brussels by Jean Neuhaus.

Most have had a Belgian waffle (aka Belgium waffle); but did you know there are actually different kinds of Belgian waffles? The two main styles of Belgian waffles are the Brussels waffle and the Liege waffle. Brussel waffles are what most Americans think of as Belgian waffles.

Belgians prefer sweet popcorn to salty popcorn.

The only man-made structures that can be seen from space are the Great Wall of China and the motorway system of Belgium.

Actress Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels. Her birth name is actually Edda van Hemstra Hepburn-Ruston.

Statues of the Virgin Mary can be seen above street lights  in Belguim. In the past, buildings with street lights were taxed unless a Virgin Mary statue hung above it.

Duffle bags (aka Duffel bags) take their name from the town Duffel which produced thick woolen cloth for bags and coats.

Spas are called “spas” after a town in the province of Leige, called, you guessed it, “Spa”. The town of Spa has been known for its healing waters since the 17th century. (the term spa has roots in the Latin words “espa” meaning “fountain” and “sparsa” meaning “bubble up”)

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Every village in Belgium is said to have its own band.

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium. It has be legal since 2002.

Incest is legal in Belgium.

Forced marriages are not legal in Belgium. Those found guilty of forced marriage can receive up to a two year jail sentence and/or fines.

Children living at home in their 20’s is a Belgian norm.

Belgian John-Joseph Merlin invented (in-line) roller skates in the 1760s. Apparently, he was not that good of a roller skater though. According to a newspaper, “John Joseph Merlin rolled out his wheels at an elegant London party in 1770, turning heads as he skated into the room playing a violin. Unfortunately, not having provided the means of retarding his velocity or commanding his direction, he impelled himself against a mirror, dashed it to atoms, broke his instrument to pieces, and wounded himself severely.”

A famous tourist attraction in Belgium is a statue of a little boy peeing, the “mannekin-pis”. A little known fact, though, is that the statue is often dressed. In fact, there are more than 600 costumes for it.

The beloved blue cartoon creatures known as The Smurfs got their start as a comic strip in Belgium. The Smurfs were created by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo (aka Pierre Cullifort) in 1958.

The Adventures of Tin-Tin are also the works of a Belgian; created by Herge (aka Georges Prosper Remi).

There are more castles per square mile in Belgium than anywhere else.

Seven people commit suicide every day in Belgium.

24 million ecstasy tabs are taken by Belgians per year.

People like to eat out in Belgium. On average, more Belgians dine out than any other place in the world.

A Belgian musician and designer by the name of Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone.

Same-Sex unions are legal in Belgium