Belgium is famous for its chocolates, Renaissance design buildings, ancient monuments, museums, and also Roman ruins. The citadels and chateaus are the best examples of fine architecture. A home of exciting drinks and one of a kind chocolates. The chocolate varieties don’t have any match all over the world. The popular Belgian Beer may be a sensible choice for people who want to unwind following a busy day leading to the stunning sites of the country. Most importantly, there is a famous Belgium waffle, that is crispy, thicker as well as lighter compared to common ones. Don’t forget the historical Belgian buildings, of which design still amazes the architects up to these days.
Important and Interesting Facts about Belgium
- Belgium shares a land border with 4 countries including France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
- Tax levels in Belgium are among the highest in the world, with about 40% of gross earnings given up in tax for a single-income family. A study for 2005 showed that Belgium had the highest average income tax rate out of 30 OECD countries.
- France and Germany may be known for castles, but there are morecastles in Belgium per square mile than any other country.
- The longest tramway line in the world is the Belgian coast tram (68 km), which operates between De Panne and Knokke-Heist, from the French border to the Dutch border.
- The Law Courts of Brussels is the largest court of justice in the world (26,000 m² at ground level). It is bigger than Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
- Most people have heard of the comic strip Tintin, but did you know that in 70 years of existence, 200 million books of “The Adventures of Tintin” have been sold worldwide? Belgium also has more comic makers per square km than any other country in the world, even Japan.
- Belgium has the highest density of roads and railroads in the world. It is the country with the 3rdmost vehicles per square kilometer after the Netherlands and Japan. Because of the quantity of lights, the Belgian highway system is the only man-made structure visible from the moon at night.
- Belgium is world-famous for beer. There are over 1100 varieties of beers made in Belgium and the country often produces international award winning varieties.
- Belgium produces the greatest variety of bricks in the world.
- The world’s main center and second largest petrochemical center is in Belgium. Almost 90% of raw diamonds in the world are negotiated, polished and distributed in Antwerp, Belgium.
- 11 Sites in Belgium are on the UNESCO World Heritage List namely: Belfries of Belgium and France, Flemish Béguinages, Historic Centre of Brugge, La Grand-Place, Brussels, Major Mining Sites of Wallonia, Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels), Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons), Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai, Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex, Stoclet House, The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut). 16 others are proposed and added to the tentative list.
- Belgium was the first country in the world to issue electronic passports complying with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Belgium
- Belgium has the most cycling Tour de France victories of any country except France, famous Belgian tour winners include Eddy Merckx and Philippe Thys.
- The world record of acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (in 3.266 seconds) is held by the Vertigo, the only Belgian sports car.
- Belgium has the densest rail network in the world with 4078 km of track.
- Belgian households have the highest percentage of cable TV in the world, at 97%
- The smallest town in the world is Durbuy, Belgium, with less than 500 inhabitants
- The biggest newborn baby ever recorded was Samuel Timmerman, born in the Ter Linden Hospital in Knokke, Belgium, weighing 5.4 kg and 57 cm in length. (December 2006)
- Both the name of the euro currency and the design of the € symbol were proposed by Belgians.
- Belgium had no official government. No worries, everything is working just fine. The country is being run by a caretaker government.
- The Belgian hare is not a hare but a rabbit.
- Robert Cailliau is a Belgian informatics engineer and computer scientist who, together with Tim Berners-Lee, developed the World Wide Web.
- The Muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg was born on 18 October 1960 in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium. He is a Belgian martial artist, actor, and director, best known for his martial arts action films.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Belgium
- After he qualified as a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Ghent (Belgium) in 1974, Belgian Baron Peter Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976.
- Belgium is world-famous for chocolate. Praline chocolates were invented by Jean Neuhaus in Brussels in 1912. Today, Belgium is the world’s number one exporter of chocolate, with 220,000 tonnes of chocolate produced per year and shops in Brussels international airport are said to sell the most chocolate in the world.
- Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir was a Belgian engineer who developed the internal combustion engine in 1858. Prior designs for such engines were patented as early as 1807, but none were commercially successful. Lenoir’s engine was commercialized in sufficient quantities to be considered a success, a first for the internal combustion engine.
- 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).
- Belgian painters are credited to have invented oil painting in the 15th century (probably Jan van Eyck).
- Belgium was the world’s first country, along with Italy, to introduce electronic ID cards in March 2003. It will also be the first European country to issue e-ID’s to the entire population.
- During the 16th century Belgium produced a number of influential scientists including cartographer Gerardus Mercator and anatomist Andreas Vesalius.
- 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.
- In 1846, Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone.
- Belgian physicist and mathematician Ingrid Daubechies (1954-) developed the mathematical model used by the FBI to stock finger prints.
- In 1907, Belgian Leo Baekeland invented Bakeliteby mixing Carbolic Acid with Formaldehyde. It is considered the first plastic.