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45 Interesting Facts About Belgium

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by Lionel (subscribe)
Join me as I travel, play, eat, live and work in cities and places around the world.
Published December 24th 2012
Apart from being the headquarters of the European Union and purveyor of chocolates and beer, I knew little about Belgium until I paid the country a visit. What I'd previously thought was a boring place surprised me in many pleasant ways. Here are 45 interesting facts I picked up about to share with travellers visiting this small nation in Europe. Locals may also find them interesting to share with family and friends.


1) There are more castles per square kilometre in Belgium than in any other country.

2) It has the world's longest rail network with 4078 kilometres if you add all the tracks together.

3) Cable TV penetration is the highest in Belgium at 97 percent of households.

4) It is the oldest free country in Europe as the first to receive a charter of rights in 1066.

5) Brussels sprouts have been grown in Belgium for over 400 years.


6) It offers over 1.000 different beers from 150 breweries acclaimed for their variety, flavour and character.

7) Education is compulsory till 18 years old and this is one of the highest in the world.

8) It has the highest rate of labour taxes in the European Union at 59.2%. The European average stands at 44.89%.

9) Most beers have their own glass in which only that beer may be served.

10) It produces 220,000 tons of chocolate per year, which is about 22kg of chocolate per Belgian.

11) Voting is compulsory and enforced.

12) It legalised euthanasia in 2002 and gay marriage in 2003.

13) The longest tramway line in the world at 68 kilometres is the Belgian coast tram which operates from the French border to the Dutch border.

14) It grants the most new citizenships per capita in the world.

15) 15 percent of Belgium's population or 1.6 million people are immigrants.

16) It was the 1st country in the world to introduce electronic ID cards in March 2003.


17)The Brussels' International Airport is the world's largest chocolate selling point.

18) It is the 1st country in the world to issue electronic passports complying with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

19) Europe's first modern health resort was opened in Belgium in the 18th century

20) Europe's oldest shopping arcades, the Galeries St Hubert was opened in 1847 in Brussels.

21) The scene of Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo was in Belgium.

22) It was the place for the world's first recorded lottery, to raise money for the poor.

23) Belgians drink an average of 150 litres of beer per person per year.

24) The comic strip Tintin originated from Belgium and has been in existence for 70 years with 200 million books sold worldwide.

25) Its highway system is the only man-made structure visible from the moon at night due to the quantity of lights.


26) The Palace of Justice or the Law Courts of Brussels is the largest court of justice in the world at 26,000 square metres.

27) Europe's first casino, "la Redoute", was opened in 1763 in Belgium.

28) Belgians were credited with inventing oil painting in the 15th century.

29) It is home to 6 of the 7 Trappist monasteries where the monks continue to brew Trappist beers from their onsite brewery.

30) The saxophone was invented in the early 1840′s by Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) in the city of Dinanti, Belgium.

31) It is one of the first countries to have a female parliamentarian in 1921.

32) Belgian mathematician, Adolphe Quetelet (17961874), devised the Body Mass Index (BMI) between 1830 and 1850.

33) It is the country with the 3rd most vehicles per square kilometre.


34) The central square of Brussels, the Grote Markt or Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

35) It is the 2nd largest petrochemical centre in the world.

36) 80 percent of billiard players use Belgian-made balls.

37) Brussels has 138 restaurants per square mile.

38) It is the world's largest diamond trading centre.

39) The Guinness World Record for fastest acceleration from 0-100km/h in 3.266 seconds is held by Belgian race car, the Vertigo.

40) It has the highest density of Michelin star-rated restaurants in Europe.

41) It has the most comic makers per square kilometre in the world.

42) Belgium's town of Durbuy is the smallest in the world with less than 500 inhabitants.

43) Both the name of the euro currency and the design of the symbol were proposed by Belgians.


44) There are actually 3 types of Belgian waffles including the common Liege waffles, rectangular Brussels waffles and thinner breakfast galettes.

45) It has the highest density of railroad network in the world, with a total of 2,534 miles.
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Why? 45 interesting facts about Belgium the tourism board doesn't tell you
Your Comment
I thought chocolate and beer too until I read your article!
by Oxford Explorer (score: 2|655) 2028 days ago
wow three different kins of waffles.
by Ms. Samantha (score: 2|362) 2025 days ago
Flemish facts
by vicep (score: 0|2) 513 days ago
I am a huge fan of castles so this article has just put Belgium on my bucket list. Great article!
by Emilie Jayne (score: 2|152) 349 days ago
Belgium is a very beautiful the coffee and cake are delicious the people
are extremely nice and it's easy to go anywhere by using the bus

sincerely

-Charles Haddad
by hadda (score: 0|2) 287 days ago
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