No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

BEER, FOOD & BELGIUM

About Belgium


Battle of Waterloo

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The late 18th century was a period of massive political upheaval. For centuries France had been ruled by an absolute monarchy supported by a powerful Catholic church, but in 1789 all this suddenly collapsed. Feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained attack from radical new political...
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Belgian Antiques and Flea Markets

Antiek

Belgians have a long-standing passion for antique fairs and flea markets. For many years the contents of entire houses have been going under the hammer at Antwerp’s Friday morning market. In Heist-op-den-Berg – of all places – the ‘rommelmarkt’ takes over the entire town centre every Sunday morning....
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Cycling

Bicyclerace

In Belgium and in the Flemish region in particular, the love of cycling borders on fanaticism. Whether it’s competitive or just for fun, takes place on the road, in a field or around the velodrome or “piste”, cycling catches the attention of any self-respecting Belgian. Any excuse to...
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Diamond Industry

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The city of Antwerp is the capital of Flanders but it is also the current capital of the diamond industry, being home to around 1,500 diamond firms, the largest concentration in the world. These businesses include rough diamond producers and dealers, manufacturers and polished diamond wholesalers. As...
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Fashion

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Belgian fashion is often praised for its unique balance between realism and creativity. In the last 30 years the interest in and importance of fashion and design in Belgium has increased greatly. Belgium’s designers are associated with quality, craftsmanship and innovation. The Belgian style’s characteristics and distinct...
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Geography of Belgium

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Although heavily developed and densely populated, the scenic beauty of some Belgian geographic regions is breath-taking. Geographically and geologically, as it is in most things, Belgium is a country of heavy contrasts. It is small enough that in the right weather conditions and season it’s perfectly...
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History

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The region that is now Belgium has been populated for more than 100,000 years, Eastern Belgium is even the world's first and richest finding place for Neanderthal remains. Along the way it has passed through the ownership of almost all the major continental European powers. From the Roman...
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Language Matters

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Belgium is at the linguistic junction between Latin and Germanic Europe. This has shaped both the country’s history and its language, with the result that Belgium is one of the few countries in the world that has no single national language. In fact it has three: Dutch, French and...
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Nature and Wildlife

Nature

When it comes to sightseeing and its place on the tourist trail, Belgium is (next to being the beer and taste capital of the world) mostly considered a cultural, artistic and historic destination. However, the country is also blessed with some areas of exceptional natural beauty which are well...
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Nature Reserves and National Parks

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Many of the natural beauty of Belgium is easily accessible and well equipped; you’ll find car parks, cafes and even places to stay. Officially recognised nature reserves and parks are well sign-posted and marked on your maps but you’ll also find much to admire in Belgium’s open countryside....
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War Memorials and Cemeteries

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As well as the era-defining battle of Waterloo, the two greatest conflicts of modern time have been fought on Belgian soil. World War I and World War II have left Belgium with a legacy of some 800 military cemeteries. Some of these cemeteries contain thousands of graves, but many...
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World Heritage

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Belgium is a major contributor to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, having joined as long ago as November 1946. There are currently two UNESCO Professorial Chairs at French-speaking Belgian universities. The first, the Chair of Linguistics and Didactics of Languages in Educational Systems,...
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World War I

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Belgium’s location may give it great political advantages, putting it right at the centre of Western Europe, perfect for its role as the host of the European Union. Unfortunately this has also regularly made it the site of military campaigns and battles. It’s for very good reason that Belgium...
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World War II

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In the late 1930’s memories of the Great War were still fresh in the minds of many people and another European conflict seemed unthinkable. Over 37 million casualties, including around 17 million deaths had generated a feeling that peace was to be preserved at almost any cost. Simply...
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Admittedly, we Belgians are not always the best ambassadors for our own tiny country. We don’t shout our achievements from the rooftops, but we do like to give our friends a glimpse behind the scenes.

Take your time to browse this section of our website. You are guaranteed to discover aspects of our country that you didn't know existed.

We already offer one major advantage over other countries: you really don’t have to travel very far to immerse yourself in a variety of cultures and to sample our rich history. In our country, there is no destinaton that is beyond reach. You can cross it by car, left to right or top to bottom, in three hours’ time, traffic permitting. You may come across a traffic jam or two around our major cities, but as you’re here, why not stay a little bit longer and let yourself be surprised by what we have to offer?

Get on your bike and accompany us along the roads of Belgium. You may be familiar with the name of Waterloo, the site of the battle known accross the world, where Emperor Napoleon of France had to concede final defeat in 1815. In Belgium you can see the battle field with your own eyes.

You will find an antiques, or brocante market, on practically every street corner. Every village has its own rommelmarkt or flea market. At the Vossenplein in Brussels (Place Jeu de Balles), you can browse the market stalls every morning and take your pick from antiques that could be priceless, worthless or anything in between.

Belgium is also a cycling country where the art of the bicycle is held in great esteem. One of Belgium’s greatest icons is Eddy Merckx, long retired from professional competition but is still very active in the cycling world.

Following the diamond trail, we end up in Antwerp: home of the Diamond Exchange and also the place where the diamond cutters produce and export the highly valued ‘Antwerp cut’. This same city is also the birthplace of Belgian fashion. Well-known designers including An Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten started up their businesses in Antwerp’s pretty streets.

Don’t expect spectacular landscapes from this predominantly flat country of ours. Nevertheless, there are fairly noticeable differences in height between the coast and flatlands of the north and the undulating forested areas in the South. If we include the watchtower we just about reach a height of 700m on the ‘Roof of Belgium’ in the national park of Hoge Venen.

Discover a rich history in which our ancient cities have each played their particular and remarkable part. And we have our unique cultural heritage, including belforts (belfries), beguinages (semi-monastic women’s communities), great cathedrals and historic city centres, many of them World Heritage sites protected by UNESCO.

As to languagues, you need to know that we speak a version of Dutch called Flemish or Belgian Dutch in the north and French in the south. In the east of the country, between Liège and the German border, there is a German-speaking community as well.

History is not always glorious, as we know, and that is made painfully clear in Belgium, the Cockpit of Europe. During the First World War, the front was situated in Flanders Fields, the region around the city of Ypres, which was completely destroyed during the war but has since been resurrected. The many war cemeteries bear witness to the hard-fought battles between the Germans, Brits and Commonwealth troops, the French and finally the Americans. Towards the end of the Second World War, the merciless Bataille des Ardennes (known as the Battle of the Bulge) was fought between the Allies and German troops located in the Ardennes forest in the Bastogne area. The newly contructed war museum attached to the Mardasson Memorial tells this compelling story.


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Struise Brouwers: the hands that rock the barley

OOSTVLETEREN/WOESTEN - What is special about the air or the soil in the village of Vleteren? Last week, Ratebeer awarded De Struise Brouwers the accolade of Best Belgian Brewery. Four of their b... [ more ]

Hop shoots from Poperinge, a veritable delicacy

PROVEN/POPERINGE - Today I am visiting ‘t Hoppecruyt in the village of Proven near Poperinge. The majority of Belgian hops are produced in this region, the so-called Westhoek, known internationally as ... [ more ]

Brasserie_lefort_225

Belgian Beer

The beer of Brasserie LeFort embodies the revival of a little piece of Belgian brewing history. The name is a reference to the former Kortrijk city brewery. The original LeFort bre... [ more ]

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