25 Interesting Facts about Belgium

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What do you know about Belgium? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Belgium that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Belgium facts did you already know? Share your result in the comment section at the end of the article.

The French Fries is a Belgian invention

Despite its name, the origins of French Fries has actually been traced back to Belgium, which basically means that they should be called Belgian fries.

You can buy Belgian fries from a so-called fritkot, which is a small kiosk or van that can be found in every city. The Belgians eat their fries with mayo instead of ketchup.

It’s ranked as the best football nation in the world

In the latest ranking from the FIFA, Belgium was ranked as the number one national football team. Despite this, they have actually never won the FIFA World Cup.

Some of the most famous Belgian football players are Eden Hazard, Romelo Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, and Marouane Fellaini just to mention a few internationally famous players. 

The official country name is “Kingdom of Belgium”

There are actually two persons who have the title as King of Belgium, first the current King Philippe, and second his father King Albert II who kept his title as King after abdicating the throne in 2013.

The Royal family of Belgium is one of the wealthiest and respected royal families in the world. 

royal family of belgium

Photo: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com

Belgium has been producing chocolate for almost 400 years

You’ve probably heard of Belgian chocolate, but did you know that they have produced it for 400 years? After colonizing the Congo, they discovered an abundance of Chocolate, which led to a huge increase in Belgian chocolate production. 

King Leopold the Third made Belgium into the world-leading chocolate trader. A law granted in 1884 states that a minimum level of 35% cocoa must be used when making Belgian chocolate. 

There are 12 Belgian UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The following World Heritage Sites are all listed as cultural heritage sites. 

  • Belfries of Belgium and France (1999)
  • Flemish Beguinages (1998)
  • Historic Centre of Brugge (2000)
  • La Grand-Palace (1998)
  • Major Mining Sites of Wallonia (2012)
  • Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (2000)
  • Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (2000)
  • Notre Dame Cathedral in Tournai (2000)
  • Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex (2005)
  • Stoclet House (2009)
  • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier (2016)
  • The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louviere and Le Roeulx (1998)
Historic Centre of Brugge

Photo: Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

All Belgian highways are lit up at night

This might be one of the most surprising facts about Belgium if you’re coming from another country. 99,9% of Belgian highways and roads are lit up at night. Even other European countries have large parts of the road network without lights. 

Tintin, The Smurfs & Lucky Luke are all famous Belgian comics

Have you ever read any of these comic books? Or perhaps seen the Comic series and films? Tintin, the Smurfs, and Lucky Luke are just some of the many Belgian Comic strips.

In Brussels, you could even visit the Comic book strip and get to know the characters even more!

Tintin

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Belgium has the lowest wage gap between genders in the EU

As the capital of the European Union, this should perhaps be one of the most logical Belgium facts, but gender gaps are still quite high around the world, but the Belgian wage gap between genders is the lowest in the whole EU. 

It has more castles per kilometer than any other country in the world

Did you know that Belgium could very well be crowned as the castle capital of the world? There are more castles per kilometer here than any other country in the world, and the Belgian castles are very impressive too!

Some of the most famous castles in Belgium are Gravensteen, Castle of Freÿr, Alden Biesen Castle, Groot-Bijgaarden Castle, and Gaasbeek Castle just to mention a few. 

Castle Gravensteen

Photo: Thomas Dekiere/Shutterstock

Some of the most famous painters in the world are Belgian

Rubens, Ensor, Magritte, Delvaux, van Eyck are just some of the famous painters in the world with Belgian origins. The list could go on for long, and some of the most impressive artworks have been created by Belgian painters. 

Home to the famous EDM festival – Tomorrowland

There are a wide variety of music festivals in Belgium, especially during the summer months, but the most famous perhaps is the world’s largest Electronic Music Festival, also known as Tomorrowland. 

It’s one of the few countries with compulsory voting

Compulsory voting was introduced in 1893 for men and in 1948 for women. If you fail to vote for four elections, you might lose your right to vote. Fifteen days before the election, a polling card is sent to all voters mentioning clearly that voting is compulsory. 

You could drink a different Belgian beer for more than 3 years

There are no exact numbers of how many Belgian Beers there are, but some experts say that there are at least 1200 unique Belgian beers, which means that you could drink a different every day for about 3.5 years without ever having the same beer.

Some numbers are even quoted as high as 1700 various Belgian beers. And if that wasn’t interesting enough, each beer has a unique accompanying glass.

Belgian Beer

Photo: Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

The country was without a government for 589 consecutive days

Until 2018, this was the longest period without a government for any country in the world, even longer than war-torn places like Iraq. Although the “record” was beaten by Northern Ireland in 2018, it’s still one of the fascinating facts about Belgium. 

Many Belgians were relatively calm and fine by the fact that there was no government in place for 589 days because it meant that there could be no tax raises. 

Belgium produces over 220,000 tonnes of chocolate each year

So, you already know that Belgium has been producing delicious chocolate for 400 years, but it doesn’t stop there. They produce a massive amount of 220,000 tonnes of chocolate every year! 

It’s quite safe to say that there is indeed no shortage of Belgian chocolate!

belgian chocolate

Photo: Philip Lange / Shutterstock.com

5 x Fun facts about Belgium

  • Belgian men are the second tallest in the world with an average height of 181.7cm
  • The highest point in Belgium is lower than the tallest building in the world
  • Belgium has the highest density of art collectors of any country
  • Belgium is the world’s leading exporter of billiard balls
  • A fountain statue of a pissing little boy is a national symbol, also known as Manneken Pis
Fun facts about Belgium

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5 x Belgium Facts for kids

  • There are three official languages in Belgium: Dutch, French, and German.
  • Brussels is the capital of Belgium as well as the European Union
  • There are a wide range of Belgian waffles, and they’re delicious
  • Brussel sprout is a Belgian vegetable
  • There are wild wolves roaming the Belgian forests along with Wild boars, deer, beavers and lots of birds
Belgium facts for kids

Photo: Yury Dmitrienko/Shutterstock

General Facts about Belgium

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Belgium that might be interesting to know.

  • Area: 30,688 km2(11,849 sq mi)
  • Capital: Brussels
  • Total Population: 11,420,163 people
  • Demonym: Belgian
  • Highest Mountain: Signal de Botrange (694 meters) 
  • Biggest Lake: Lake Eau d’Heure
  • National Day: 21 July
  • Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • Monarch: King Philippe
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • Official Languages: Dutch, French, German
  • Member of EU: Yes
  • Member of Nato: Yes
  • Anthem: “La Brabançonne”
  • Time zone: UTC+1 (CET) and UTC+2 (CEST)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +32

How did Belgium get its name?

The name dates back to Roman times and is derived from the Roman province Gallia Belgica, which was inhabited by the Belgae people. 

What do you call a person from Belgium?

Belgians are made up of two main ethnic and linguistic groups – The Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and Walloons (French-speaking).

There is also a small German-speaking part of the population and the demonym for a person from Belgium is Belgian but could be further specified into these three categories.

What is Belgium’s national sport? 

The most popular sport is football along with cycling, tennis, athletics, swimming, basketball and many more.

Belgians are rather sporty and they are quite successful in many sports. For example, Belgium has won 40 gold medals at the Summer Olympic Games, and they are ranked as the #1 national football team in the world.

The Belgian Flag

The Belgian tricolor is made up of black, yellow, and red color.

Belgian flag

Map of Belgium

Below you can see the Belgian territory marked in yellow. 

Map of Belgium

Photo: Shutterstock

Biggest Cities in Belgium

If you’re looking for information about Belgium, it might also be interesting to know about the largest Belgian cities. 

CityPopulation
Brussels1,789,447
Antwerp940,671
Liege633,934
Ghent416,493
Charleroi403,868
Schaerbeek132,590
Bruges118,053
Anderlecht117,412
Namur110,632
Leuven99,288

 


How many of these Belgium facts did you already know? Leave a comment below!

August 23rd, 2019|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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