5 Things you maybe didn’t know about Belgium!
Before I went to Belgium, I did not know much about this country beyond the basic knowledge gained at school. Shame on me. Anyway, before my trip, I educated myself more and found some really interesting facts so today you can educate yourself a little about Belgium too!
So here we go!
- Have you ever wondered why Brussels sprouts are called Brussels (spouts)? Well, I did! So I searched the internet for the answer and here is it! Broussels sproust are called like that because they first appeared in northern Europe during the fifth century, later being cultivated in the 13th century near Brussels, from which they derived their name. However, In Continental Europe, the largest producers are the Netherlands, at 82,000 metric tons, and Germany, at 10,000 tons.
- Maybe you heard that Brussels is the capital of Europe. But why? Brussels is the seat of NATO and some of the institutions of the European Union so is therefore unofficially referred to as the “Capital of Europe”. The EU has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat (officially the second seat but de facto the most important one) of the European Parliament.
- And how about famous people? You do not know any famous Belgians? Oh, of course you do! And maybe you don’t even know their origin. How about Peter Paul Rubens, famous baroque artist or Adolphe Sax, a Belgian inventor and musician who invented the saxophone in the early 1840s? Also Audrey Hepburn, the actress, dancer and humanitarian from Hollywood’s Golden Age, was born Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium (but her nationality is British). From this age stars we can name singer Stromae.
- And what language is spoken in Belgium? Well, not just one, not just two. But three! Belgium have three official languages: French, Dutch and German. Dutch speaks Flemish, French speaks Valoni, there is also a German community.
- How about state system? It is a federal constitutional monarchy. The current king is Philippe of Belgium. Belgium is divided into 3 regions – the Flemish region, the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital region. Each region and each community has its own legislative body – parliament, and executive body – government (or council). An exception is Flanders and the Flemish Community, which have both the government and the parliament together. Including federal bodies in Belgium, there are 6 governments and 6 parliaments at the same time.
After these five (I hope) interesting facts about Belgium, I would like to add one piece of advice at the end. In the center of Brussels you will see lots of people who are begging for money. Some of them have a trick you might know. When passengers go by, they overthrow their cup with money and make it looks like it is your fault. “By chance”, they sit by the canal, and the money (which are “by chance” only a few cents) fall down (or at least they say it does). You feel guilty and give them more money then you normally would. They can make it look like it’s your fault. But after few hours here you’ll realize, that it’s just a con trick. Because when it happens to one lady 5 times in 10 minutes and you see this like 12 times per hour by different people, it is clearly con trick.
I hope you learned today something new about Belgium! If so, write me in comment which fact you didn’t know!