Belgium  Travel Guide : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach

You can find about travel advice such as public places & services, best restaurants, activities, sightseen and other key facts of the Belgium .

Belgium is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,689 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376 per square kilometre (970/sq mi).Belgium is a sovereign state and a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions: the Flemish Region (Flanders) in the north, the Walloon Region (Wallonia) in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita.Belgium is home to two main linguistic communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 60 percent of the population, and the French-speaking Community, which constitutes about 40 percent of the population. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons. The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.

The country as it exists today was established following the 1830 Belgian Revolution, when it seceded from the Netherlands, which had itself only existed since 1815. The name chosen for the new state is derived from the Latin word Belgium, used in Julius Caesar's "Gallic Wars", to describe a nearby region in the period around 55 BCE. Belgium is part of an area known as the Low Countries, historically a somewhat larger region than the Benelux group of states, as it also included parts of northern France. Since the Middle Ages, its central location near several major rivers has meant that the area has been relatively prosperous, connected commercially and politically to its bigger neighbours. Belgium has unfortunately also been the battleground of European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened in the 20th century by both world wars.Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. Between 1888 and 1908, Leopold II, king of Belgium, perpetrated one of the largest massacres in human history in Congo Free State, which was his private estate, and not yet a colony of Belgium. Estimates of the death toll are disputed but millions of people, a significant part of the population, died for the sake of rubber and ivory exports.

The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fuelled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased; there is significant separatism particularly among the Flemish; controversial language laws exist such as the municipalities with language facilities; and the formation of a coalition government took 18 months following the June 2010 federal election, a world record. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders, which boomed after the Second World War.

Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and its capital, Brussels, hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Council, as well as one of two seats of the European Parliament (the other being Strasbourg). Belgium is also a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO, and a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has very high standards of living, quality of life, healthcare, education, and is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index. It also ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world.

Foods in Belgium :
(1) Belgian Fries : 

Some things are nonsensical. Then we head up this article without an honorable mention about what Belgians arguably pride themselves most on (besides beer and chocolate, evidently). Whilst the term “French fries” has somehow established itself in culinary jargon worldwide, it seems even the French would have to admit that, in truth, nothing beats the Belgian variant.What makes the Belgian “chip” so unique? Therein lies a secret the world may never come to uncover. What we do know is that, for starters, the potatoes are fried twice in strict, deliberate delays. The first fry gives the fries their tenderness. The second phase, right before serving, creates the golden-brown color and unmistakable crispiness. Overall, it is fair to say that the Belgian fry is an unparalleled sidekick to almost any Belgian dish. 

(2) Lapin à la Gueuze (Gueuze Rabbit) :

In 2016, Belgian beer was added to UNESCO´s list of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). Gueuze, a lambic beer characteristically dry and cidery, provides the base of a dish best suited for wintery conditions. The braised rabbit is topped with celery root, onion, and whole grain mustard, adding to the sense of seasonal belonging. Most relevant side dishes include pureed potatoes or crusty bread

(3) Stoemp : 

Traditionally regarded as a side kick to fried mince, fried boudin, grilled bacon, or even entrecote, Stoemp is the Brussels version of the classic Dutch stamppot dish. A perfect blend of mashed potatoes and other root vegetables, to which cream, onion (or shallot), herbs, spices, and bacon form a perfect addition. 

(4) Boulets à la Liégeoise : 

The boulet à la liégeoise is the ideal representation of how certain recipes can vary even from one household to another. The base of this specialty nevertheless consists of one or two big meatballs assembled from a subtle combination of pork, veal, minced meat, breadcrumbs, parsley, and onions. Chances are that in some establishments in Liège, the dish´s city of origin, it may well be the only specialty you´ll find, thereby doing its culinary standing justice.

(5) Carbonnade Flammande : 

A Flemish stew made of beef or pork seasoned with thyme, bay leaves, mustard, and, evidently, Belgian beer. The choice of beer is primordial, as you´ll be looking to extract that bitter-sour flavor. Oud bruin (Old Brown Beer), or Flanders red therefore forms a perfect match. As accompaniments, you´ll want to stick to the aforementioned stoemp, Belgian fries, or boiled potatoes.

Weather & geography in  Belgium  :
The climate of Belgium is considered maritime temperate with mild winters and cool summers. The average summer temperature is 77 degrees (25˚C) while winters average around 45 degrees (7˚C). Belgium can also be rainy, cloudy, and humid.Belgium is a federal state located in Western Europe, bordering the North Sea. Belgium shares borders with France (556 km), Germany (133 km), Luxembourg (130 km) and the Netherlands (478 km). Belgium comprises the regions of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.

 Per day Cost in Belgium  :
How much money will you need for your trip to Belgium? You should plan to spend around €114 ($135) per day on your vacation in Belgium, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, €34 ($40) on meals for one day and €14 ($17) on local transportation. 

History of Belgium  :

The history of Belgium extends before the founding of the modern state of that name in 1830, and is intertwined with those of its neighbors: the Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxembourg. For most of its history, what is now Belgium was either a part of a larger territory, such as the Carolingian Empire, or divided into a number of smaller states, prominent among them being the Duchy of Brabant, the County of Flanders, the Prince-Bishopric of Liège and the County of Luxembourg. Due to its strategic location and its history as a country of contact between different cultures, Belgium has been called the "crossroads of Europe"; for the many armies fighting on its soil, it has also been called the "battlefield of Europe" or the "cockpit of Europe". It is also remarkable as a European nation which contains, and is divided by, a language boundary between Latin-derived French and Germanic Dutch.

Belgium's modern shape can be traced back at least as far as the southern core of the medieval Burgundian Netherlands. These lands straddled the ancient boundary of the Scheldt that had divided medieval France and Germany, but they were brought together under the House of Valois-Burgundy, and unified into one autonomous territory by their heir Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in his Pragmatic Sanction of 1549. The Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) later led to the split between a northern Dutch Republic and the Southern Netherlands from which Belgium and Luxembourg developed. This southern territory continued to be ruled by the Habsburg descendants of the Burgundian house, at first as the "Spanish Netherlands". Invasions from France under Louis XIV led to the loss of what is now Nord-Pas-de-Calais to France, while the remainder finally became the "Austrian Netherlands". The French Revolutionary wars led to Belgium becoming part of France in 1795, bringing the end of the semi-independence of areas which had belonged to the Catholic church. After the defeat of the French in 1814, a new United Kingdom of the Netherlands was created, which eventually split one more time during the Belgian Revolution of 1830–1839, giving three modern nations, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

The ports and textile industry of Belgium were important back into the Middle Ages, and modern Belgium was one of the first countries to experience an Industrial Revolution, which brought prosperity in the 19th century but also opened a political dichotomy between liberal businessmen and socialist workers. The king set up his own private colonial empire in the Belgian Congo, which the government took over after a major scandal in 1908. Belgium was neutral but its strategic location as a pathway to France made it an invasion target for Germany in 1914 and 1940. Conditions under the occupation were severe. In the postwar period Belgium was a leader in European unification, as a founding member of what has become the European Union. Brussels is now host to the headquarters of NATO and is the de facto capital of the European Union. The colonies became independent in the early 1960s.

Politically the country was once polarized on matters of religion and, in recent decades, it has faced new divisions over differences of language and unequal economic development. This ongoing antagonism has caused far-reaching reforms since the 1970s, changing the formerly unitary Belgian state into a federal state, and repeated governmental crises. It is now divided into three regions: Flanders (Dutch-speaking) in the north, Wallonia (French-speaking) in the south, and bilingual Brussels in the middle. There is also a German-speaking population along the border with Germany that was granted to Prussia in the Congress of Vienna in 1815 but added to Belgium following the 1919 Treaty of Versailles following World War I. German is the third official language of Belgium.

Language in Belgium  :
Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, German, and French. About 55% of people speak Dutch as their mother tongue and 16% speak it as a second language. French is spoken by about 36% of people as a mother tongue and half of Belgians as a second language.

Culture of  Belgium  :

Belgian culture involves both the aspects shared by all Belgians regardless of the language they speak and the differences between the main cultural communities: the Dutch-speaking Belgians (Flemish) and the French-speaking Belgians (mostly Brussels and Walloon people). Most Belgians view their culture as an integral part of European culture.

The territory corresponding to present-day Belgium having always been located at the meeting point of Germanic and Latin Europe, it benefited from a rich cross-fertilization of cultures for centuries. Due to its strategic position in the heart of Europe, Belgium has been at the origin of many European artistic and cultural movements.Famous elements of the Belgian culture include gastronomy (Belgian beers, fries, chocolate, waffles, etc.), the comic strip tradition , painting and architecture (the Art Nouveau, the Mosan art, the Early Netherlandish painting, the Flemish renaissance and Baroque painting as well as major examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture), folklore, and surrealism (in art as well as in the attitude of most Belgians).

Since modern culture is more than ever related to languages (theaters, media, literature, etc), the modern Belgian cultural life has tended to develop in each linguistic community (with common elements however). Members of each of the two main linguistic groups generally make their cultural choices from within their own language community, and then, when going beyond, the Flemish draw intensively from both the English-speaking culture (which dominates sciences, professional life and most news media) and the Netherlands, whereas French-speakers tend to focus more on cultural life in France and elsewhere in the French-speaking world even though the English-speaking culture is more present in French-speaking Belgium than in France.Minorities, such as the Jews who have formed a component of Flemish culture — in particular that of Antwerp — for over five hundred years, have specific cultures.

Place to visit in Belgium  :
(1)  Mons

(2) Dinant

(3)  Leuven

(4) Tournai

(5) Mechelen

(6) Ardennes

(7) Antwerp

Hotel in Belgium  :

(1) MEININGER Hotel Bruxelles City Center

(2) Martin's All Suites

(3) Martin's Château du Lac

(4) Villa Geva

How to reach in Belgium  :
You can fly to Belgium from Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi etc with airlines like Air India, Qatar, Jet Airways, Brussels Airlines etc. Aside from this airport, the next most significant airport in Belgium is the Antwerp Airport, as the city is a diamond hub and a major business centre.

Travel Guide for Belgium  : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach. – Published by The Beyond News (Travelling).