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Where is Belgium and What's so Special About It?

Updated on February 18, 2013

My Family and my Favorite Belgian Memories

Belgium is located in Western Europe.

It's exact location is pinpointed below.

I am one-half Belgian and my Mother's family lived in Belgium for hundreds of years until my Father met my mother in World War II. Their story is on the link to the right of this website.

The country of Belgium has not just sat there and been unimportant. Some of the things that originated there are very important in our daily lives. In this website, I have compiled all of the items that I know about Belgium, not only from my memories, but from my own experiences.

Please enjoy this website and feel free to participate and leave some comments below.

Thank you for the visit!

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Purple Star
Purple Star
Girl Eating Waffles
Girl Eating Waffles

Belgium isn't Just for Waffle-Eaters

I had the honor of being raised by two fantastic parents. The story of my parents could be a mini-series.

My Father met my Mother while he was in World War II and my Grandmother, Mother and Uncle came to the United States to live. During my youth, I lived amongst Belgian culture and unlike an American child, I was also exposed to the European way of life.

This all gave me a unique perspective and deep sense of family and love of the Belgian country and culture.

In this website, I wanted to give others a glimpse of Belgium and let them know how Belgian influence is in the United States and other countries. The influence affects all of us and from such a small country, they have made quite an impact.

I have broken down this site into several areas and wanted to cover several unique influences.

Thank you for visiting and please pass this information to others who may enjoy it.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

girls looking at map
girls looking at map

Location of Belgium on European Continent Map and Map of Belgium

So, your main reason for being here is to locate Belgium on the map.

The following maps show you Belgium in Europe, a Map of Belgium itself and if you are in Europe, directions on how to get there. It is pretty easy.

Belgium is nestled between France, Germany and the Netherlands and there is a small stretch that is along the English Channel.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Europe

Europe
Europe
map of Belgium
map of Belgium

How do I get to Belgium? - If you are not in Europe already, make sure you take a boat!

A marker -
Belgium
get directions

Belgium and You

Have you ever been to Belgium?

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Belguim Flag
Belguim Flag

Flag of Belgium

The Flag of Belgium is tri-colored, Black, Yellow and Red. The colors are equally separated into vertical bands.

The colors were taken from the Duchy of Brabant and it is possible that the colors came from the French Flag.

The current flag was adopted in 1831, after the Belgian Revolution and prior to that, the stripes were horizontal, instead of vertical.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Belgium Fruit Flag

Belgium Fruit Flag
Belgium Fruit Flag

Fantastic Belgium Jewelry - Vote on your Favorite

Belgium Flag Italian Charm Bracelet Link
Belgium Flag Italian Charm Bracelet Link

Belgium Flag Photo Italian Charm Bracelet Link. Whether this flag charm shows the country you have visited, where your are from, or where you are living now, it will tell your story. Whether this charm is for your bracelet or a gift, the love will show through. It will make a great addition to your Italian charm bracelet or a perfect personalized gift. Commemorate special occasions, capture memorable moments, or simply show off your birthstone by creating your own original Italian charm bracelet. Add Clearly Charming premium quality interlocking modular Italian charm links to your Italian Charm Bracelet and create your own memory bracelet. This hi resolution digital photo charm is made in the US for superior quality.

 
Belgium - National Lapel Pin
Belgium - National Lapel Pin

Our Belgium lapel pins are a great way to show support or show off your heritage. The pins are die-struck from a high quality steel alloy and feature a butterfly clasp in the back. The recessed colors allow for finer reproduction of details and a top epoxy coating creates a surface smooth to the touch.

 
Belgium Flag Pin 1"
Belgium Flag Pin 1"

This is a new Belgium Flag Pin 1"

 
Women talking
Women talking

Language of Belgium

There is no official language in Belgium. My Mother and Grandmother spoke a dialect of French called Wallon.

Today, approximately 60% of the country speaks Dutch and 39% speaks French. There are small sections along the border that make up the final 1% of German speaking citizens.

The Dutch region is in the North of Belgium, with the main city being Antwerp. The French speaking section has the largest French speaking city of Brussels.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Medieval woman and child in Belgium
Medieval woman and child in Belgium

History of Belgium

The name "Belgium" originated from the name of a Roman Province. Portions of Belgium, as well as Europe were ruled by Rome and France during much of the Middle Ages.

In 1794, the French Revolution included parts of Belgium and at Waterloo, Belgium, Napoleon was defeated.

Several wars occurred in the area during the 17th and 18th Centuries and in 1815, it fell under Dutch rule. In 1830, Belgium had a revolution and then was no longer ruled by the Dutch and became an independent nation.

Belgium survived German occupation in both World War I and World War II. My Grandmother was under both of these occupations when she lived there and I have many stories of these occupations.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Belgium - From the Roman Invasion to the Present Day

Belgium - From the Roman Invasion to the Present Day
Belgium - From the Roman Invasion to the Present Day

With Belgium's rich history, there was no way that I could fit it all into this website.

This book gives you a concise history of Belgium all the way from the Roman invasion to the present.

A must read!

 
Woman gathering grain in war damaged building
Woman gathering grain in war damaged building

Wars in Belgium

The two World Wars in Europe were devastating but were also important to today's Belgium.

There were many difficult times during battles and German occupation but the Belgians survived and became stronger because of war. They are still known today as tough and resilient people.

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Waterloo, Belgium - The Beginning of Napoleon's Demise

Waterloo Belgium
Waterloo Belgium
King Albert II of Belgium
King Albert II of Belgium

The Belgian Monarchy and Government

Belgium is still considered a monarchy and the King is Albert the II.

Although there is a King, he has limited power. He does have more power than some kings that are just a figure head as he is able to appoint ministers, including the Prime Minister.

Other than the King, there is a parliament of democratically elected officials and representatives that run the country.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Driving in Belgium
Driving in Belgium

Traveling in Belgium

Traveling in Belgium is no different than other European countries.

The roads can be narrow in towns and there are several circles or roundabouts. Narrow streets were made for pedestrian travel and horse & buggy. Many streets were not widened with the advent of the automobile in the early 20th Century.

Traveling in the rural areas, there are little stands that sell French Fries or "Frituurs." These are sold in paper, rounded into a cone. You can get mayonnaise and mustard to eat with them but when I was in Belgium, they didn't have Ketchup.

There are not a lot of stores or conveniences in between towns and it is common to see people stopping to go to the bathroom along the roads. You may see this with men in the United States, but it is not uncommon in Europe to see women squatting to go to the bathroom along roadsides or behind a bush.

Although cars are everywhere in Europe, the preferred method of travel is by train. There is an intricate system of train travel and it is not expensive to travel there using trains.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Belgium Frituur French Fries! - In a paper cone

Belgium Frituur French Fries
Belgium Frituur French Fries

Narrow Streets and Roundabouts

Narrow Streets and Roundabouts
Narrow Streets and Roundabouts

Belgium and Luxembourg (EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE)

Belgium and Luxembourg (Eyewitness Travel Guide)
Belgium and Luxembourg (Eyewitness Travel Guide)

If you are planning to travel to Belgium, this is the highest rated travel guide that you can get.

This travel guide not only shows you how to get around, it helps you find those places that nobody else can find.

 
tree
tree

Belgian Trees

People don't realize that Belgium, although very rural, has some of the best trees in the World.

They have just about any type of tree that you can imagine. I have posted photos below of the largest Sequoia in Belgium and also a very large Ginkgo Biloba tree.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Giant Sequoia on the Estate Rond Chêne - Near Esneux, Belgium

Belgian Sequoia
Belgian Sequoia

Gingko Biloba Tree

Gingko Biloba Tree
Gingko Biloba Tree
Pastries
Pastries

Belgian Food

Growing up with a Grandmother and Mother who were Belgian, I got to taste many of the local cuisine, right here in the United States.

I am a cheese aficionado, however, I have never been a fan of Limburger cheese, which originated in Belgium.

The Belgians also have beer that is the favorite of many and is only rivaled by their neighbors in Germany.

I will argue with anyone that the best chocolate comes from Belgium. I have lived in Germany and also had many pieces of Dutch chocolate and neither, in my opinion, are close to that made by the Belgians.

My Mother loved pastries and always made Eclairs and Waffles for us. The Belgian Eclairs were not sweet and the waffles had a little bit of a different taste. We used to sprinkle ours with powdered sugar but many like strawberries on their own.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Limburger Cheese - From Limburg, Belgium

Limburger Cheese
Limburger Cheese

Belgian Chocolate

Belgian Chocolate
Belgian Chocolate

Cote D'or Milk Chocolate - The Finest on Earth

Cote d'Or Belgian Connoiseur Milk Chocolate 2 x 2.65 oz.
Cote d'Or Belgian Connoiseur Milk Chocolate 2 x 2.65 oz.

If you love milk chocolate and especially milk chocolate, look no further.

Cote D'or Milk Chocolate is the finest in the World and I can highly recommend it. Ever since I was little, my relatives in Belgium have shipped this fantastic chocolate from Belgium to my family.

Once you try it, you will never go back. I guarantee it.

This special deal will allow you to buy several bars and you can give them at Christmas or pass them out as gifts at any special occasion.

 

Chocolate Poll

What is your favorite chocolate?

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Belgian Waffles

Belgian Waffles
Belgian Waffles

Belgian Pastries - Eclair au chocolat

Eclair
Eclair
Dog and Horse
Dog and Horse

Belgian Animals

Belgium is the home to the Belgian Malinois Shepherd and the Clydesdale or Belgian Workhorse.

The Belgian Shepherd was one of the first Police Dogs and many are also used as assistants to the disabled.

Who can remember a wonderful Christmas without thinking of the Clydesdale horses from Budweiser? Many do not know that these horses had origins in Belgium.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Belgian Shepherd Malinois

Belgian Shepherd Malinois
Belgian Shepherd Malinois

Belgian Clydesdales

Belgian Clydesdales
Belgian Clydesdales
NATO Headquarters In Brussels, Belgium
NATO Headquarters In Brussels, Belgium

NATO Headquarters In Brussels, Belgium

I can't talk about Belgium without mentioning NATO. Although it is not one of my memories, it was there when I served in the US Army in Europe and was stationed in Germany.

Many important meetings and resolutions originated from NATO in Brussels, Belgium.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Man with gun
Man with gun

Belgian Guns and Gun Manufacturing

Belgians have a love affair with guns and marksmanship.

The Browning Factory is in Belgium and my cousin from Belgium, is a gun designer for the company. Browning is known for high quality guns and are collected by others around the World.

In the 2012 Olympics, a Belgian, Lionel Cox, won the Silver Medal in Rifle Marksmanship.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

The Browning Custom Gun Shop in Herstal, Belgium

Browning Custom Gun Shop
Browning Custom Gun Shop

Lionel Cox Wins Silver Medal at 2012 Olympics - Men's 50m Rifle Prone

2012 Olympics Rifle
2012 Olympics Rifle

Housewares with a Belgian Flare - What are your favorites?

NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron
NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron

Nordicware 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffler

 
Bistrot by Demeyere Belgium Resto Water Kettle 4.25-qt.
Bistrot by Demeyere Belgium Resto Water Kettle 4.25-qt.

Resto by Demeyere products are manufactured from 18/10 stainless steel with an applied 3-layer bottom 4-mm. thick. The Resto series has a matte finish with a lustrous lid - a beautiful combination. This is the starter series from Demeyere - quality without frills..

 
Oster CKSTWFBF21 1-1/2-Inch Thick Belgian Flip Waffle Maker, Brushed Stainless Steel
Oster CKSTWFBF21 1-1/2-Inch Thick Belgian Flip Waffle Maker, Brushed Stainless Steel

Elevate the average weekend brunch from ordinary to extraordinary with this Belgian waffle maker on hand. Thoughtfully designed by the Oster brand, the unit heats up quickly and offers user-friendly features that make it just as practical for healthy whole-wheat waffles served with slices of banana before work as it is for more decadent waffles-covered in strawberries and whipped cream or blueberries and warm maple syrup-on those leisurely weekend mornings with family and friends. Feel free to think beyond breakfast, too-Belgian waffles can be made with a variety of different ingredients to sweeten the deal, then served with ice cream, chocolate sauce, or other favorite toppings. The waffle maker's 1-1/2-inch surface creates extra-deep pockets and comes with a nonstick coating to help ensure effortless food release. Even more, its convenient flip system allows the batter to fully coat the cooking plates, which is important for evenly cooked waffles. To create light and fluffy waffles or waffles with a crispier texture, simply adjust the temperature. When finished, the drip tray removes easily for quick cleanup, and the appliance can be stored vertically to help save on counter or cabinet space. Attractively housed in brushed stainless steel, the Belgian waffle maker carries a one-year limited warranty.

 
Rapunzel
Rapunzel

Castles in Belgium

When you think of castles in Europe, you really don't think about Belgium. The primary castles that you see in media are along the Rhine River in Germany or in the Alps.

Belgium has some of the most beautiful and intact castles in Europe. Most of these are from around the 14th and 15th Centuries but some are much earlier.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Bouchout Castle - Meise, Belgium - Built in the 12th Century

Bouchout Castle - Meise Belgium
Bouchout Castle - Meise Belgium

Chateau Le Fy - Esneux, Belgium

Chateau Le Fy - Esneux Belgium
Chateau Le Fy - Esneux Belgium

Castle of Rumbeke, Belgium - 10th Century Renaissance Castle in Belgium

Castle of Rumbeke Belgium
Castle of Rumbeke Belgium

Manneken Pis - Little Man Pee

Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Dating back to the 14th Century, this little statue was once known as the only source of fresh drinking water in Brussels, Belgium.

He has since became the stuff of folklore and has over 800 suits that he is dressed in for different occasions.

Matilda of Flanders Making a Tapestry
Matilda of Flanders Making a Tapestry

Belgian Tapestries

Tapestries, a sign of wealth and power, mostly originated from the Flanders Region of Belgium,

Tapestry production peaked in the 16th Century. They were originally very utilitarian as residences of that period were not insulated and were damp. A properly hung tapestry could assist in the comfort inside the home.

These tapestries are very collectible today and almost every castle that you visit, has magnificent tapestries hanging in it . Most of these were produced in Belgium and today, these are considered great works of art. You will find tapestries in just about any major museum.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Passchier Grenier - 'Assault on Asilah' - Ca. 1470

Passchier Grenier - 'Assault on Asilah' - Ca. 1470
Passchier Grenier - 'Assault on Asilah' - Ca. 1470

Figures in a Rose Garden, Ca.1450

WLA metmuseum Figures in a Rose Garden,  Ca. 1450
WLA metmuseum Figures in a Rose Garden, Ca. 1450

Fantastic Scene of Belgium Tapestry

Scene of Belgium
Scene of Belgium

Most people cannot afford a real tapestry from the Middle Ages but this is the way to own one.

This is a wonderful tapestry of a beautiful scene in Belgium. This is great for your home for your wall, your floor or as a gift for others. A fantastic piece of art to cherish for many years!

 

Your Knowledge of Belgium

Did you realize that so many things came from Belgium?

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"Au revoir," "salukes" and "auf wiedersehen!"

Did you Learn Anything About Belgium Today? - Please leave some comments.

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    • profile image

      andy 2 years ago

      a lot of things u say are bullshit

    • tvyps profile image
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      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @JohnTannahill: I didn't want to bore some with the Governmental stuff although it is very important. I do agree on the beer but lived in Germany and don't think German beer can be beat. I do like some of the Belgian beers but they are not as well known for beer as the Germans. Thanks for the visit.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      You didn't say a lot about the EU headquarters in Brussels. The best thing about Belgium is the mussels and the beer anyway.

    • tvyps profile image
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      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @anonymous: Please tell me about it when you get back! Thanks for the visit!

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @Steph Tietjen: I was amazed also. I actually learned more while doing this lens than I knew myself. Thanks for the visit!

    • tvyps profile image
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      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @SheilaMilne: My Mom was from Esneux. I don't think a lot of buildings were flattened there because there are buildings there that are hundreds of years old. The war museums are something I missed in this lens, I may add them in the future. Thanks for the visit!

    • tvyps profile image
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      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @KandH: It is a beautiful place with a fantastic culture! Thanks for the visit!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I can't wait to visit now! *blessed*

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Yes, I learned many new things and enjoyed your perspective. I didn't know there Sequoias in Belgium.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      We stayed near Ypres or Ieper and visited many of the Commonwealth war graves, and War museums. it was very sobering to realise many of the beautiful medieval buildings we were admiring were, in fact, reconstructed after being flattened in the war.

    • KandH profile image

      KandH 5 years ago

      What a beautiful lens - looking forward to visiting Belgium one day!

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @aka-rms: Thank you Robin! What city? Vive la Belgique!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      My Grannie came over from Belgium. Great lens!

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @carhireassistant: Absolutely! Merci! Being 1/2 Belgian, I think we are far too under-appreciated! ha! Thanks for the visit!

    • profile image

      carhireassistant 5 years ago

      It's great to see that someone has taken the time to highlight the fact that Belgium has much more to offer than just waffles and chocolate.