Belgium

About Belgium

Located in north-western Europe, Belgium is a small country bordered by The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Luxemburg. There's more to the country than Belgian fries, glass and beer: multicultural and multilingual, Belgium is a veritable Europe in miniature. Belgium reached its zenith under the Duke of Burgundy during the 15th century. However, the country declined in the end-16th century.

During the First World War, despite Belgium's neutral policy, the Germans invaded the country in 1914. The Germans attacked it again in 1940 (with the support of the King), this time taking control over the entire country within barely three weeks. After the war, Belgium witnessed an economic boom, which was further boosted by Brussels appointment as the headquarters of both the European Union and NATO.

Brussels today is a bustling city of diplomats, followed closely by towering skyscrapers and numerous restaurants. You will see superb examples of art and architecture, both past and present-Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau. The city is also famous for some well-preserved ancient châteaux, colourful fairs and festivals, nature reserves as well as amusement parks-all within easy reach. Due to the country's strategic location, Belgians play host to tourists from all parts of the world. The local people are always friendly, cooperative and courteous.

Belgium has three official languages (60% Flemish (Dutch), 39% French, 1% German): in the Northern part people speak Flemish, which is in fact a facet of the Dutch language, in the South region most people speak French and finally in a small part near Germany the official language is German. How Belgium has some of the renowned art cities of Europe- Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. The southern region of the country is interspersed with the rolling hills of the Ardennes, numerous castles, and the cities of Liege , and Tournai. The Ardennes, in particular, are a major centre for skiing in winter and kayaking in summer, with added facilities of hiking and mountain biking along the forest tracks.

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