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Tasty waffles, good chocolate, fries, beer, electronic dance festivals and diamonds are among the first things that come into one’s mind while thinking about Belgium. This small country is located between Germany, France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and has a great significance for the European Union. Read our blog about what you need to know for your weekend in Bruges for more inspiration.
Despite the fact that Belgium borders with four countries, only France and the Netherlands had the greatest impact on the country throughout its history. Belgium is divided into three parts, the Flemish region, the Walloon region and the Brussels-Capital region. The Flemish, as well as the Walloon region, are divided into five provinces. However, the Flemish region has a proximity to the Netherlands, which is the reason why the spoken language in the region is Dutch. The Walloon region, on the other hand, is closer to France, making it, therefore, a French spoken region. Nevertheless, the Brussels-Capital region is both French and Dutch spoken. Even though one might think that the only official languages of the country are French and Dutch. However, the country’s third official language is German, which is spoken by the German Community in a small part of the Walloon region. If you are travelling to Belgium’s capital, you will be able to discover many symbols of the city. Two of the most famous landmarks of Brussels are the Manneken Pis and the Atomium. The Manneken Pis, which means ‘little pisser’ in Dutch, is a bronze statue in the center of the city, that portrays a little naked boy urinating into the fountain’s pool. Additionally, the statue is often dressed in costumes at major events. So, if you are planning a visit to the Manneken Pis, make sure to check whether he will be dressed or not, to capture a very special picture of Brussels landmark.
Belgium and the EU
Even though the European Union has not an official capital, Brussels is considered to be the unofficial capital of the EU. The reason for this is, due to the numerous European Institutions that are located in the city. Brussels hosts seats for the European Commission, the European Council, the council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Many of these institutions are located in the so-called European Quarter of Brussels, making it therefore easily accessible with public transport. In case you are interested in the European Union and the institutions, make sure to plan a tour in the Hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels. The tours take around 60 minutes and are free of charge.
Industries in Belgium
Belgium has a strong globalized economy, which is heavily focused on the service sector of the country. Other significant industries in the country are the industry and agriculture. One of the reasons why the Belgian economy is so strong, is due to trades. Belgium is known to rely heavily on trade, making the port of Antwerp an important location for the country’s economy. This port is located in the Flemish region of Belgium and is considered to be the second biggest port of Europe, right after the Port of Rotterdam. Antwerp is not only known for its port, but also for its Diamond industry. This industry is located in the center of Antwerp and is one of the top export products of the country.
Air traffic in Belgium
Belgium’s busiest international airport is by far Brussels Airport, with over 25 million passengers arriving and departing from the airport. This airport is located in the heart of the country and is considered to be the 24thbusiest airport of Europe in passenger traffic. Additionally, the largest airline of Belgium, Brussels Airline, is headquartered and based at Brussels Airport. Other significant airports in Belgium are Brussels South Airport, Liege Airport, Ostend Airport and Antwerp Airport. Besides these major public airports, Belgium has numerous private airports, that are spread throughout the country.
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