So, what about Belgium? …People understand Europe the way they’ve been introduced to it – The usual tourist Mecca’s, the attractions on a thousand postcards. Then they remember Belgium, the little country, they passed through a few days ago. It seems beautiful, it’s practically next-door to Paris, London and Amsterdam, and they have 24 hours to explore it before heading home. Two hours later, they are crazy about Belgium!
Belgium, a kingdom no bigger than the State of Maryland, is Europe in a nutshell, multicultural and multilingual. Flanders in the north, a flatland criss-crossed by canals, is proud of its great art cities, Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. To the south of Belgium, in Wallonia, you will find the rolling hills of the Ardennes, numerous castles, and the cities of Liege, Namur, and Tournai. Belgium’s capital city of Brussels is one of the world’s great cosmopolitan cities, home to both the European Union and NATO, as well as a wealth of international trade and finance companies.
The history of Belgium has always been linked to both commercial and cultural exchange, and much of its character is due to its role as the great meeting place of Western Europe. Traces of the Austrians, Spanish, French and Dutch can still be seen in its architecture and in the lifestyle of the Belgian people. You will see superb examples of art and architecture past and present – Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Nouveau. The cities of Belgium teem with museums, historical buildings, theater, music and festivals.
Much has been said about Belgium’s hospitality and it’s all true. Because of the country’s location as an international center of commerce and culture, Belgians are at ease with travelers from all over the world. They are proud of their homeland, and anxious to help get to know it better. You’ll find them always personable, cooperative and courteous.
Folklore is an important part of life in Belgium. Carnivals, festivals, pageants, plays and religious processions are held all year long in all Belgian cities. Almost any occasion is cause for a parade and almost every parade includes a giant or two. Somehow, Belgium has maintained a low-key approach to all of this international sophistication. It is a country for connoisseurs, but connoisseurs who do not take themselves too seriously. Because the Belgians certainly do not.
To learn more about Belgium and to enjoy the Belgian hospitality, you should certainly come for a visit!
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