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MARTIN
 
Fun Facts about Belgium

The inhabitants of ancient Belgium were the Celtic tribes known as Belgae.

Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but it is also the capital of the European Union.

The most famous statue in Brussels (and probably all Belgium) is Mannekin Pis. Mannekin is Dutch for "little boy" or "little man". If you make a guess what Pis means, you'd be right and you know what the little boy is doing.

Belgians love their cartoons. There is even a comic book museum in Brussels. Tin Tin, a cartoon famous around the world except for possibly America, was created in Belgium by George Remi. The Smurfs, also Belgian, were created by Peyo.

Not an art lover? (Shame on you!) Well, the saxaphone was invented in Belgium by Adolphe Sax.

Americans call them French fries, but everyone in Belgium will tell you that "frits" were really invented in Belgium. Although American eat them with ketchup and the French eat them with dijon mustard, Belgians know the correct way to eat "frits" is with mayonnaise. If fries don't do it for you, Belgium is also famous for chocolate, waffles and beer. They produce more than 200,000 tons of chocolate a year. Waffles can be purchased on street corners the way that American buy hot dogs. And, they make more than 400 kinds of beer, including raspberry and cherry flavor.

They may not be as delicious as chocolate and fries, but Brussel sprouts have been grown in the area around Brussels for 400 years. However, if you live in Brussels, you only call them sprouts.

There are more castles per square mile in Belgium than anywhere else in the world.

The coat of arms for Belgium has two lions. Nobody could ever tell me why lions were the national symbol of a European country without any lions.

Holland may be famous for its tulips, but the bulbs first arrived first in Antwerp in 1562. Antwerp has been an important port city for centuries. Currently it is the world's fourth largest port. Many people refer to Antwerp as the diamond capital of the world.

There are three official languages in Belgium. In the north, the Flemish people speak Dutch. In the south, the Walloons speak French. A small portion of the country in the east speak German. And fortunately for me, many, many, many people in Belgium also speak English.

MARTIN
Copyright 2009 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.