Brussels in a nutshell
Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German. The majority language is Dutch, known locally as Flemish which is a dialect of Dutch. It is spoken in the Flanders region in the North. French is now the official language of Wollonia, the southern region home to the capital Brussels, while German is spoken in the very East of the country by about 1% of the population.
A battleground for centuries, Belgium is a densely populated country in the centre of Europe. This makes owning a home outside major cities and commuting to work a viable, if not preferred option for many.
Art and Culture
Belgians see their culture as quintessentially European, however one cannot generalise as each community draws influence from their different languages. Brussels and the regions closer to France draw heavily from the French cultures to the south whilst the Flemish draw some of their culture from the Dutch to the North and also English influences through media and professional services.
Belgium has a long history with the arts, dating back to the Flemish painters of the middle ages, and this is reflected in the numerous museums and collections of fine art in the country that are among the best in Europe with names such as Hubert, Jan van Eyck and Peter Paul Ruben.
Belgian people pride themselves on their cuisine. Fries (frites), chocolates and waffles immediately spring to mind as countrywide favourites but the food does vary regionally, from delicate flavours in the Flemish north, to richer sauces in the French south. Across the country though, there is a saying that the food is ‘’served in the quantity of German cuisine but with the quality of French food.’’
For a small country, Belgium produces a huge amount of beer, with around 180 breweries in the country. People flock from all over to sample the nearly 1600 different beers that are a source of national pride.
Brussels airport, also known as Zaventem Airport is Belgium’s busiest airport and is 12km northeast of the capital. Brussels is also served by Brussels South Airport.
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