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Started by HerrWalrus on Mar 22, 2016 9:54:02 PM
More about Belgium

I've always been intrigued by Belgium. Is it even a real country? Obviously recent tragic events have put the place under the spotlight. Yet in a short while the focus will shift elsewhere, and we will have learnt little about our neighbouring country. Just a place for good beer, mussels and chocolate? Tell us what Belgium means to you.

Shadrack22 - 22 Mar 2016 21:54:56 (#1 of 133)

The surrealism of everyday life.

hailesaladdie - 22 Mar 2016 21:57:50 (#2 of 133)

Ceci n'est pas un pays?

Shabbyman - 22 Mar 2016 22:03:27 (#3 of 133)

I like Belgium. Lovely beers plus chips fried in beef fat.

Ginmonkey - 22 Mar 2016 22:23:16 (#4 of 133)

European parliament. Strange mix of slightly French, slightly Germany. My visits are mainly work related so I've never really seen much of it outside central Brussels.

They have a rather nasty colonial history many of us know little about I think. I certainly don't.

bossab2 - 22 Mar 2016 22:34:46 (#5 of 133)

Tasting the disgusting spa water in Spa.

sticklebrick - 22 Mar 2016 22:35:11 (#6 of 133)

That's true about the colonialism, Ginmonkey.

Late to the party compared to everyone else, they made up for lost time with brutality.

HouseOfLametta - 22 Mar 2016 22:39:19 (#7 of 133)

#2 Chapeau.

sticklebrick - 22 Mar 2016 22:39:31 (#8 of 133)

I have always thought it odd, and wondered how it works, that French speaking Belgians often have no more than a few words of Flemish/Dutch, and vice versa. Individuals in each group are far more likely to speak English.

Having said that, congrats to the Belgian French speaking Walloons for having coined septante, octante, nonante, for 60, 70, 80. Much better than the ridiculous French French words.

MaryMC - 22 Mar 2016 22:39:37 (#9 of 133)

They have a rather nasty colonial history many of us know little about I think.

Unfortunately an (English) ancestor of mine appears to have been involved in it.

AppleCatcher - 22 Mar 2016 22:41:26 (#10 of 133)

NATO, good steak tartare, more familiar than the UK but they speak weird, not fond of Brussels but love other places like Antwerp or Oostende or Ghent. Really dark red brick.

AppleCatcher - 22 Mar 2016 22:41:47 (#11 of 133)

(on top of what others said)

Ginmonkey - 22 Mar 2016 22:42:30 (#12 of 133)

I've found Flemmings are more likely to speak English than Walloons. It must be an odd country to be an immigrant in I should think. Perhaps that's one of the causes of their integration problem.

Ginmonkey - 22 Mar 2016 22:44:01 (#13 of 133)

Not forgetting "plucky little Belgium" as they were known to the British for a good part of the twentieth century.

Shabbyman - 22 Mar 2016 22:47:46 (#14 of 133)

You have to pay to go to the loo. I disputed this at a beer festival because the toilets were disgusting but they wouldn't let me out until I paid 50¢.

AppleCatcher - 22 Mar 2016 22:49:20 (#15 of 133)

Man, yes, that's true. Even in a restaurant. I almost panicked once (no € cents)

lusmeri1 - 22 Mar 2016 22:51:48 (#16 of 133)

The loos at Belgian motorway stops are pretty grotty.

I have the impression that the Flemings won't speak French, rather than can't. I like Brussels, but I seem to be in a minority.

Bromio - 22 Mar 2016 23:01:48 (#17 of 133)

My first experience of Belgium was flying there to see Michael Schumacher's Formula One debut in a Jordan at Spa-Francorchamps in 1991. Also chips and mayonnaise, of course. I thought Brussels was the greyest city I'd ever been to.

I've only been back once, about five years ago, to Antwerp and Ghent. That was a lot more fun even though I was working and both places a lot more attractive than Brussels.

Shadrack22 - 22 Mar 2016 23:05:51 (#18 of 133)

A Duvel on a winter evening in Antwerp. A velvet curtain screening off the door inside a bar to keep the heat in.

The strange surrealist paintings of Paul Delvaux.

Victor Horta's art nouveau architecture in Brussels.

A bat flying around inside the cathedral in Ghent one morning in March.

Attempts to get a vegetarian meal - a minefield.

Shadrack22 - 22 Mar 2016 23:12:14 (#19 of 133)

Brussels a few days after 9/11. Sitting in a bar observing an elderly woman drinking a Trappist beer at lunchtime as rolling news plays on a TV screen and realising that this was genuine cafe culture. Persistent rain. Monuments to the glorious Belgian empire and its exploits in the Congo.

hailesaladdie - 22 Mar 2016 23:12:58 (#20 of 133)

> good steak tartare

Known as a filet américain, giving rise to the singular entertainment of watching the expression on American visitors' faces when unexpectedly presented with a plate of raw meat.

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