Belgium’s rich history dates back to Medieval times. Relics of a land that was once home to some of the wealthiest people in all of Europe can be seen scattered throughout the landscape. The Dukes of Burgundy ruled over many of Belgium’s largest cities through the Middle Ages, bringing prosperity and contributing to many regal constructions. When the last remaining Duke in the family died, the dream was over and the Habsburg family took control of the area that included both modern-day Belgium and the Netherlands.

Throughout history, Belgium was also ruled by Charles V, who was both Spanish royalty and a German emperor. He ruled from Brussels and his rule is still celebrated to this day with a lively parade. Since his rule, Belgium was briefly lorded over by Napoleon. When Napoleon’s empire ended, Belgium became a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands but religious differences caused Belgium to become an independent nation in 1830, following a short revolution. In the world wars, Belgium was occupied by the Germans and was the site of a number of famous battles, including several at the site of Ypres. Today, Belgium is a part of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO). It is an independent, technologically proficient, and modern liberal country.

de_0092_belgium - Ghent - Korenlei and Graselie street in evening


In spite of Belgium’s small size, there is a lot to see and do. Belgium has everything: picturesque historic sites, stunning architecture, longstanding cultural traditions, and fine dining and drinking. In terms of geography, Belgium is home to beautiful beaches and natural forests.

Brussels is the capital city and it has a lot to offer tourists. The European Quarter features both post-modern architecture and historical buildings. The Royal Palace is open to visitors in the summer and features finely-manicured grounds on the outside and a timeless collection of art on the inside. Within the city, Petit Sablon Square is a testament to professions of the ages, featuring statues of tradesmen and craftsmen from eras gone by.

Bruges is another highly popular Beglian city and an excellent tourist destination. Structures date back to the 14th century and are remarkably well-kept. Ghent is a larger city that also features similar architecture and several prominent World Heritage Sites. For lovers of fashion, dining, clubbing, and arts, Antwerp is the city to be. Check out the fabulous fashion museum, MoMu for a taste of how fashions have evolved throughout history.

de_0090_belgium - Roman church in fall, Roloux, Fexhe, Belgium

Local Food & Drink

Belgium is renowned for its food and drink. For lovers of gastronomy, Belgium is a paradise offering its own distinctive cuisine. The country is well-known for its delectable mussels, which are traditionally cooked using white wine and onions. Mussels are imported from the Netherlands between September and April. Other famous dishes include Balletjes, also known as Boulettes in French. They are meatballs in a rich tomato sauce or syrup. Stoofvlees is the Belgian take on beef stew. Most dishes in Belgium are served with a plate of fries; Belgians claim to have invented fries in spite of the “French” title. And let’s not forget about Belgium’s famous waffles, also known as “wafels” in Dutch and “gaufres” in French. You can find waffles in nearly every city you go to, in fast food establishments and restaurants. Waffles go nicely with world-renowned Belgian chocolate.

Chances are you’ll also wanted to try some of Belgium’s world-famous brews while you’re in the country. The small country is home to almost every type of beer you can imagine, from Flemish red to pale lagers. It is home to an astounding number of breweries, including both microbreweries and internationally known brands such as Stella Artois.

de_0091_belgium - Houses in Brussels


Belgium is a relatively safe country, compared to most. As with any place, there are certain neighborhoods, mostly in the larger cities of Brussels and Antwerp, that you should steer clear of. In general though, Belgians are easygoing, but they can be shy. You can rely on them to find your way around without having to be too wary of getting duped or scammed.

The highest crime rates in the south of the country can be found in the cities of Liege and Charleroi. However, you won’t have much to be concerned about if you take the proper precautions. Don’t go out alone at night and keep your belongings in close proximity to your person and you should be fine.