Let's have a taste of Belgium… No not Belgium the beer, but Belgium the country. Yes, it's a country. Of course, you guys knew that, but according to a poll, 65% of Americans think that Belgium is a beer company instead of a country. That calls for a blog post to tell you a bit more about that country.
Back in the day, in the year the FIFA World Cup took place in Brazil (2014), online satirical newspaper The Daily Currant published a story called “63% Of Americans Think Belgium Is A Beer Company”. A great read and as all of the Currant's articles not true.
For us, it was the inspiration to blog about one of our favourite countries – Belgium – and show the world that Belgium has more to offer than you might think. And now that the FIFA World Cup 2018 event is about to start the time has come to update and republish this post. Enjoy this new and improved version.
Typical Belgium: language, food, drinks, culture, and more
Belgium is a country squeezed between the Netherlands and France. Just knowing the geographic location and a little bit of history explains the language issue (see below). But we won't bother you with boring history lessons. Simply check out Wikipedia for more facts and history about Belgium.
We're just here to talk about the fun stuff… The stuff that is really interesting to travellers and backpackers. The stuff you need to know when planning a trip to Belgium.
Language: Flemish (Dutch) and French
Belgium is really divided into two language areas: the upper part (close to the Netherlands) speaks Flemish (Dutch) while the southern part (close to France) speaks French. Oh and there's a small part of the country where they speak German, but let's not get into that.
Drinks: beer, good beer, and great craft beer
There are so many breweries in the country and they produce some of the best craft beers around. Ordinary beers like Jupiler, Duvel, and La Chouffe but also craft beers like Struise, Boon or Westvleteren (some say it's the best beer in the world) and many many more. Make sure you visit either a (craft beer) brewery on your next trip to Belgium or go to a pub for a beer tasting.
Food: good stuff you thought came from another country
Chips (or fries for our American fans) and waffles are just two of the snacks that have made Belgium famous. The thick cut Belgian chips are eaten with Belgian mayonnaise (with a lemony after-taste) and/or “stoofvlees” (stew). Delicious and greasy, but not to be missed.
And the waffles? They're sweet and delicious. These are available from street vendors or in bars and restaurants. Have them with plain (don't mess with perfection) or add whipped cream or fresh fruit. Want to taste more from the menu in Belgium? Check out this list of typical Belgian snacks and dishes.
Lifestyle: more French than Dutch
Less stress and more relaxed than the Dutch. The Belgian lifestyle is more in line with the Bourgeois lifestyle of the French. For instance, they take their time for lunch and dinner. You can really sit down and enjoy a meal in Belgium. No need to rush. Order a few more drinks, chat amongst each other and enjoy the delicious food. It's slow-food at its best.
As soon as you cross the border by car you know you're in Belgium. Roads can be a bit less maintained or less sophisticated than in other European countries. Also in the cities, you'll notice the typical Belgian road pavement called “kasseien” (cobbles).
Serious about football: Go Red Devils!
It took the Belgian national team (called the Red Devils) a while to gain success at a major football tournament, like the FIFA World Cup. In the past years they are performing (really) well. It seems now that Belgium is no longer a divided country, as the whole country is supporting the national team. And they are ready for the upcoming FIFA Worldcup in Russia.
Watch FIFA Worldcup online: cheer for Belgium
Are you ready for the Worldcup football games? Which team will you support? We'll be cheering for Belgium. The Red Devils are our favourite team. Just like Belgium is one of our favourite countries to visit.
Having trouble watching the FIFA Worldcup games on your favourite live stream? Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and you can watch it like at home. As travellers, we always rely on such a software solution to be able to watch live streams while on the road.
As you'll be able to change your location (have the stream think you are in country XYZ) by using an easy-to-use and cheap solution like a VPN you watch live streams, TV or movies like at home. We always use it to watch live streams from all these awesome festivals in Europe. Some of them have geoblocking on their streams but a VPN will take care of it.
Enjoy watching the FIFA Worldcup. Go Belgium!