Belgium / the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, as well as those of several other major international organisations such as
NATO. Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi), and it has a population of about
11 million people. Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups, the Dutch-speakers, mostly Flemish, and the French-speakers, mostly Walloons, plus a small group of German-speakers. Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish
Region. A small German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.
Compact enough to be covered in a week and spirited enough to count as one of Europe's most under-rated destinations, Belgium does many things well, not least winning over sceptical visitors. If all that comes to mind is waffles and EU bureaucracy, then the reality - with its frothing beer, medieval steeples and simmering cultural mix - will be a pleasant wake-up call.
True, Brussels has more than its share of faceless political buildings, but take a closer look and you'll find a dynamic city big on café living and Art Nouveau, while Antwerp and (particularly) Bruges are both custom-made for picture postcards, the pair of them rich with finely crafted Middle Ages architecture. The country itself is split into two sections - Flanders (the predominantly Dutch-speaking north) and Wallonia (the predominantly French-speaking south) - which, when taken together, add up to a visitor package far greater in scope than Belgium is generally given credit for.
The Flemish speak Dutch and the Walloons speak French.
In Brussels, the capital, both languages are spoken. But to make it easy, everybody speaks English, albeit with an accent.
Why should you come to Belgium? Because
it is the best kept secret in Europe. Visiting medieval cities,
quaint towns, gothic cathedrals and town halls, castles and carillons
will keep you busy during the day. At night go to a pub, there
are more than 350 delicious beers to chose from. The reputation
of our gourmet food makes the French jealous and it is almost
impossible to find chocolates as good as ours !