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Tim
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xx Belgian Culture
« Thread started on: Jan 30th, 2004, 11:38pm »

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Belgian Culture

Belgium, one of the most historically important regions of Europe, has been a cultural gem for centuries. Now the capital of the European Union this small, yet important nation has contributed significantly to the arts, commerce and culinary appetite of the world. Approximately the size of Maryland, Belgium has a temperate climate with mild winters and cool summers.

Both geography and a reasonable growing season led to Belgium's preminence and leadership in the production of world class beer. The diversity of beer styles and the growth of cottage industry brewing began in earnest, some say, as early as the ninth century in the small towns of central Belgium.

Beer is not Belgium's sole claim to celebrity, of course. Famous painters, entreprenurs, musicians, religious and political leaders and scholars have all emerged as cultural influences. Visit our links to the right to learn more.

Location:
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands.
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Population:
10,309,725(2002)

Ethnic groups:
Fleming 55% Walloon 33% Other 12%

Government type:
Federal Parlimentary Democracy under a Constitutional Monarch

Chief of State
King ALBERT II (since 9 August 1993); Heir Apparent Prince PHILIPPE, son of the Monarch

Head of Government
Guy Verhofstadt (since 12 July 1999)

Religious Diversity:
Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25%

Languages
Flemish 56%, French 32%, German 1%

Comics
Tintin - famous comic strip character by Belgian artist George Remi, alias Herge.

Cuisine

Belgium has more Michelin starred restaurants than France. Belgium has the most gastronomically intriguing beers of any nation in the world, and the most highly evolved and elaborated "cuisine a la biere.(cooking with beer)"


Chocolates

Belgium is famous for its wide variety of great chocolate.
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Belgium is an active competetor in the diamond trade, and possess some of the world largest and most beatiful diamonds

The Arts
Painting, Sculpture & Architecture.

Popular Culture

Belgian Radio
In the Flemish part of Belgium there are two kinds of radio stations. The public stations, which are part of the BRTN (Belgian Radio and Television), and approx. 330 local radio stations. Yes, you've read it right : no commercial national stations ! 61% of the daily listeners tune in to one of the six public stations (Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio Donna, Studio Brussels and Radio Vlaanderen International) .The BRTN owns 78% of the market. The local radio stations (which have a theoretical broadcast-radius of 8 km./5 miles) own 18% of the market.

Pigeon Racing
Racing Pigeons, or Homers, have an august and rich history in Belgium; It is a national pastime.
Belgian children learn the sport like American boys learn Baseball. An estimated 60,000 adult fanciers value their racing pigeons as prize possessions., housing them in pigeonniers, lofts that often resemble miniature mansions, and competing in races of up to 600 miles with purses approaching one million dollars.

Lace
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History of Belgian Rock
Belgian chocolate, Belgian lace, Belgian beer, yes, but Belgian rock music? Isn't rock from Belgium about as unexpected as fish from Austria or mountain biking in the Netherlands? And yet, several Belgian bands have achieved high critical acclaim abroad, not only in Europe, but also in the United States.



What do you think?
« Last Edit: Jan 30th, 2004, 11:39pm by Tim » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #1 on: Jan 31st, 2004, 9:52pm »

Well you learn something new every day. The only parts I knew about where the beer, and to a substancially greater extent the chocolate grin I certainly didn't know about their interest in diamonds, or that they had more 'Michelin starred restaurants than France' (though as I've never been to either and have limited knowledge on either, generally France is supposed to have the most 'top-notch' restaurants... Belgium isn't the first word that comes into one's head).

So, what prompted this interest in Belgium?
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #2 on: Jan 31st, 2004, 10:07pm »

Well I was longing to make a new culture thread, because we only have a couple. And it is hard to find "a good lot of basic information". I didn't want to post pages and pages of historical background and such.

I was watching the Australian Open tennis women's final, and it was Kim Cligsters vs Jutine Hennin-Hardenne, who were both Belgian, so thats where the country came from smiley

These European countries are so much more cultured and intersting than Australia I dare say.
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #3 on: Feb 1st, 2004, 7:30pm »

Heh, they say, 'grass is always greener', don't they? I guess what you're used to doesn't seem so unique. But I've heard Americans, Dutch, Danish etc on forums talking about how they'd love to go to Britain.... for the culture huh. Doesn't seem so interesting to me...
Though to be honest, I can't say I've paid Belgium much thought, well, ever, except for when looking at WW1&2.
Then again, maybe I'm just too close to Europe to really think of the Western nations as any more cultured than here. Though their chocolate is excellent tongue
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #4 on: Feb 1st, 2004, 11:49pm »

Thats true.

My Dad has been to Belgium so he was talking about it to us. He said the culture is great and the food and stuff, but scenically its not a great land and as such. Flat country.

I'd like to go to Belgium and the other European countries some time, maybe backpacking.
« Last Edit: Feb 1st, 2004, 11:50pm by Tim » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #5 on: Feb 2nd, 2004, 11:45pm »

Belgian joke: "Q: How many people work at the European Union?
A: About a third of them."
Belgians also get the title for: The worst development of historical cities in the world. They knocked down a medieval church to make way for a parking lot. They also have an historic cathedral the size of Salisbury (the church, not the entire place) around which was built another concrete carpark. In order to widen roads in Brussels, they knocked down more historic architecture. But apparently they have great museums and certain parts of Brussells have been preserved.
Oh, and the Belgian guy on "World Idol" really sucked.
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #6 on: Feb 3rd, 2004, 01:34am »

Thats something I didn't know.
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #7 on: Feb 3rd, 2004, 11:37pm »

Neither did I, until I found out.
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A journalist (to W.S. Gilbert): How's Bloodygore coming along?
W.S.G.: It's not Bloodygore! It's Ruddigore.
Journalist: Oh well, it's the same thing!
W.S.G.: So I suppose if I say I admire your ruddy countenance, it's the same as saying I like your bloody cheek?! Well it isn't. And I don't.
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #8 on: Feb 7th, 2004, 5:38pm »

Ooo, crushing historical monuments under car parks... guess where I'm not going for my holidays grin

Quote:
Oh, and the Belgian guy on "World Idol" really sucked.


That's not entirely fair. EVERYONE on World Idol really sucked wink
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #9 on: Feb 9th, 2004, 02:04am »

too true wink
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #10 on: Feb 9th, 2004, 9:45pm »

Quote:
maybe backpacking


I'm sorry, I didn't notice you said that before: don't include Britain in your list of European backpacking destinations. Britain's sterotyped climate is not entirely wrong... I wouldn't want to spend long outside at certain times of year, and I'm used to it :S You ever come here with backpacking in mind... rent a car, lol. It can be sunny one minute, then a blizzard the next... in fact, that happened here this weekend...
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #11 on: Feb 10th, 2004, 01:50am »

Well maybe I'll visit England later in my life when(if) I have the money. I'd like to to visit anyway.
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #12 on: Feb 13th, 2004, 10:02pm »

Tintin is cool too. His dog doesn't even bark. It says "Woah".

Which part of England do you live in, Thoth?
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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #13 on: Feb 14th, 2004, 11:40pm »

Quote:
Tintin is cool too. His dog doesn't even bark. It says "Woah".



Lol, my dogs don't bark either, they wail and howl and yelp until my ears fall off. In fact, they make every noise imaginable except 'woof'... huh


Quote:
Which part of England do you live in, Thoth?


If you put a pin on the centre of the British mainland, you'd hit my house. A place called Telford, in Shropshire. It's slightly over an hour's drive from the Welsh border. Or 271 hours by public transport, whichever's good for you grin
« Last Edit: Feb 14th, 2004, 11:41pm by Thoth » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Belgian Culture
« Reply #14 on: Feb 15th, 2004, 01:15am »

hah, what is the place like?
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