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March 19, 2013 / neiltheseal85

Belgium is the strangest country in the world

“If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn’t, so it doesn’t.”

That’s how Colin Farrell described Bruges – or as he generally referred to it: “fucking Bruges” – In the 2008 film titled, strangely enough, In Bruges. Although Colin Farrell was only referring to one city, perhaps the same thing could be said about Belgium as a whole. Belgium is a strange and often forgotten little country which is famous mostly for unleashing Jean-Claude Van Damme onto the world and not much else. Sure they have waffles, chocolates and Tintin but really, what else is there?


There’s these

Whenever anybody says that they are going to Belgium, the standard response is generally “why?”. this may be because, according to some people, Belgium isn’t even a “real country”. It may also be because Belgium is a strange little country caught in-between neighbours that are far more interesting. Who in their right mind would go to Belgium when France, Germany, the UK and even the Netherlands are right there?


Pictured: not a real country

1 – The most boring place in the world

According to pretty much everybody, Belgium is a boring place. Even the Belgians agree and according to a recent survey, 60% of Belgians wish that they were born somewhere else.

Jeremy Clarkson – aka the mean one from Top Gear – did a (hilarious) documentary a few years back where he travelled to the UK’s neighbouring countries and took the piss out of them. In one episode Jeremy wanders the streets asking the locals whether they were glad to be born Belgian. He is absolutely shocked when after interviewing many people, he finds just one guy who is happy being Belgian. Even the guy dressed as a penguin preferred his status as a penguin to that of being Belgian.

Better than being Belgian

Better than being Belgian

Many countries are famous for having a national sport. Brazil is known for soccer, the Spanish are renowned for acting stupidly around bulls, and France is known for surrendering to the Germans. While Belgium doesn’t necessarily have a “national sport” they do really have some strange ones. If you believe Jeremy Clarkson, a typical Saturday in Belgium, usually involves a game which he calls “shit yourself rich”. This sport involves dividing a field up into an imaginary grid and everybody betting on where the cow will “have its first shit”. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below if you want a laugh.


2 – The culinary delights

If we learned anything from Pulp Fiction it taught us a really good place to hide a watch, and that they do things differently in Europe. In one scene, John Travolta is sitting in a car telling Samuel L Jackson all about a “Royale with cheese” and the metric system.

Vincent: You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of  ketchup?

Jules: What?

Vincent: Mayonnaise.

Jules: Goddamn.

Vincent: I’ve seen em do it, man. They fuckin’ drown em in that shit.

What John Travolta/Vincent neglected to mention, is that the Belgians also love to drown their chips in Mayonnaise, in fact they practically invented it. Belgian chip kiosks often come with a wall of mayonnaise and sauce dispensers. After ordering your chips, which is simple enough, you are then expected to submerge your lunch under your choice of mayonnaise.

Would you like fries with that?

Would you like fries with that?

In fact fried potatoes are so popular in Belgium that it is considered their national dish. Moules-frites or mussels and fries may seem like a strange combination, but you try telling that to a Belgian.

They also eat this, whatever it's supposed to be

They also eat this, whatever it’s supposed to be

Belgium is also world famous for its strange and often highly alcoholic beers. Every town seems to have its own brewery (or several) and a surprisingly large number of these are brewed by monks who have taken a vow of silence, however in true Belgian style, the weirdness does not stop there. What is more strange than a bunch of religious guys silently making beer, is the names they give those beers. Of course there is the famous Hoegaarden, which in English sounds like… know. There are also others such as: Duvel (which means devil), Judas, Satan, Silly, Dulle Teve (which means mad bitch) and Delerium Tremens (which is what you will get from drinking too many of these) just to name a few.

3 – They hate themselves

Belgium has a total of three official languages, which for a country of around 11 million people is a real achievement  It is also an excellent way of making sure that nobody gets along. The northern half all speak Flemish (not phlegm-ish) which is just a fancy way of saying Dutch, while the bottom half speak French and a very small part of the population speaks German. To complicate things further, the capital Brussels and the region surrounding it is bilingual in Dutch and French, which means that all of the street signs must be in both languages. This may seem like it makes perfect sense, but often it results in some rather nonsensical repetition of words that are the same in both languages.

Gee I'm glad they translated that

Gee I’m glad they translated that

While the bilingual (or trilingual) thing may not initially seem like an issue, you can trust the Belgians to make it one. It seems that the French and Dutch hate each other so much – and everybody hates the Germans – that nobody can agree on anything. Since the Belgians can’t even decide on what to name a street, it’s not that surprising really that they can’t decide on a government either. The country currently holds the world record for not having a government. Which brings me to…

4 – Their government (or lack of it)

On February 17 in 2011, Belgium broke the world record for having no government (well really it was for going the longest period of time without having a new government voted in after an election). The country’s different language groups just can’t seem to get along about anything. After an election in 2010, the Belgians did what they were best at and disagreed to the point where no government could be formed. This carried on for some time, but after 249 days without a government, the Belgian people decided enough was enough and marched into the streets to spark a revolution.

Generally, when countries stage revolutions, they can often turn out to be violent and bloody. People march into the streets – or onto Twitter – and demand change. However in Belgium’s case – as with everything they do – their revolution was a little, well, different.


The Belgians held a ceremony, to celebrate eight government-free months and the handing over of the world record from the previous record holders, the Iraqis, to the Belgians. Now, before you accuse the Belgians of not taking this situation seriously, you should realise that more drastic steps were taken. On the same night, began the “Fries Revolution”. Belgians marched into the streets and angrily ate fries to protest their lack of government.

Surprisingly, this “revolution” did not have the desired result of  ending the political stalemate and forming a new government. Which is odd really, because what better way is there to say “we are angry” than to march into the streets and eat chips? In fact it wasn’t until much later that that actually happened.

Feel my wrath

I am angry!

It wasn’t until a full 541 days of negotiations that a new government was finally elected. And the person that they finally elected  to run the country could  barely even speak Dutch! Which shouldn’t really matter as it’s only spoken by around 60% of the population.

5 – The monuments

Some countries are so famous for their monuments that you can’t mentally the place from the landmark. Who could imagine France without the Eiffel Tower coming to mind, or Egypt without the pyramids? Belgium however is not one of those countries.

Perhaps Belgium’s most famous “monument” (I use that term lightly) is the pint-sized fountain Manneken Pis. Some of you out there who (like me) are particularly immature would look at the name and say something intelligent, along the lines of: “Haha, it has the word piss in it”. Well, if you laughed at the name of the statue, don’t feel alone, the city of Brussels – the country’s CAPITAL – is laughing along with you.

Haha, he is weeing

That’s right, Manneken Pis is a statue of a little boy pissing. Before you think that this is some random statue in an out of the way corner of the city, think again. Manneken Pis, the little boy pissing into a fountain, is actually the symbol of Brussels. In addition to this insanity, the residents of Brussels regularly dress up little Manneken to celebrate special occasions and there is even a museum that houses over 800 of his outfits.

Following in this proud tradition, Brussels also recently introduced a female counterpart to Manneken Pis: Jeanekke Pis. This statue of a little girl squatting was erected in 1987 and, like her male counterpart, little Jeanekke is also a functioning fountain which “urinates” water with a look of apparent joy, literally etched onto her face.

Grow up belgium

Grow up Belgium

Another weird monument can be found in Antwerp, the Flemish capital of Belgium. Antwerp’s main square boats a large statue of a man named Brabo cutting off a giant’s hand. Of course, as it is apparently compulsory in Belgium, the statue is a fountain and water gushes out of the giant’s severed hand as if it was created by Quentin Tarantino. In fact, this statue is so central to Antwerp’s identiy as a city that many believe that this is how the city got its name. The Dutch name for the city: Antwerpen, apparently comes from the combination of the words “hand” and “werpen” meaning “hand throw”.

Let's name our city after this

Let’s name our city after this

I could go on forever about the weird and wonderful monuments in this crazy little county but I will try to wrap this up. Other cities too boast strange monuments, such as Ghent’s cannon with a stuffed toy inside, Bruges with its mysterious upside-down cannon and and Brussels’ Atomium which is is an indescribable large silver monument of sticks and balls.


Concluding comments.

Before I finish, I would just like to ask you the reader a quick question. Without checking Wikipedia, do you know what Belgium’s national anthem is? The answer is La Brabançonne. If you couldn’t answer that don’t worry you’re not alone. The former Belgian prime minister doesn’t know the national anthem either.

If anybody ever made a film documenting the history of Belgium, it would have to be narrated by Inspector Clouseau.

Did this article make you angry? Then you should read “Belgium, the country that can’t take a joke”.



Leave a Comment
  1. David Copham / May 29 2016 8:11 am

    Belgium is perhaps the world’s most misunderstood nation, but also one of its most fascinating, punching far above its weight in all sorts of ways. With three official languages, and an intense regional rivalry between the Flemish-speaking north and the French-speaking south that perpetually threatens to split the country in two, it’s actually a miracle that Belgium exists at all. But its historic cities – most famously Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent – are the equal of any in Europe; and its cuisine is reason alone to justify a visit, with a host of wonderful regional specialities. Belgium also boasts some pockets of truly beautiful countryside in its hilly, wooded south and the flatter north – and, perhaps most famously, it produces the most diverse range of beers of any country on the planet. Many outsiders view Belgium as good weekend-break material, but not much else – which is a pity, as this is historically one of the most complex and intriguing parts of Europe. Squeezed in between France, Germany and the Netherlands, Belgium occupies a spot that has often decided the European balance of power. It was here that the Romans shared an important border with the Germanic tribes to the north; here that the Spanish Habsburgs finally met their match in the Protestant rebels of the Netherlands; here that Napoleon was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo; and – most famously – here, too, that the British and Belgians slugged it out with the Germans in World War I. Indeed so many powers have had an interest in this region that it was only in 1830 that Belgium became a separate, independent state.

    Read more:

  2. NoFuckGiven / Jun 6 2016 8:10 pm

    Who gives a shit about a nobody stating an opinion on a site nobody ever visits anyway.

  3. kate / Jul 16 2016 4:06 am

    Sorry but I do not like Belgium or the attitudes- the culture is either catholic religion or atheist… very chauvinistic and if I said that in Belgium I would be breaking a law. all they eat is meat and fries and drink beer. incest also seems to be prevalent and pedophilia among catholic priests

    • mentalparadoxTim / Aug 18 2016 12:50 pm

      Judging by your attitude towards people with a faith (or lack thereof) differing from your own, perhaps a country with more bigots in it would be more your thing, indeed.

  4. francoise2016 / Jul 30 2016 3:34 am

    Belgians? They are the worst racist ever!
    Here the human zoo and the African kid in the cage!

    • Sarah / Sep 21 2016 9:23 am

      “Damn all Germans are murders because Hitler was a German!” I know an idiot and non-true comment. Just like yours.

  5. Moru / Aug 16 2016 5:48 am

    The title is a bit confusing .. apparently the writer has not been to so many countries in the world .. well I have been to like 13 european countries and I lived in Portugal, Belgium and now in Norway .. I should say that Belgium is the best among the other two .. and I totally disagree with many of the things mentioned in the post .. probably the writer has encountered a bad experience in Belgium for one reason or another .. but it can happen anywhere .. and it doesn’t give someone the right to underestimate someone’s else country or culture .. viva Belgium 🙂

    • memyselfandI / Aug 16 2016 6:53 am

      Has anyone ever noticed that besides Belgium’s famous exports of fries, chocolates and beer they also internationally renowned for their astronomical taxes, pedophilia and terrorism?

      Wow… I mean, WOW! I guess the fries and mayonnaise must be really THAT awesome to justify living in that sh*thole.

      • mentalparadoxTim / Aug 18 2016 12:56 pm

        The taxes are high, but what we get in return is worth it. Taxes are even higher in Scandinavian countries, and they are among the most prosperous on Earth.

        The terrorist issue a real one, our government is lax and lets in migrants without too many (if any) background checks. We have entire ghettos of Muslims were extremists can plan attacks and the police dare not venture.

        Pedophilia, I have no idea what you are talking about. Dutroux? He was arrested. That was ONE guy. It may have been a high-profile case, but I’m know for a fact many other countries have pedophiles, and to suggest pedophilia is somehow more of an issue here than anywhere else makes no rational sense. The priests? Blame the church, not the country. State and church are separate, you know.

        • John / Aug 18 2016 5:56 pm

          Agreed, the pedophilia issue is not really specific to Belgium and has more to do with human nature than the country itself.

          Same with the terrorism thing, to a lesser extent perhaps, more a geopolitical thing, made worse by the social-democratic local BRU governments laziness & greed coupled with lacklustre police governance.

          Not sure how you figure that what we get ‘back’ for the high taxes are worth it…
          You get sucked dry by a mafia-state who need all these high taxes to fund their own passive public servants, so in the end there are no funds left for the middle classes anymore – roads, public convenience, cultural funding, sports infrastructure…. all things in which BE is severly lacking compared to it’s LOWER-Taxed neighbours

  6. John / Aug 17 2016 7:10 pm

    But why really care about the beer, chocolates or castles (what a totally inane fact to promote a country with, btw) when some of the BASICS of quality life are lacking?

    Unless you ARE actually Belgian yourself and well integrated into the social scene, you will be met with skepticism and often even passive-aggressive xenophobia by most locals.

    Culturally, Belgium is severely lacking compared to its European cousins, opportunities to discover music (other than summer festivals), theatre, exotic cuisine or other cultures are very limited and this seems to go hand in hand with a very uninterested worldly outlook shared by the Belgian people.

    Nobody is concerned with improving anything, it is the ultimate European mediocrity. Everyone has to fit into the same pre-approved, generic mould, and this makes for a rather unsatisfying social life for anyone interested in more than just soaps, reality TV and discussions on who has the nicest house/car.

    So much money is spent on keeping all the silly individual governments going that no funds are left to actually improve infrastructure or life for the tax-paying people.

    And by the way I have lived in BE for 25yrs, speak the language, have a normal job (no EU commission etc) and married into a Belgian family, I’m not exactly speaking as an expat here, and my views are shared by many open-minded Belgians, incidentally.
    in the

    • mentalparadoxTim / Aug 18 2016 1:01 pm

      “And by the way I have lived in BE for 25yrs, speak the language, have a normal job (no EU commission etc) and married into a Belgian family, I’m not exactly speaking as an expat here, and my views are shared by many open-minded Belgians, incidentally.”

      Suuure. You sound like the average small-minded American, crapping on smaller countries to make yourself feel better. Oh, aren’t you clever. What’d you expect for an arrogant post like that? A medal?

      If the country is so bad, why don’t you get out? And divorce your “wife” while you’re at it, as you clearly think she belongs to an inferior breed.

      • John / Aug 18 2016 5:37 pm

        Lange tenen, Tim? Certainly looks like it. Another Vlaming who can’t take any criticism?

        I also did all my secondary schooling and higher edu in Belgium, at (Flemish speaking) Belgian institutions, incidentally, and have grown up in several EU countries so the ‘crapping on smaller countries just for the hell of it’ just doesn’t really compute.
        You’ll have to find a different foreigner insult – surely you’re smarter than that & can do better than ‘small minded Yank’??

        Your country has some intrinsic, ground level cultural dysfunctions. And sure, every country has these, but is that a good reason to NOT try to improve anything?! Being blind to (and terrified of) criticism is part of what got Belgium into the mess it currently finds itself.

        Belgium indeed has plenty of positives (see above for your compatriots’ harping on about the beer, architecture, music festivals & all the other ‘essential’ things for a fulfilling life…), mainly healthcare and a good work/private life balance, but the negatives are slowly starting to outweigh some of your countries benefits I’m afraid.

        And if you can’t see it then it just validates my point, really. Doe je ogen es open, Tim!

  7. mentalparadoxTim / Aug 18 2016 1:03 pm

    Just another arrogant foreigner coming to crap on things he does not understand.

  8. annebillson / Aug 18 2016 8:01 pm

    Actually, Belgium is pretty cool. Dr. Evil is half-Belgian.
    Also has the best bars (and the best beer) in western Europe.

  9. Bruno / Aug 19 2016 3:34 am

    After having read the full text, I would have to say congratulations for an analysis that is, as far as the political points are concerned, quite correct. But let’s not discuss the taste in food or monuments, that is not relevant to the fact that belgium is not a nice place to live in.

    One thing you might want to add: the multitude of governments and sheer number of politicians (try making a headcount) means that belgium is a (pardon my French) fckng banana country where honest hard working people have to give more than half of their income to all sorts of taxes. No I am not kidding: more than half. I’m an accountant working in belgium after all, so I know what I’m talking about.

    Add to that a justice department not worth the name “justice” (it’s not worth a capital J and neither is the word “belgium”). Indeed, drive a bit too fast on a freeway and you get a fine in your mailbox a few days later. But murder innocent children (like marc dutroux did) and it takes several years for “justice” department to reach a verdict. And then it’s even likely he will get out sooner or later. Procedural mistakes ensure drug dealers simply walk free – a few years ago a gang of 46 drug dealers simply walked free because the procedure for phone taps was not justified enough, altough the proofs gathered by other means were convincing enough. Employees working for the belgian state, for instance police officers, inform me that they have to buy computers and printers themselves instead of being issued their material by their employer (after all, belgian law states that an employer has to provide employees with the material necessary for them to do their jobs)

    I am frankly ASHAMED to have belgian nationality. I wish indeed I was born somewhere else.

    I will soon be moving out. I really had it here. I don’t know where yet, but I’m sure I WILL get the hell out of this banana country. And pay an honest ad justified percentage of taxes in another country.

    Ah yes, for people abroad reading this, try the following. Go to any browser and type “” (that means See where you arrive after that 🙂

    Have a nice day 🙂

  10. Clair Compeau / Sep 4 2016 3:12 am

    Merely wanna say that this is extremely helpful, Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  11. linjiang@wonder / Sep 13 2016 3:20 am

    This is really amusing, there are so many other things like the enormous amount of company cars, crazy traffic and people come from a village, go to college in big(ger) cities and then afterwards buying a house in the village again…

    In general I like Belgians a lot, I just finished writing an article about the difference in people from Flanders and Wallonia, feel free to have a look here:


  12. Max / Sep 21 2016 9:12 am

    Dude.. seriously.. even I know that Belgium is known for its fries. Fries are originally from Belgium and not from France.
    And I have no idea where you did you’re research from but some things that are written in this article are not 100% correct.

    • Max / Sep 21 2016 9:13 am

      Your research*

  13. Saartje / Sep 23 2016 12:47 am

    I don’t really get why some belgian posts are about the writer and him being racist, I’m from Belgium myself and I thought that there was nothing really wrong about the writer, he just has very stereotypical opinions but he brings them in a funny way, I got worked up from the comments, they were much worse and they looked like they were 320% serious (they probably were) xD

    Sorry for my English (I’m only a 15yo girl from Belgium xP)

  14. xyerlinx / Oct 8 2016 10:21 pm

    Seems like this lil’ shit only looked up the bad things about Belgium and just ignored the rest. Well… I wouldn’t really know either what to do if i was a little bitch like this person. I think wasting my time bc obviously i don’t have a life was a good idea 😉

  15. Mortensen / Dec 11 2016 2:21 am

    A useless country indeed! As well as Holand! Why would you want to go to Holand for? Crap cheese, crap beer, crap everything. I might understand that though, if you are a junkie or you can’t pull a girl. So, the only way you can have a feel of what having girl(friend) feels like, is through a prostitute. Then, in that case, Holand the place for you!

  16. Manon / Jan 22 2017 10:25 am

    I’m from Belgium, and I have to say, half of this article is crap…
    – Belgian people don’t have a national sport, but we don’t play the game ‘shit yourself rich’,
    actually we play a lot of soccer, but we call it football (voetbal).
    – French fries are from Belgium. When the Belgians invented French fries, Belgium wasn’t independent and it was a part of France. And about the mayonnaise, it’s a good combination, but i like Andalouse sauce even more, in Belgium we have a LOT of sauces.
    -Mussels and French fries are like the BEST thing ever, you should try it!!
    -Okay, so we have 3 languages. But, like that is a good thing…
    Like in our schools we speak perfectly French, and get in Elementary school.
    – I have to say that we don’t have a spectacular monument, but we do have beatiful architecture, this is a link to a really nice place in Brussels :
    -The niveau in school is really nice and we get a lot of languages
    So, I get that it was also a little best sarcasm in the article, but for the ones that take it too seriously…

    Thanks xx

  17. beuterstuete / Jan 28 2017 4:23 pm

    Belgium is the best place in the world wth the best chocolate,the best beer and the best food,and let’s not forget,the best social security system…my mother-in-law used to be french (yucky) and she changed her nationality to belgian because she has a way bigger retirement-pension over here.My wife used to be muslim,now happily atheist,no problem around here,they won’t chop off her head because of that,I myself I worked for 15 years,even though I had a TBI in 1992,a few years ago I quit my job for medical reasons and now I am taken care of by the state who gives me aa stunning 2400 euros to stay at home,medicare is almost free,I pay 1 euro for a doctor’s visit and I drive a young Merceds-Benz….and by the way,I put as much mayonnaise on my fries as I want to…

  18. Thomas Crohain / Mar 2 2017 9:41 am

    We can do nothing for you, all is completly false. Travel dude!

    Guess a Trump supporter.

  19. Pet collar online / Mar 15 2017 8:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing such great post about cats. The social adaptations of dogs and humans are same enough that pets can live perfectly happy lives surrounded by humans and vice versa. Dogs are pampered with the best of food and medical care, frequently sleeping in their owners’ comfortable beds.

  20. Perry Mason / Apr 13 2017 2:57 am

    it is funny because it is true. Only good thing is the health care system, rest it just plain crap. It is really sad people defending the gastronomy here when it is absolutely crap.

    • merewynne / Apr 13 2017 4:54 am

      The health care system is “good”??? You mean the one that f**ked up my knee so bad I needed 3 surgeries and they still didn’t get it right? Say thank you to the “specialist” of all wallonia for that one… I’m still paying for that massive f**k-up. Or you mean the system that makes you wait 6 months minimum to see a specialist for an urgent (but not emergency) need?

      Thank God I left that country… I now can see whatever PROPERLY TRAINED doctor I need with very little wait, if any.

      For those of us who work our a**es off, paying into socialist systems and not getting anything back when you really need it… well, it just sucks big time hairy donkey balls.

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