Belgium, so close yet so different

Like the Netherlands, Belgium is located on the North Sea. In addition to the Netherlands, it borders Germany, Luxembourg and France.

  • General information
  • Towns
  • Nature
  • Climate and best time to travel to Belgium
  • Travel documents
  • Health
  • Euro
  • Flemish, French and German
  • Three language boundaries

 

General information

  • Continent: Europe
  • Original name: Kingdom of Belgium
  • Language: Flemish, French and German
  • Currency: Euro

 

Towns

Brussels

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is also known for Manneke Pis. The small statue is a world-class attraction. The city is very suitable for culture lovers. Brussels is also often considered the capital of Europe. Brussels is the administrative center of the European Union. Brussels is an old, cultural city. The city is also located on the border of the Flemish and French parts of Belgium, which means there are many different cultures. Brussels is also seen as the capital of comic strips, because many famous comic book heroes were created in the city. That is why there is of course also a Comic Strip Museum. Besides comics, Brussels has much more to offer. There are many sights. You can go to the Grote Markt, where it is always fun. Or go and see the Atomium, which is also seen as the Eiffel Tower of Brussels. At the foot of the Atomium is an amusement park, the Bruparck, which is divided into four parts. Museum enthusiasts have a lot to see in Brussels. Not only is there the Comic Strip Museum, but you can also take a look at the BELvue Museum, which is located in the Royal Palace. There are also four museums that are connected and together are called the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. Brussels is a very suitable city for shopping. The center of Brussels exudes conviviality and there is always something to do.

Other cities

Antwerp is the second city in Belgium and also the largest city in the Flemish part. The city is known for its large port. In Bruges you can find the tastiest chocolate and you will find many medieval buildings. The oldest city in Belgium is Tongeren, with buildings from the Germanic period. Also nice are cities such as Ghent, Leuven and Liège.

Nature

The Ardennes is a mountain range in the southeast of Belgium. You can do many activities there, or just enjoy the surroundings. The caves of Han-Sur-Lesse are world famous and attract more than 500,000 people every year. Bouchout Park is a park with the largest collection of living plants in Europe. Park Paradiso is a harbor where more than 2500 bird species occur.

Climate and best time to travel to Belgium

The climate of Belgium can be compared to the climate of the Netherlands. The best temperature is usually during the summer months. It is often best to travel to Belgium during this period. However, many people prefer to travel to Belgium in spring or autumn, because then you are outside the high season and the temperature is still reasonable. In summer it can be between 12 and 23 degrees and in winter it is usually between 0 and 6 degrees. In the mountainous region of the Ardennes it can generally be warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. It can rain in Belgium especially in the months of April and November, but there is also a chance of rain in other months.

Travel documents

You do not need a visa to visit Belgium. The only thing you need is a valid Dutch passport or ID. You always need this, even if you travel through Belgium by car and do not go to the country by plane. The same applies to the train and bus. Do you not have a Dutch identity? Then it is best to contact the embassy for more information.

Health

The health of Belgium is comparable to that of the Netherlands. You do not need any vaccinations when visiting Belgium and you can drink the water from the tap without any problems. Medical care in Belgium is excellent. The doctors know their stuff. There are hospitals and general practitioners everywhere. If you have health insurance, you as a traveler can receive treatment free of charge.

Euro

The official currency of Belgium is the Euro. This means that you will not be bothered by exchange rates for a trip to Belgium. You will find ATMs everywhere in Belgium. You can also use the credit card almost anywhere. You can exchange travellers’ checks, but this is not really recommended for travelers from the Netherlands, as this costs a lot of money in bank charges. Most banks are open on weekdays.

Flemish, French and German

There are two languages in Belgium. In the north they speak Flemish, also known as Dutch. And in the south people speak French. In the far east people speak German. In the north you can speak Dutch perfectly, but in the south this can sometimes cause some problems and it may be better to speak French. Although most Walloons also know a word of Dutch. People who speak German can usually also speak some Dutch.

Three language boundaries

Belgium has three different languages, namely Flemish in the north and French in the south. German is spoken in the far east. This dates back to the time when the Franks displaced the Celts and Gauls to the south of the country. The language differences in Belgium have actually always remained the same. Brussels is one of the few cities in the world where two official languages are spoken, because the city is located in the center of the country.

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