31 Belgian History Facts: Learn About The Chocolate Haven

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 23, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Dec 08, 2021
Belgian history facts often intrigue people.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.9 Min

Belgium is a small yet wonderful country - you must know Belgium's history facts to understand it better.

Belgium shares its borders with France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany. Belgium houses the headquarters for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union.

It is a haven for those who love chocolate. There are special varieties that can be savored there in person.

Coming from small towns the taste is amazing. Get to know a lot more about beer in Belgium and Belgian food. You can devour Belgian chocolate or hot chocolate, crisp french fries with mayonnaise and ketchup on the side, or relish Belgian waffles.

There is a rich culture to be explored. The architecture is unique to this area and its surroundings. The Renaissance left an impression here on the lifestyle and more. All this can be experienced better when one visits this lovely country. The North Sea offers a great view and also a settlement of French-speaking people.

The official name of this country is the Kingdom of Belgium. Belgium is run by a Federal parliamentary democracy followed by a constitutional monarchy. The capital city is Brussels and there are around 11,570,762 people who live there.

Belgium has three official languages Dutch, French, and German. The currency you will need to buy stuff will be Euros. Belgium is around 11,787 sq. mi. (30,528 sq. km.) in total area. This is among the smallest in Western Europe.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about Belgian food facts or Benin facts here on Kidadl?

Reasons When And Why Belgium Was Created

Belgium has a great history behind its creation. You can see the reflection in its art and architecture. Knowing Belgium facts is interesting.

Belgium was originally built by a Celtic tribe. They were known as the Belgae. This is how the country gets its name. Back in 100 BC, the Belgae were conquered and overpowered by the Roman Empire.

The Belgae were known to be fierce and brave warriors. They revolted against the Romans, but alas, they failed. The empire was too powerful to be defeated.

With time when the Roman Empire eventually fell, Belgium was then invaded by Germanic tribes. This time, the northern Belgian province started to speak German.

They had fully absorbed German culture. While southern Belgium continued with Latin and people remained Roman Catholics. This became the beginning of the subtle division that later led to the creation of a new country.

History has seen that Belgium had been ruled by many empires at separate times. The Spanish and the Habsburg Empire of Austria too had their turns. Belgium was once the center of European industries like textiles, commerce, and art.

The country’s largest cities had the glory of being the world leaders. Then during the Napoleonic Wars, the future of Belgium changed again. Now, France captured Belgium in 1795.

After the defeat of Napoleon, Belgium was under the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. This was done as part of treaty negotiations. These changes came across when there was the French Revolution.

This is when the Belgian people became French speakers. Once again the Belgians revolted, this time against the Dutch. Then they became independent in 1830. During both World Wars, World War I and World War II, Belgium was repeatedly invaded by Germany.

There were differences in culture and language being followed in Belgium. A border was formally drawn to separate the country along the North Sea. In the Flanders region to the north, the Dutch-speaking people, also known as the Flemish community, live there.

They comprise about 60% of the population. In the southern Wallonia area are people who speak French. The capital city Brussels is also situated here.

They comprise almost 40% of the population. You can also find a tiny German-speaking minority in the Brussels population of about 1%. They live in the eastern Belgian regions in the province of Liege.

The Founding Of Belgium And Its Provinces

There is a rich history that Belgium has to share with the world. The division has been divided on the basis of language and beliefs. The capital city is a great place to visit.

Belgium had declared itself independent in the year 1830 from the Netherlands. Germany did occupy Belgium for a short while during early World War I.

But in five years, Belgium was free again by the Treaty of Versailles. However, Germany again occupied the Western Europe region again during World War II. But this time around, Germany was pushed out from Belgium aided by American and British forces.

In the year 1958, Belgium created an economic agreement. It was known as the Benelux Economic European Union. This was made with neighboring Netherlands and Luxembourg. The aim of this agreement was to promote free trade among them.

In the year 1993, Belgium's constitution was fully rewritten. In this, the country's three administrative regions were given official recognition. The regions are Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels.

When Belgium gained independence from the Netherlands back in 1830, there were nine southern provinces in Belgium. The first article that has been stated in the Belgian Constitution defines its separate provinces. These provinces are West Flanders, East Flanders, Antwerp, Brabant, Hainaut, Liège, Luxembourg, Namur, and Limburg.

The current king of Belgium is King Philippe, since 2013. The royal family rules Belgium. King Albert was the ruler during World War I. King Albert had an eventful long tenure of wars with countries in Europe. The Belgian flag is a tricolor flag. There is a French-speaking population as a majority near the Belgian coast.

There are so many Belgium history facts that you can get to know when you read here.

Most Famous Belgian People In History

Belgium facts include ones about many renowned personalities who have set a world record or have done wonders in other countries in Europe as well.

Belgium has proved to be a crossroads of cultures. Being a trade route and having experienced intellectual exchange there are great intellectuals residing here. Belgium has been a vital pivot during World War I.

Many big and small detailing works such as lace knitting in Brugge, beer brewing in Wallonia, and chocolate in Brussels have been developed over the years. All these have helped create and enhance the culture of Belgium. The thirst for knowledge is never-ending.

Social diversity can be witnessed by knowing about Belgium's history. Along with many others, Julius Caesar can be associated with Belgium. He had conquered this area.

Leading intellectuals and pop stars along with Hollywood stars are famous Belgians.

Justus Lipsius: He was born in Overijse, in the year 1547. He was an avid writer who completed his studies at the Jesuit college in Cologne. Next, he went to the University of Leuven. Variorum Lectionum Libri Tres brought fame in the year 1567. He had dedicated this to Cardinal Granvelle.

He became the Latin secretary. He also visited Rome. Lipsius wrote to revive ancient Stoicism. He used to teach at different universities in Jena, Leiden, and Leuven. He was German-speaking as well.

Anna Rosalie Boch: Born in the city of Saint-Vaast in the year 1848. She was a famous painter, and the Neo-Impressionist style was her passion. She used the Pointillist technique in her earlier works but is well known for the Impressionist style.

She promoted many other artists, like Vincent van Gogh. She admired him for his talent.

She was the only known person ever to appreciate and buy one of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. The others were all sold only after he died. Her paintings were donated to several museums.

Adolphe Sax: Born in 1814, in the city of Dinant in Namur province. Sax had musical talent and curiosity. He was a good flute and clarinet player and a remarkable singer. Charles-Joseph, his father, made musical instruments.

This is where he got his passion for music. Sax patented the Saxophone in 1846 in Paris. In fact, the whole family of these instruments is patented to them, thus their name.

Lily Boeykens: Born in 1930, in the city of Dendermonde. A renowned Belgian feminist who belonged to the second wave of feminism. She was active internationally and a pioneer in this field.

She upheld women’s equality and emancipation. She was very aggressively active from 1972 to 1992. This is when she was appointed as president of the National Council of Women. She was also known to be the co-founder of the Vrouwen Overleg Komitee (VOK).

It is also known that she organized the first National Women’s Day in Belgium. It was observed on November 11, 1972. In 2005, she died on November 22, in Antwerp.

Jean Baptiste Reinhardt: Born in 1910, in the city of Liberchies. The family had Manouche Romani descent. He was the first major jazz talent in Europe. Reinhardt’s compositions with time have become standards for jazz. They are Belleville, Djangology, Minor Swing, Daphne, Swing ’42, and Nuages.

Marie Moke Pleyel: A Belgian pianist born in 1811, in the city of Paris. She was the most famous virtuoso of the 19th century. Marie Pleyel was duly respected in the European music world.

Audrey Hepburn: Born in the city of Ixelles in 1929. Joseph Ruston was her father. Hepburn was an actress in famous films. She worked on projects like 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s' and 'My Fair Lady.'

In the year 1953, at the young age of 23, an Academy Award for Best Actress was awarded to her for her role in 'Roman Holiday.' The most successful movies for her were 'Sabrina' (1954), 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s' (1961), 'War and Peace' (1956), and 'My Fair Lady' (1964). Hepburn closely volunteered with UNICEF.

Paul Van Haver (Stromae): Born in the city of Brussels in 1985. He is famous for hip-hop and electronic music. He was renowned in 2009 for his song Alors on Danse, from the album Cheese.

Belgian Specialties

Belgium is famous for many things other than chocolate, waffles, and beer. There are music fests and events that people from all over the world come to attend.

Belgium is well known across the globe for its chocolate, waffles, french fries, and beer. Though we call the fries French fries, they are relished here as well. They are crispy and served with ketchup and mayonnaise. Chocolate is the biggest export for Belgium.

The Meuse River flows through Belgium and gives a great view of the coastal plains. The central government is making efforts to enhance tourism.

People from France, Europe, and all southern low countries come flocking here for a holiday. The new prime minister has made travel easy. French is one of the common languages people from France can move around freely and enjoy.

Among interesting Belgium facts is that the national anthem of Brussels is in German as well as the Dutch language. Dutch is also a commonly used language in Belgium.

Among the animals that you can see in the coastal plains are the wild boars.

There are reflections of Dutch, French, European, and other rulers with time in the federal state ruling. Brussels is a must-visit place when you go to Belgium. The NATO headquarters are in Belgium as well as the house of the EU Commission and European Parliament. Brussels is sometimes called the capital of the EU.

Other than its chocolate, waffles, and beer, Belgium's facts include that it is famous for its national football team known as the Red Devils.

When it comes to food you can get a variety of dishes like Brussels waffles that are fluffy with a crunchy outside. Or you can enjoy sticky Liège decorated with crystalized sugar that is sure to melt in the mouth. Belgians have been called the best waffle makers in the world.

Music runs through the veins of Brussels as well as the rest of Belgium. Jazz soirées and indoor electronics are favorites in winter.

While people like to enjoy massive metal celebrations and events in spring. Rock Valhallas is a favorite in summer while an eclectic concert series is held in fall. Brussels is always sounding of different types of music all the year-round.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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