Where is it: Belgium is located in Western Europe and borders the North Sea between France and the Netherlands.
Why do people go here: Belgium is the home of NATO, EU, and Flemish art, and the prevalence of all three is reflected in its capital, Brussels. Backpackers take on Belgium to indulge in rich chocolate, laugh at the Mannekin Pis and take in numerous museums. Although sometimes considered dull or dreary, Belgium offers one of the more beautiful cities in Europe in Bruges and one of the grandest central squares in Brussels.
What are the main entry points: Belgium is usually entered via rail from France of Netherlands into Brussels, Bruges or Antwerp. International flights are also available into Brussels.
Currency used: Euro
Country Code for Phones: 32
Area codes for Major Cities: Brussels 02, Bruges 050, Antwerp 03
Other Phone Tips: Most payphones require a phone card, which are available at most magazine stands, grocery stores, post offices, etc.
Religion: Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25%
Population: 10.7 million
Ethnic Breakdown: Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
Government: Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
Languages: There are three official languages: Dutch, French and German. Dutch 60%, French 40%, German less than 1%
Major Cities: Brussels, Bruge
Attractions: Brussel’s Grand Place, Brussel’s Mannekin Pis, Bruges
Tourism Office locations and links: Belgium-Tourist Information Bureau, Town Hall of Brussels, Grand Place, Brussels 1000, Belgium, Telephone: +32-2-5138940, FAX +32-2-5144538, http://www.visitbelgium.com/
Tips for Visiting
Health Issues: There are no health issues in Brussels. Health care is on par with the rest of Europe and the US.
When to go: Belgium is the warmest during the summer months, however, rain and overcast skies are common year-round.
Common Phrases: Yes = Ja, No = Geen, Please = Alstublieft, Thank you = Dank u, Do you speak English? = Spreekt u het Engels?
Specific Events/Holidays: 21 July: Independence and ascension of King Leopold I to the throne
Getting Around: There is an extensive train system throughout Belgium. Travel on buses is mostly limited to city-specific travel as a result. Eurail is valid in Belgium.
Good to know: Although it is not the capital, Bruges is the popular destination in Belgium.
Cheapest airport to fly into: The cheapest airport to fly into Belgium is the Brussels Zaventem Airport.
Need more information?: Check out the Belgium travel guide for more on what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.