30 Interesting And Fun Facts Of Belgium

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Belgium is most famous for its fabulous food: chocolate, waffles, and beer! The country is also well-known for its role in founding the European Union and NATO. Although this fascinating country attracts around seven million tourists a year, there are many fun facts of Belgium you might not know. Here are 30 Belgium facts to get you started when planning your next visit.

Interesting Historical Facts Of Belgium 

The Belgian Revolution

In 1830, Belgium separated from the Netherlands, just 15 years after the latter was established. The revolution began when riots broke out over the high level of unemployment. Businesses were looted and shops were destroyed. 

After a month of unrest, a National Congress was formed in October. Belgium broke free from the Netherlands, and Leopold I became the country’s first king.

If you visit both Belgium and the Netherlands, you’ll notice a lot of similarities in their architecture, culture, and food.

The Capital City Is Brussels


Belgium consists of three autonomous regions: the Flemish Region, Walloon, and Brussels.

The best-known Belgium fact is that Brussels is the capital city. Brussels is famous for producing Brussels sprouts, which have been grown in the area since the 13th Century.

2 million people live in the capital city. In fact, 98% of Belgium’s population lives in cities, and rural areas are sparsely inhabited.

Durbury Claims To Be The Smallest City In The World – But It Isn’t

In 1331, Durbury was granted city status by John I, Count of Luxembourg. At the time, it probably was the smallest city in the world.

The old city is largely unchanged. It covers just 156.6 square kilometers and takes only five minutes to walk across. However, Durbury has since absorbed several neighboring villages, and now has a population of almost 12,000.

Officially, the Vatican City is the world’s smallest, but the people of Durbury refuse to let go of their crown! Claiming to be the world’s smallest city attracts a lot of tourists, even if it’s not true!

Belgium Ruled Belgian Congo For 52 years

From 1908 until 1960, the Belgian Colonial Empire colonized Belgian Congo, in central Africa.

King Leopold II ruled the colony and forced the local people to work harvesting rubber. Workers were severely mistreated, so deadly diseases became widespread.

The country gained independence and became the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1964. It is the second-biggest country in Africa, and the 11th in the world, by area. The population is now over 108 million.

Belgium Helped To Form The EU And NATO


One of the most interesting facts about Belgium is that it was a founding country of the European Union. The other five were Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and West Germany.

In 1951, it was agreed that the countries should form an allegiance to make another World War impossible. They later created the European Economic Community to form a market for trading goods and the free movement of citizens without borders. In 1992, this became the European Union, which has headquarters in Brussels.

Belgium was also central to the establishment of NATO in 1949, which stemmed from the Treaty of Brussels.

A Belgian Discovered The Big Bang Theory

Some of the most interesting facts about Belgium are its scientific discoveries.

Georges Lemaître was a theoretical physicist. He was the first person to realize the world was created by the Big Bang. His 1927 theory suggested that the universe was birthed from one atom.

He also co-theorized the Hubble-Lemaître law. This suggests that the universe is continually expanding, and the farther away galaxies are from Earth, the faster they travel away from it.

Cultural Facts About Belgium 

Sinterklaas Visits On December 6th

The name Santa Claus originates from Sinterklaas, a Dutch legend dating to the 3rd Century based on St Nicholas. Whereas Santa Claus wears a red bobble hat, Sinterklaas wears a Bishop’s hat.

Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25th, but Sinterklaas delivers presents to children on December 6th – Saint Nicholas’ Day. 

On the eve before, Belgian children leave their shoes by the fireplace, with a sugar cube for Sinterklaas’ assistant and a carrot for his horse. Certainly one of the interesting cultural facts about Belgium folklore.

Belgium Has A King

King Philippe and Queen Consort Mathilde are the Belgian Royal Family. Princess Elisabeth is their oldest child and first in line to the throne, which will make her Belgium’s first Queen by birth rather than marriage. King Philippe of Belgium succeeded the throne in 2013 when his father abdicated.

November 15th is King’s Day or King’s Feast.

The tradition began in 1866 to celebrate King Leopold I, Belgium’s first monarch after it gained independence. It isn’t a public holiday, but government buildings close and the royal family attends an annual ceremony.

The National Symbol Is A Gold Lion

The official symbol of Belgium is a golden lion. He faces left, with his tongue out and his claws poised. The lion is part of the country’s coat of arms which bears the motto “unity makes strength”. The symbol was first recorded in 1162, by Count Philip of Flanders.

The Belgian flag was inspired by the symbol, using the colors red, yellow, and black which represent revolution and freedom.

Catholicism Is The Predominant Religion


Religion is a very important aspect of Belgian culture. The majority religion is the Catholic Church, with an estimated 57% of the population identifying as Catholic. However, the number of practicing Catholics who regularly attend church services is much lower, and the number of baptisms has significantly declined in recent decades.

It Costs Money To Use A Public Bathroom

One of the less fun facts of Belgium if you’re a tourist is that most public restrooms charge an entry fee. Expect to pay between 30 and 50 Eurocents to use the bathroom. Most public bathrooms employ staff to stand at the entrance and collect the money. This is even the case in shopping centers and cafes in tourist areas.

Facts On Belgium: People And Demographics

There Isn’t A Belgian Language

One of the more surprising facts of Belgium is that Belgian isn’t a language. Most people in Belgium are bilingual and Belgian French, German, and Belgian Dutch are the country’s official languages. 

Belgian Dutch is also known as Flemish and has some differences from the Netherlands Dutch, whereas Belgian French is much like standard French.

This can make traveling around the country tricky for tourists as different regions use different names for the same cities. Belgium itself has different names: Belgie in Dutch, Belgien in German, and Belgique in French.

Fortunately, most people in the main tourist areas also speak English.

The Population Of Belgium Is 11.58 million

Belgium covers an area of 30,688 square kilometers and has a population of 11.58 million. This makes it the 22nd most densely populated country worldwide. 

The population has grown at a steady pace of about 0.44% a year. The birth rate is currently 1.57 births per woman, with immigration also contributing to the population increase.

René Magritte Was From Belgium

René Magritte was a famous surrealist painter in the early 1900s. His portraits are recognizable for frequently depicting men wearing bowler hats, such as The Son of Man.

If you visit Brussels, the Magritte Museum is a fascinating place to discover his work. You can also take a guided tour through his old home, in Jette.

Belgium Is One Of The World’s Wealthiest Countries

Two of the best-known facts on Belgium are that its currency is the Euro, and it’s very wealthy.

The Allianz Global Wealth Report in 2020 ranked Belgium the 11th richest country in the world. Despite this, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other wealthy countries in Europe. 

Belgium’s main exports are cars, petrol, medicine, and diamonds.

Belgium Has One Of The Highest Rates Of Income Tax In The World

One of the important facts about Belgium to know if you are considering to move there. 

There are four standard income tax brackets in Belgium. The lowest is 25%, for residents earning up to €13,870. Those earning over €42,370 a year pay 50% income tax.

For context, the average salary in Belgium is €61,357 and the minimum wage is €19,126 a year. The highest tax bracket in the USA is 37%, applicable when earning over €523,600 a year.

Belgian Men Are The Second Tallest In The World

The tallest men in the world can be found in The Netherlands, at an average height of 182.5cm. In Belgium, the average man is 181.7cm tall – putting them second in the world. The shortest country in the world is The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, in Asia, at just 156.4cm for the average man.

Belgium Facts For Tourists

Belgium Is Famous For Its Chocolate


It’s universally agreed that Belgian chocolate is among the best in the world, alongside Swiss. The most famous chocolates invented by Belgians are pralines, individual chocolates with a soft center, created in 1912.

Belgian chocolate is strictly regulated and must contain at least 35% pure cocoa. Although the cocoa is mostly grown in African countries where the climate is warmer, the chocolate must be manufactured in Belgium.

Chocolate makes up 0.77% of the country’s exports, it produces over 220,000 tons a year! Here are some of the famous Belgian chocolates to try.

Belgian Waffles Are The Best


Another fun Belgian fact for foodies – Waffles are a serious business in Belgium. In Belgian supermarkets, you’ll find around 30 different types of waffles! 

Brussels waffles and Liege waffles are the most popular. Brussels waffles are rectangular, fluffy, and have deep holes to catch syrup in. Liege waffles are round, thicker, and chewier, with a caramel flavor.

The Belgian National Football Team Is The Red Devils

The national Belgium football team is nicknamed the Red Devils because their home kit is red. They play at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

Belgium was ranked 1st in the FIFA World Rankings in 2015 but is the only national team to do so without ever winning the World Cup or a European title.

Mannekin Piz Is A Rude Famous Statue.

One of the rudest facts on Belgium: the translation of this famous statue is as uncouth as it sounds – Little Peeing Man. It’s one of the best-loved figures in Brussels and can be found on merchandise in tourist shops. Mannekin Piz is often dressed up in humorous costumes for special occasions.

The original statue is a 55.5cm bronze sculpture designed by Jérôme Duquesnoy I in 1618. It now lives in the Brussels City Museum because it kept getting stolen and damaged. A replica built in 1965 sits in a fountain near the Grand Palace in the center of Brussels.

Tomorrowland Festival Is One Of The Most Popular

Tomorrowland is the most famous music festival in Belgium and attracts approximately 600,000 people a year from all over the world. The festival specializes in dance and electronic music. 

It began in 2005 and is held in Boom town in the Flanders region for three weekends every summer. Some of the biggest headliners have been Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, and David Guetta.

Beer Is Very Important To Belgian Culture


The average Belgian consumes 68 liters of beer a year. There are around 1,000 different beers brewed in Belgium, by more than 300 breweries. 

One of the best fun facts about Belgium is that most of its beers have unique branded glasses for serving, taking up a lot of space in Belgium bars!

0.51% of Belgium’s exports are beer and in 2016, UNESCO named beer culture an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in Belgium.

Smurfs And Tintin Come From Belgium

Comic book culture is huge in Belgium and one of the most famous comics is The Smurfs. Smurfs are tiny blue characters who live in forests, using mushrooms for houses. They were created by Studio Peyo in 1958 and are the basis of the 2016 live-action Sony movie, The Smurfs.

Another notable cartoonist is Georges Prosper Remi, also known as Herge, who created The Adventures of Tintin. If you’re visiting Brussels, you must explore the Comic Art Museum.

Fun Facts About Belgium

The Highest Point In Belgium Is Signal de Botrange

In the High Fens nature reserve in East Belgium is the country’s tallest peak. Signal de Botrange sits 694 meters above sea level. Unusually, it’s not a mountain, but rather a plateau created from the remnants of an ancient volcano. 

A 6-meter tower was added to the summit in 1923 to make the highest point officially 700 meters. It is one of the famous landmarks in Belgium.

There Are Many Beautiful Buildings


When visiting Belgium, you’ll notice how many extravagant and interesting buildings it boasts.

The Atomium in Brussels is one of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions, welcoming over 600,000 visitors every year. It was built in 1958 and is home to an art center and a museum.

The Atomium has an unusual shape of six interconnected shiny steel spheres which span 102 meters tall and 18 meters in diameter.

The Royal Palace in Brussels is the home of King Philippe and is open to the public for free throughout the summer months.

Belgian Malinois Dogs Are Banned In Some Countries


Belgian Shepherds come in four varieties and are often used as police and military service dogs.

The Malinois is considered dangerous in some countries due to its high prey drive, and ownership is restricted in Malaysia and Bermuda. No dogs are banned in Belgium, but the breed is rumored to be one of the next dogs to be banned in the UK. 

Belgian Malinois’ are also banned from flying in the airplane cargo hold with other animals by United Air.

Belgium Has 0.2 Castles Per Square Mile


One of the fun Belgium facts to know for medieval fans.

If you like visiting ancient castles, Belgium is the place to be. Belgium has roughly 0.2 castles per square mile (2.58 square kilometers). Including châteaus, there are around 3,000 castles across the country.

The oldest is the Gravensteen which dates from medieval times. Some other cool Belgian castles to visit are Chateau-Fort de Bouillon and The Castle of Ooidonk.

The Longest Tram Line In The World Can Be Found In Belgium


The Kusttram travels from De Panne to Knokke-Heist along a pretty coastline route. The tram line is 68 kilometers long which makes it the world’s longest. It has a stop roughly every kilometer. A round-trip on this line would take 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Europe’s First Skyscraper Was Built In Belgium

The Boerentoren in Antwerp is 96 meters tall and entirely made from steel. By modern standards, it’s barely considered a skyscraper but when it was built it was the tallest in Europe and very impressive. 

It was previously occupied by the banking company KBC but is being refurbished into a cultural hub with a movie theater, shops, and art galleries.

Discovering Interesting And Fun Facts Of Belgium

These are some of the intriguing and fun facts about Belgium. This beautiful country is full of fascinating tourist attractions, tasty food, and historical facts. If you’re planning a visit, a guided walking tour is a fun way to discover Belgium’s action-packed history and explore its exciting landmarks. 

Be sure to check out some of the country’s many museums, landmarks and monuments to learn more interesting facts about Belgium.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


other stories