Belgium: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Belgium is a compact country lying in Western Europe. It is surrounded by France, Luxemburg, Germany, The Netherlands and has access to the North Sea. The country is a non-official capital of Europe as it hosts the seats of the European Union institutions.
Belgium has three official and a number of non-official languages. The main three include Dutch, French and a smaller linguistic group - German. That’s why bilingual street signs are widely used in Belgian cities.
Historically, Belgium along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg was part of the coastal region known as the Low Countries. During the Middle Ages this area flourished into a prosperous trade and cultural center. The traces of this mighty empire have survived to nowadays. Most of Belgian existing architectural landmarks refer to that period, as well as some exclusive crafts (lacemaking, tapestry, glass).
Historical heritage is what the country should be most proud of. Despite the political hardships, feuds and wars the people of Belgium managed to preserve and enrich the traditions, outstanding architecture and culture of the past. For instance, the small town of Bruges is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO with the most concentration of best-preserved medieval buildings. Many museums, churches and cathedrals of Belgium store the works of the prominent local painters like Peter Rubens, Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel and others.
Being a seaside country, Belgium has four seaports. The largest one – Port of Antwerp – has been the essential link in world trade since the Middle Ages. Today the guests of Antwerp can see the result of the port’s evolution and witness its economic and cultural significance. The port not only handles as much as 300 million tons of cargo yearly, but also attracts remarkable international events like Tall Ship Race.
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a cosmopolitan city that blends the old and the new. Playing a vital role in the world political scene it doesn’t loose its charm of a cultural entertaining center. The city hosts a lot of outstanding events, from Flower Festival to Jazz Marathon.
Each city of Belgium has something to boast. Any modern guideline can hardly describe the essence of this beautiful country – better witness it by yourself.