In Mons, it makes perfect sense to see a dragon roaming the streets on Trinity Sunday, the day associated with tongues of fire. The festivities run throughout the weekend, culminating in the epic Lumeçon battle between Le Doudou, the aforementioned dragon, and the valiant Saint George. Historic folklore that has not escaped the attention of Unesco and which is on its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Fancy singing the songs of the great Jacques Brel today? Let yourself be guided through the streets of his city, his lively Brussels, listening as you go to Jacques’ voice, lyrics, interviews and anecdotes from members of his family.
Sometimes you have to improvise — a skill our local musicians have certainly mastered, by making jazz music that hits all the right notes.
The praline was invented in Belgium in 1912, which means Belgium was where they were eaten for the very first time. Today, our iconic chocolates are satisfying the palates of chocolate-lovers around the world.
Belgium's multilingualism and multiculturalism makes it a mini-Europe. So a successful product launch here is a good indicator of success in other European markets.
You'll be hard-pressed to find more comic book artists per square metre anywhere else in the world. Smurf the following link to find out more.
There are fantastic films… and then there are fantastic films. Belgian, foreign and even extraterrestrial gems of cinema: you’ll see them all at one of our film festivals.
Manneken Pis epitomises Belgium’s absurd sense of humour. Located just down the street from the Grand Place, this little statue is dressed throughout the year in some of his 900 different costumes. And while you’re in the neighbourhood, why not pay Jeanneke Pis and the Zinneke a visit, too?
When we talk about ‘Belgian gold’ we mean our crispy, crunchy golden French fries. And just because the 3 Communities have declared our belgian Friesshop-culture to be cultural heritage doesn't mean we can't order ‘a small one with mayonnaise’.
We don't like to go overboard about it… but we always help ourselves to seconds. Belgian food is fantastic.
Highly-qualified employees, with record production figures and seaports that facilitate distribution make Belgium extremely attractive for car manufacturers.
If you hear someone mention ‘the Ardennes’, you'll probably want to start packing your bags right away. For a weekend away. Which makes perfect sense as the Ardennes offers it all: nature, culture and adventure.
There are 12 Trappist breweries worldwide, six of which are right here in Belgium. So whether you're a beer lover or just plain curious, visit one of the abbeys and sample their beers. Now that’s what we call heavenly!
A name earned due to its charming canals and narrow medieval streets. This is a city bursting with history. Around every corner there’s a vibrant new setting that will appeal to your imagination.
The Antwerp MHKA is exceptional not only because of its location – in an old grain silo, but also for its bold exhibitions. Prepare to be inspired by its selection of contemporary art, film and visual culture.
Belgian workers focus on finding solutions, speak several languages and, according to the OECD, are among the most productive in the world. In short, including a Belgian on your team is always a good idea.
Top marks and head of the class for Quetelet, the man who devised the BMI (Body Mass Index) at the University of Ghent. Belgium is renowned for its outstanding education and scores highly in the worldwide rankings.
The Atomium was built for the 1958 World's Fair. It stands 102 metres tall and features nine spheres representing an elementary iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Make sure you make it all the way up top, where you can enjoy a 360° view of the capital.
In 1969, Eddy Merckx won the first of his 5 Tour de France victories. 50 years later, the Tour pays him tribute by departing from the most beautiful square in the world. The first stage of Tour de France 2019 is 192 km-long, which roughly amounts to a Tour of Belgium.
It’s hard to agree on who deserves wider recognition. Young talent and established names make for the unique mix of fashion seen in Belgium’s shopping streets.
You can take a train to your destination… but train stations can be a destination in their own right. Antwerp Central always features on lists of the most beautiful stations along with Liège Guillemins, which is another architectural gem.
Ok, we lied: not all billiard balls end up in a hole. The three-cushion billiards doesn’t have any. A Belgian specialty as the country has been world champion 31 times. And to think that it’s also called French billiards. So, it’s not surprising that our country is also world champion the highly challenging process of making these billiards balls.
Belgian nuclear technology has won many accolades, including a Nobel Prize. We have exceptional expertise in operating pressurised water reactors and are a leading producer of radioactive isotopes for medical applications.
How do you make one of the most beautiful city squares in the world even more beautiful? Fill it with flowers! Every other year the cobblestones of the Grand-Place in Brussels are covered with more than a million begonias.
‘Uniquely phenomenal’ is the new black. Belgium has cities that live and breathe fashion, right down to the finest fiber in every article of clothing. Whether on the racks, in concept stores, or on display in fashion museums.
A small country with a rich heritage. Let yourself be surprised by the history of Belgium in all its facets.
According to a charter dating from 1331, John of Bohemia, count of Luxembourg, granted the status of city to Durbuy. Since then, it has been the smallest city in the world. And even if you were to come across less populous cities, we’re pretty sure you won’t find as many friendly inhabitants there. Small city, huge heart.
All those Belgian cycling champions — it just can’t be a coincidence. Channel your inner Eddy Merckx while exploring Belgium’s bike-friendly roads!
Pilsner, Abbey beer, Trappist beer, Dubbel, Tripel, Quadrupel, blonde ale, brown ale, amber ale, Lambic beer… Tasting them is a lot easier than listing them!
With more than 500 direct destinations, the port of Antwerp links many European businesses to the rest of the world. Conversely, for the rest of the world, Antwerp is a main gateway to Europe.
Belgium is home to one of the world's largest 3D printing facilities. Furthermore, it is home to the industry's largest group of software developers.
Thanks to the Tax Shelter system and a generous sprinkling of Belgian expertise, the animation sector has grown tremendously. Not only does it provide full-time employment for more than 1,000 people, it has also already won one Oscar and a heap of nominations.
The Abbey of Villers-la-Ville dates back to the 12th century. Its majestic ruins silently attest to the past lives of Cistercian monks. The green oasis also hosts a brand new cultural centre.
Feel like taking a stroll through the King of Belgium’s backyard? You can! Every spring the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken open their doors to the public. A magical place for anyone interested in rare plants and art nouveau architecture.
Since 1987, you will find surprisingly many beautiful cliches in the Charleroi photography museum. The former 6,000 sq m Carmelite Monastery houses 3 million photo negatives, 4,000 cameras and 80,000 photos. To see everything in a flash is simply impossible!
A Bruges brewery saw its beer output increase dramatically. To preserve the quiet of the city’s streets, it had to relocate near its bottling factory, unless… in 2016, the world’s first beer pipeline was born and the only one to remain permanently active. A 3 km-long torrent of beer, and the ancient canals carrying the quiet waters of the Reie river are none the wiser.
Another of Belgium's attractions is its pension funding organisations (OFPs), which enable multinationals to set up their pan-European pension funds here. Currently, 15 such pension funds are located here, placing Belgium in Europe's top 3.
Brussels decorated in the colours of the rainbow! The capital’s biggest diversity event attracts tens of thousands of people and makes the city streets shimmer with colour.
IMEC is an innovation hub that is a worldwide pioneer in research into nanoelectronics and digital technology. IMEC's headquarters are in Leuven, but its top talents also work in China, India, Japan, the Netherlands and Taiwan.
Today, the whole world has discovered the pleasures of visiting a spa, and they have this tiny town in Wallonia to thank for it. While the heyday of these thermal baths dates all the way back to the 16th century, it still remains a wildly popular destination for wellness fans.
Belgium was one of the founders of the EU and remains an important international player today. Every day in Brussels, the EU and NATO make decisions that can have worldwide impact.
In 1907, a Belgian chemist invented Bakelite, the first form of plastic. And we haven't stood still since. Today, Belgium produces at least 10% of all the plastic in the European Union.
Bozar is a versatile, international exhibition and concert venue in the heart of Brussels. The design -in beautiful art deco style- was the work of renowned architect Victor Horta. At Bozar you will enjoy expositions, dance, cinema, music, literature and theatre. Are you ready to get goosebumps?
A museum that brings music to your ears. And soul. This beautiful art nouveau building houses over 8,000 different musical instruments, making it one of the largest and most diverse collections in the world.
The main reason Belgium is one of the most important biopharmaceutical hubs in Europe is our unique research environment. Interactions between Belgium's industry and universities make us a highly productive innovation incubator.
Belgium's competitiveness rating has been rising for some years. In the latest Global Competitiveness Report, Belgium rose from 19th to 17th place. We are particularly well regarded for our healthcare, education and training, and or high level of technological development.
The grass is always greener on the other side… Except at Belgian festival grounds. No other country in the world has so many music festivals.
The fact that France’s little general was defeated at Waterloo is still big news in this town. Visit during a historical weekend and see sights such as Napoleon’s final headquarters, the Wellington Museum and the Lion’s Mound.
Although our fauna is a far cry from the African savanna’s, you can spot wild lions and panthers on our turf. Hockey has become a Belgian trademark; to the point that our Red Lions became world champions. But even though they are fierce on the field, don’t fear getting closer: in Belgium, we play it wild, but we’re always approachable.
When it comes to castles, Belgium towers above the rest. If you fancy feeling like a prince or a princess for a day, you will be spoilt for choice.
More than 2,300 foreign companies have their European head office in Belgium. Our country lies at the heart of the EU and is a hub for international contacts.
The Grand Place in Brussels - world renowned for its skilfully preserved guildhalls - is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful city squares. The interesting mix of architectural styles reflects the history of our Western culture.
Managing to maintain your status as Antwerp’s most famous citizen for 400 years straight is something only the truly great can do. The brilliant and versatile Rubens didn't write history, though. He painted it.
Some of the world's leading biotech companies are based in Belgium. With crop protection agents, seed and innovative solutions, they help growers to meet rising demand for food and/or fuel. Furthermore, these companies apply leading research methods to boost yields, protect the environment, improve health and enhance the quality of life.
The Belgium steel industry is developing steel sheeting with an integrated photovoltaic (PV) layer to serve as a sustainable roofing material. The PHOSTER project (PHOtovoltaïc STEel Roof) is intended to continually drive down the price of sustainable energy.
The cafe ‘In de verzekering tegen de grote dorst’ ('At the insurance against big thirst’), specialised in lambic beer, has already been voted world’s best for three times. You'll find the cafe in Lennik, about 20 km from Brussels, and you can enjoy a drink only on Sundays from 10:00 to 13:30. But you're lucky; thanks to its 175th birthday, the cafe will be open much longer. Still on Sunday, but now from 10 am to 8 pm.
Belgium's open economy has always been a source of pride. Not only that, a recent study shows that Belgium is the third most globalised country in the world.
Visit Flanders Fields today and you'll find fields of poppies and countless memories of the Great War, 100 years after the fact. The "Last Post" is still played every evening at the Menin Gate to commemorate the fallen.
New York has MOMA. Brussels has MIMA. Located in the old Belle-Vue brewery, the museum introduces visitors to art from a 2.0 perspective. This venue - unique in Europe - provides a voice for the underground generation.
When you're looking for property in Europe, Brussels is among the most popular locations. Prices here are significantly lower than in other international centres like Paris, London and Frankfurt.
The Titan Arum in the Botanic Garden of Meise only blooms occasionally, when it does, it is a sight – and smell – that doesn’t go unnoticed. The majestic flower has been known to grow up to 3 metres tall, and the stench it gives off is nothing short of phenomenal.
Four days and three procedures are all you need to get a business up and running, making Belgium a frontrunner in Europe. But that's not all. You can also benefit from our Tax Shelter system, as well as an innovative crowdfunding platform.
For two full days, the area surrounding the castle of Bouillon provides the backdrop for all sorts of medieval crafts, music and food. Looking forward to traveling back in time?
As one of the founding fathers of Art Nouveau, Victor Horta was a prime mover behind the grandeur of modern Brussels. Hotel Solvay and Brugmann Hospital are just two of his masterpieces in the capital city.
Belgium is a world leader in exports, dispatching diamonds, carpets, chocolate, margarine, glass and cars to destinations all over the globe.
High-speed connections are vital for the digital economy. 99% of Belgium has high-speed Internet (over 30 MB/s), making it one of the frontrunners in Europe.
The Hallerbos is the most important and most extensive wooded area between the river Zenne and the Sonian Forest. When the wild bluebells bloom in mid-April, an enchanting lilac flower carpet appears as if by magic.
The European Innovation Scoreboard assesses the strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems in European countries and Belgium's regional neighbours. We rank 8th on the scoreboard, classed as a 'strong innovator'. Belgium's research system ranks highly too.
In 1890, the Belgian Charles van de Poele invented the electric tramway. From then on, our passion for the tram never faltered. And since we also love our coastline, we adorned it with a 67 km-long tramline with 68 stops from La Panne to Knokke. You will need 2h21 to travel all of it. Enough time to gaze upon the seascapes Marvin Gaye also fell in love with.
Top marks for top teaching. Belgian education has an excellent international reputation. In fact, 7 of our 16 universities are among the best in the world.
Belgium has a reputation for providing excellent healthcare. Not just because we combat diseases, but also because we help to prevent them. For example, Belgium played an active part in developing vaccines against Ebola and Pfeiffer's disease.
Over 700 years ago, the people of Brussels planted the Meyboom for the very first time. Today, this folkloric tradition has evolved into a colourful parade that features giant dolls and is recognised by UNESCO.
Only four authentic coal mines in Europe have underground galleries that are still accessible to visitors, and the Blegny-Mine is one of them. Another one of UNESCO’s remarkable World Heritage Sites.
If we like stars so much, that’s because clouds hide them from us so often. That’s why we have excellent meteorologists: to warn us. Meteorologists whose forecast also guided the round-the-world flight of Solar Impulse 2, a plane entirely propelled by solar energy… and the energy of many Belgian companies, such as Solvay, one of the main partners of the Swiss plane.
Working with NASA, an astronomer from Liège discovered a star orbited by 7 Earth-like planets. And, as a Belgian discovering a new planetary system, it goes without saying you choose an appropriate name: TRAPPIST-1
Belgium knows how to be smart with its tax system. Favourable tax benefits for companies and expats ensure that the actual rate of corporation tax is considerably lower than in many other countries.
Although our soil is not very rich in exotic trees, it is the ideal breeding-ground for cinematographic talent. Whether it is traditional cinema or animation, Belgian stories win unanimous support in many international festivals. But rest assured, black-tie is not required when visiting us.
Treasure trove of limestone concretions, the Caves of Han put on a wonderful show on their 2km walking trail, boasting a three-stars rating in the prestigious Michelin Guide Vert Michelin. The subterranean network carved by the Lesse river has yet to reveal all its secrets. Apparently, 350 million years weren’t enough.
The Memorial Van Damme has repeatedly been voted the best athletics event in the world. It is part of the Diamond League, where the world’s biggest athletic stars come to shine.
The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in Ghent's St. Bavo’s Cathedral and painted by the van Eyck brothers, is a monumental work of art, both in terms of its size and historic value. The lower-left panel, depicting the Just Judges, was stolen in 1934 and has never been found.
The Citadel of Namur is one of the largest fortified castles in Europe. It has been lived in for thousands of years and you can still visit it today.
In 1569, Mercator permanently redefined the world’s concept of geography. The Mercator Museum is where you'll find everything you need to know about the man behind the maps.
What was it like to be a soldier during the Battle of the Bulge? To have to protect yourself from the biting cold and when it's raining bullets? The Bastogne War Museum immerses you in life exactly as it was during the Second World War.
Just a few kilometres from the centre of Eupen, you'll find the gigantic Vesdre dam — 410 meters long and 66 metres high. Lake Eupen, the artificial lake behind the dam, is Belgium’s largest reservoir. And the forest study trail and the highest climbing wall in the Euregion are definitely worth a visit.
Belgium leads the field in the development of virtual reality applications. Major players use interactive VR tools to speed up consumer decision-making.
The Gentse Feesten is one of the largest cultural festivals in Europe. Music, theatre, street acts, good food, parties and more. Don’t know where to start? The festival lasts ten days, so just dive in anywhere and come back again and again.
Our Tax Shelter system makes it easier for companies to invest in Belgian cinema. And the concepts seems to be paying off, too. Since 2004 more than 600 films have been financed with the help of 2,000 investors.
Our national pride! Every football-mad Belgian loves to watch the Red Devils play at the King Baudouin Stadium. In the old days to see Sterke Jan (alias Captain Courage) strut his stuff and today to enjoy Hazard’s silky skills with the ball. Can the Red Devils win the World Cup and make history?
Belgians love the good life. We have a packed cultural calendar, plenty of greenery and an outstanding healthcare system. No wonder we rank 17th in the World Happiness index.
Belgium has major ambitions in the digital sector. By 2020, we aim to feature in the top 3 of the European Digital Economy and Society Index, and have plans for 1.000 new start-ups.
Every few years, international artists are invited to light up the city of Ghent. Follow the lights and discover magical shows, surprising spectacles and lively performances at some of the cities’ key locations.
Belgium, a flat country? What a joke! Our Himalaya culminates at 700m! Actually, the Signal de Botrange stands at 394m with a staircase making up for the 6 missing metres. But the place is well worth the trip, if only for the High Fens natural parc, a reserve of more than 4300 hectares. There, we’re clearly reaching new heights.
Ypres is known as a city of peace… and cats. In fact, every three years the Kattenfestival passes through its streets. Participants are more than happy to put their best paw forward.
Being a major European port, Antwerp deserved a Port House worthy of this status. Het Havenhuis was designed by the prestigious Zaha Hadid Architects firm. It welcomes a crew of 500 employees of the Antwerp Port Authority on board, along with lucky visitors who can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and port without getting seasick.
The man behind NEMO 33 dreamt of bringing Bora Bora to Brussels. Not the palm trees or the tropical beaches, but the magnificent world below the sea. At 33 meters, this is the second deepest diving pool in the world.
Drivers don’t only love Spa-Francorchamps for its beauty, but also because it’s one of the fastest and most technical tracks in the world. And it’s not only about Formula 1, races are organised there all year long: Fun Cup, Spa Classic, GT Open… You can even drive a racing car yourself. But if you want to beat the track record, don’t let the landscape distract you.
Oostduinkerke is the only place in the world where shrimp fishing on horseback is still practised. A 500-year-old tradition that has been proudly kept alive to this day.