Welcome to Belgium
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi) and has a population of about 11 million people. Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish community, which constitutes about 59% of the population, and the French-speaking, mostly Walloon population, which comprises 40% of all Belgians. Additionally, there is a small 1% group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area and bordering Germany.
The region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. From the 16th century until the Belgian Revolution in 1830, when Belgium seceded from the Netherlands, the area of Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia
Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions and three communities, and is a small nation with a big role to play in European life and world history. If you are interested in either of the world wars, Belgium has a million sites to keep you busy during your visit. If you want to learn about government, it’s the home to the European Union. But what most travellers come for is the beer, chocolate, and fries. There are over 1,000 breweries in this little country and Belgium brewers were some of the first to perfect beer brewing. Belgium’s chocolate rivals the Swiss, and the fries will make you look at french fries differently for the rest of your life. This country usually just gets glossed over as travellers – a day in Brussels, Bruges, and maybe a trip to Ghent – and then onward, but, when you look deeper, you see this country has a great many medieval towns, historical sites, and parks worth sticking around for. This travel guide to Belgium will help point the way.
A night in a hostel dormitory room starts around 20 EUR for 6 beds. Private rooms in a hostel with an ensuite bathroom start around 52 EUR per night. In this country, most hostels come with breakfast, which is usually just meat, cheese, hard boiled eggs, juice, and bread. Budget hotels start at around 50 EUR per night for a single room with basic amenities and WiFi included. Airbnb is popular throughout the country and you can get a shared room (i.e., a couch) for 16 EUR while prices for an entire apartment start around 50 EUR.