Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let's go to Belgium

Introduction to Belgium

Belgium is a nation located in Northwestern Europe, between the Netherlands to the north, Germany and Luxembourg to the east, France to the south, and the North Sea to the west. Belgium is about the size of Maryland with an area of 11,780 square miles. It also has 108 square miles of inland waterways that are used for tourists and travel. It has 41 miles of coastline and its borders total 861 miles.  It's language is Flemish, though the majority of its residents are multilingual, speaking Flemish, French, German and English. It is also the headquarters home for the European Union and NATO. The total population in Belgium was last recorded at 11.0 million people in 2011 from 9.1 million in 1960, changing 21 percent during the last 50 years.

Brussels is the capitol of Belgium

Brussels, the capital of Belgium is compact with:
  • A small European feel, 
  • An extensive military history spanning from the Napoleonic Wars to today's NATO, 
  • A leader in international commerce as exhibited by the World Fairs in 1897, 1910, 1935 and 1959
  • World renown for its 800+ flavors of beer, more than any country in the world
  • Provincial dishes such as Mussels from Brussels
  • The inventive home of the Saxophone, "President Clinton, eat your heart out."
  • And perhaps the most famous little boy in all of statuedom - Mannekan Pis
Brussels has some grandeur. There’s the hexagonal system of boulevards that surround the centre which were laid out in the late 19th century. There’s the EU quarter around Place Schuman, and the grand boulevard Avenue de Tervuren/Tervurenlaan that leads out of the city eastwards for miles from the Cinquantenaire Arch. This is what remains of the influence of Belgium’s Imperial past.


Why did the EU Capital locate in Brussels? 

When it came top selecting the capital for Europe, the founders realized they had to avoid the rivalries between France, Germany, Italy and Spain; so, none of the big capitals of the largest founding countries of the EU could be Europe’s new capital. This immediately ruled out Paris, Berlin and Rome. Instead, to ensure the location would be acceptable to all, the relatively innocuous Brussels in tiny Belgium was chosen. Brussels was selected precisely because it was small, modest and didn’t brag about itself.

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