Guest Author - Sarah V Reid
Situated in Northwest Europe, bordering France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, Belgium is one of the hidden jewels of continental Europe.
This multicultural kingdom has no fewer than three official languages, German, French and Dutch. In the north of the country is Flanders, where Dutch is the official language. In the southern area of Wallonia, the official langugage is French with a large German-speaking minority. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, has both French and Dutch as its official languages.
Nonetheless, many of the residents of Belgium are comfortable speaking the English language, making it an ideal spot to vacation for those who are less than fluent in the three official languages.
Belgium is a predominantly Christian country, with Roman Catholicism being the religion of the majority. This belief is reflected in much of the architecture throughout the country, including the Reliquary of Our Lady, a thirteenth century monument with five individual towers located in the city of Tournai. Great structures such as this make Belgium a perfect destination for anyone seeking to take in the spritual side of a city or to view stunning architecture.
The country is also a thriving political hub. It plays host to headquarters of both the European Union and Nato, giving it great significance on both the European and worldwide poltical stages.
Of course, Belgium is probably just as famous for its fine foods and drinks as it is for its political importance.
Belgian chocolates are world-renowned. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that Belgium is home to a number of chocolate museums and workshops where visitors can view chocolatiers demonstrating their fine art.
Beer is another great Belgian export, with more than 500 varieties being produced within its borders. Beer festivals take place throughout the country several times a year, giving visitors the chance to sample many of the different beverages on offer.
Beer, chocolate, religion and politics are not all that Belgium has to offer. The country has a bustling nightlife, particularly within Brussels. There are also music festivals throughout the year, bars holding different theme nights and restaurants featuring entertainment until late.
All in all, Belgium is an exciting and lively country with a great deal on offer for every visitor.