A small Central European country, the middle bit of the Benelux states, with the Netherlands
bordering to the north and Luxembourg to the south-east (plus France
to the south and Germany
to the east).
In dark-tourism terms, Belgium has quite a lot to offer, especially with regard to the First World War
has become almost synonymous with the senseless tragedy that was the “war to end all wars”, and today’s memorial sites and museums bear testimony to the slaughter back then. But there are also less well-known WW1 sites, such as Yser
These are the places given their own chapters on this website:
As a tourist destination in general, Belgium is notoriously and unjustly underrated … especially for the British
the country somehow acquired the reputation of the least worthy tourist place in Europe – which is strange, as it offers two of Britain's best-loved commodities in unparalleled quality: beer and chips (as in 'pommes frites', "Frieten" in Flemish – it was here that they were invented, and they're thus grossly misnamed "French" fries in the USA
and elsewhere – and nowhere else are they made so well).
Belgium is also a bit of a whipping boy for its grand southern neighbour France
(often the prototypical butt of jokes in ways similar to the Irish for Brits), and, if to a somewhat lesser degree, for the Netherlands
too. Personally, I feel sorry for Belgium. It doesn't really deserve such a rough deal on the reputation front – although it doesn't help that if the country gets in the international (negative) headlines these regularly involve child abuse, right-wingers, a language war and/or general political gridlock … oh, and Brussels, of course, the place all Euro-sceptics point an accusing finger at.
But I quite like Belgium – not just as a dark-tourism destination, but also e.g. in culinary respects, in which it is world class. Good food and drink is very important to Belgians in general, so even in small towns you won’t have trouble finding a good meal; and the rightly fabled Belgian beer (especially the Trappist and Abbey ones) is also never far away. Belgium has some immensely pretty cities, of which Bruges (Brugge) and Ghent (Gent) are the best known, but e.g. Antwerp is also a gem (pun intended – it’s also the world’s No. 1 diamond cutting and trade centre). And while the northern plains may seem a bit bland, the south has some splendid scenery, in particular the Ardennes.
- Belgium 1
- Belgium 2 - in Bruges
- Belgium 3 - street and canal scene
- Belgium 4 - international clogs
- Belgium 5 - old beer advert
- Belgium 6a - Orval
- Belgium 6b - almost symmetric
- Belgium 7 - delicacies
- Belgium 8 - national dish - waterzooi
- Belgium 9 - flat Flemish land