Tag-Archive for » Walloon «

Belgium is a Federal State

Belgium is a typically stable, cautiously progressive, western European liberal democracy. The alliance with The Netherlands and Luxembourg became the Benelux Union in 1958, which, in turn, became one of the foundation stones of the European Community. Brussels is the headquarters of both NATO and the EU. Today, the anachronistic images of boring Belgium have been well and truly banished over the last decade as the country promotes its key destinations, along with a string of new attractions.

Easy to travel around, this pocketsize country is divided into the Flemish north, Flemish speaking and the Walloon south, French speaking. Brussels, the capital, is the heart of the country and the European Union. Belgium always had a lot more going for it than the faceless political and bureaucratic buildings that litter its capital with a string of engaging cities in Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels itself that offer impressive architecture, lively nightlife, first rate cuisine and numerous other attractions for visitors. Then there is reinvented Antwerp, now a hotbed of fashion and modern design, and the more bucolic charms of the beauty of the mountainous Ardennes region to the east, as well as the sweeping sand of the coastline resorts of the western seaboard. Belgium is also a land whose specialities include ubiquitous beers, delicate chocolates and Belgian waffles.

The principal domestic problem is continuing tension between the Flemish speaking north and the French speaking south of the country, known as Wallonia, not forgetting the capital Brussels. However, throughout the years, Belgium has evolved towards an efficient federal system. Five reforms have been necessary to achieve this in 1970, 1980, 1988, 1989, 1993 and 2001. In 2005, Belgium celebrated 25 years of federalism and for the first time ever, article one of the Belgian Constitution stated that Belgium is a federal state made out of communities and regions.

Enjoy the many Brussels museums such as the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Comic Strip Museum and the Museum of the City of Brussels.

Relax over a meal of moules frites in one of the many reasonably priced restaurants of Brussels Rue des Bouchers, close to the Grand Place. Most have tables outside in the summer, from which to watch the world go by while dining.

Pay homage to chocolate, which is one of Belgiums best known products, with a visit to the Chocolate and Cocoa Museum off Brussels Grand Place, or Choco Story in Bruges.

Take a canal boat ride along the waterways of Bruges sometimes described as the Venice of the North, an excellent and relaxing way to appreciate the medieval architectural splendours of this historic Flanders city.

Sample some of Belgiums many fine beers at tBrugs Beertje a characterful bar in Kemelstraat in the centre of historic Bruges. It offers a choice of literally hundreds of varieties.