Week Twenty-one

This week could be considered unexciting in the blog world.
We cleaned up the garden

We baked and decorated. Can you guess which three are mine?

and Zane got Roseola. Thank you Aunt Anne for the trans-atlantic diagnosis.

So yes, nothing too exciting. BUT, if you are a trivia nerd, here are some fun facts!

Brussels’ Royal Palace is bigger than Buckingham Palace

There are over 800 kinds of beers made in Belgium.

Belgians consume in average 150 liters of beer per person per year.

Belgium produces 220,000 tonnes of chocolate per year. This amounts to 22 kg (48.5 lbs) of chocolate per inhabitant annually (I eat about 2 of these a day)

The world’s biggest chocolate selling point is Brussels National Airport.

There are 3 main sorts of Belgian waffles : Liege waffles (the most common), Brussels waffles (bigger, lighter, rectangular, and eaten with toppings such as strawberries or ice cream), and galettes (thinner, softer, and typically eaten for breakfast, sometimes with jam – nothing to do with French galettes from Little Brittany, which are a kind of pancake).

Belgium has one of the lowest proportion of McDonald’s restaurants per inhabitant in the developed world. Instead of fries as guilty pleasures, I eat these. Tortillions. (Toar-tee-yown)

Other Fun Facts:

Belgium has legalised euthanasia in 2002, and gay marriage in 2003.

Belgium became the world’s first country to ban cluster bombs, and second to ban forced marriages in 2006.

Belgium is one of the rare countries with compulsory education up to 18 years old (highest in the world).

Belgium is one of the few countries worldwide with compulsory voting (and enforced).

Possession of up to 3 grammes of cannabis is legal in Belgium.

24 million tablets of ecstasy are consumed in Belgium each year.

Tax levels in Belgium are among the highest in the world. A study for 2005 showed that Belgium had the highest average income tax rate out of 30 OECD countries. Total taxation represents 45.6 % of the country’s GDP.

Belgium is the country that grants the most new citizenships per capita in the world after Canada.

The Belgian motorway system is the only man-made structure visible from the moon at night.

Belgium is the world’s 3rd country with the most vehicles per square kilometres after the Netherlands and Japan. It has the highest density of roads and the highest density of railroads in the world.

80% of billiard players use Belgian-made balls.

Belgium produces the greatest variety of bricks in the world.

The largest Freemason temple on the European continent is the Great Temple in Brussels.

The world’s richest girl lives in Brussels (Athina Onassis Roussel de Miranda, granddaughter and sole heir of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis)

In 2003, there were 884 registered Belgian comic series.

Belgium has more comic makers per square kilometer than any other country in the world (even Japan).

97% of Belgian households receive cable TV – the highest percentage in the world.

Belgium has the highest density of art collectors of any country.

A 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Belgium as the best country for children’s educational well-being.

According to a 2007 European Commission report, Belgium has the lowest salary gap between men and women in the EU.

Neanderthal skulls were first discovered in the Belgian village of Engis (suburb of Liege), in 1829, although the name comes from the Neander Valley in Germany (the site of a later find in 1856).

Belgium provided the uranium for the A-Bomb dropped by the Americans on Hiroshima. It came from the colony of Belgian Congo.

The name of the euro currency was first proposed by a Belgian to the European Commission in 1992. The design of euro sign (€) was created by the Belgian Alain Billiet.

Belgium is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with the population density similar to that of Japan and India.

Belgium has 3 official languages. The North (Flanders) speaks Dutch, the South (Wallonia) speaks French, and a tiny part in the East speaks German (only 0.6% of the total population).

People in Brussels, at the center of the country, speak mainly French, Dutch and English. Most Belgians are at least bilingual or trilingual as a consequence.

Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons communicate in English together, instead of trying to speak each other’s language. This way, there is no hesitation about which of the two languages to use, and it prevents giving the advantage to the native speaker of the chosen language of communication.

Flemish is considered a dialect of Dutch. Brussels has its own Flemish dialect, spoken mainly in the Marolles quarter (south of the Grand Place).

In 1820, Belgium had the 2nd highest GDP per capita in Europe. In 1900, it had become the highest in Europe, with over twice the individual income of Italy or Norway. In 1950, after two devastating wars, Belgium had fallen in 5th position, behind Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, who had stayed neutral or suffered less from the World Wars.

Belgium is also the world’s main diamond centre (in Antwerp) and second largest petrochemical center. 90% of the world’s raw diamonds are negotiated and distributed in Antwerp.

Belgium’s long neutrality in history, and its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, make Belgium the seat of the European Union and NATO.

One day when the category of Belgium comes up on Jeopardy, you will thank me.

As a parting picture, everyday I am shocked that children make it to adulthood here. (Rush hour, major intersection, 2 turning lanes, 4 straight lanes, tram crossing and she is in the bus lane)

**Thank you to multiple internet sources for all the facts. Forgive me for not citing individually.

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2 Responses to Week Twenty-one

  1. tjebran35 says:

    I love trivial facts … my organic computer is into terabytes with trivia, so always glad to add more. How high did Zane’s fever get before he broke out with Roseola? His Nana was the only one of ours who had it and her temp got to 105 with no other symptoms, so tgohere was great relief when she finally got the rash. Hope you are all well … the new twins are doing well according to all reports. Love the blog, as always. Hugs to all!!!

  2. Inge van Coppenolle says:

    Val, your blog is just fantastic and so much fun to read .. especially for a Belgian family living in the US 😉 .. keep it going girl and continue the trips in and out of Belgium !! Bart, Inge and Louis

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