The capital is famous for its architecture (gothic, Art Nouveau and Art Déco). The Grand-Place is on the list of the UNESCO heritage. Soak up the atmosphere and walk around the place until you find Manneken Pis: a bronze statue representing a little boy having a pee. It was created in the early 17th century by Jérôme Duquesnoy. A legend says that Manneken Pis saved the city from a fire by urinating on the flames. Not far from Brussels, you can see the Atomium. It is like the Eiffel tower for the Belgians. Monument representing a magnified iron molecule, it was specially designed for the World Exhibition in 1958. Belgian engineer André Waterkeyn wanted to present the molecule of crystalline metal, enlarged 165 billion times! The structure is 120 meters high. The topmost ball contains a restaurant and a viewing hall. From there, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view over Brussels. Don't forget to have a look at the masterpieces of the architect Horta, three hotels and a house from the 19th century classified in the UNESCO list as word heritage.
Bruges and Ghent
Bruges and Ghent are well known for their medieval cultural heritage. Both cities are crossed by canals, and are unique in the world. No wonder why people call Bruges the "Venice of the North". More than this, the historic Center of Bruges is an outstanding example of a medieval historic city classified in the UNESCO heritage.
The Romanesque cathedral of Notre Dame de Tournai has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Formerly the town was an important economic center in Europe. Today, Liège is the favorite place to go out. The characteristic districts, the river Meuse, which transects from South to North, the abrupt and wooded hills surrounding it as well as its marked relief, providing a multitude of original perspectives give the city an exceptional charm.
Since 11 December 1986, Namur has been the capital of Wallonia. The Walloon Government set up its ministerial offices on the banks of the river. This quiet town is a great place to go for a stroll.
Situated in the south-east of Belgium, the forest is one of nature's unspoiled area, rich in fauna and flora. The government has developed the region to able people to take a walk. On Sunday, lots of families go there for a walk. There you can visit the "Grottes de Hans", you can taste beer and cheese made in the Chimay abbey, or lounge through the streets of Durbuy, a charming village.
The North Sea
The Belgian coast has a length of 65 kilometers. On the sandy coastline are 15 resorts, each with its own character and unique atmosphere.
Ostende is the easiest Town to reach by train. There you can go for a ride along the seawall using a bicycle or a « cuistax », a kart without motor.
Antwerp, is the second largest port harbour of Europe, and has yearly naval festivities. It has a world renowned diamond stock exchange. It's a very important cultural city from the 17th century. In Knokke, you will see the nature reserve called Zwin with its birds and exotics butterflies.
The Carnival is a part of the cultural heritage. The Carnival of Binche (with the Gilles and their 24 Hour dance), Stavelot (with the Blancs-Moussîs) and Malmedy are spectacular.
In summer, Belgium celebrates music. There are a lot of festivals. Most of them are free.
In September, Belgium celebrates its national heritage. During two weeks, lots of museums, town houses and sites are free access.
Here are the Belgian public holidays and the official school holidays (in red)
- 1st January : New Year's Day
- February or March, 1 week : Carnival holidays
- March or April, 2 weeks : Easter holidays
- first Monday following the full moon after the 21st march : Easter
- Monday 1st May : Labor Day
- Thursday 40 days after Easter : Ascension Day
- Monday, 7th Monday after Easter : Pentecost
- July and Angust : Summer holidays
- 21st July : National Day
- 15th August : Assumption of Mary
- November, 1 week : All Saints holidays
- 1st November : All Saints' Day
- 11th November : Armistice Day
- December, 2 weeks : Christmas holidays
- 25 th December : Christmas
- 8th May : Feast Day of the Brussels-Capital Region
- 11th July : Feast Day of the Flemish Community
- Third Sunday of September : Feast Day of the Walloon Region
- 27th September : Feast Day of the French Community
- 15th November : Feast Day of the German-speaking Community
Here are celebrated feasts that are not public holidays
- 6th January : The Epiphany
- 14 th February : Valentine's Day
- 6th December : Saint Nicholas