Cultural Info: Belgium

Did You Know...

Not many people in the beauty industry know that the word "spa" - which is used to refer to relaxing places where you can receive wellness treatments - originated in the Belgian city Spa.

Belgium has the longest tram line in the world, being 68 km long (that's more than 42 miles!), opened in 1885. The line runs on the Belgian coast, all the way from the border with France to the border with the Netherlands.

Few know that New York City was founded by the Belgian citizen Pierre Minuit in 1626, when he purchased the island of Manhattan from its original inhabitants.

Skulls of the Neanderthal primitive men were first discovered in the Belgian village of Engis in 1829. Although this location was linked to the first discovery, the name "Neanderthal" comes from the Neander Valley in Germany, when more remains were found in 1856.

The first comic, then animated series, and today world-wide movie "The Smurfs" - the small, blue anthropomorphous creatures that live in mushroom-shaped houses - were created by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo (aka Pierre Culliford) in the late 1950s.

If you are a foodie, Belgium is the place for you! Belgians claim to have invented french fries (or simply "fries" if you live there). Also, the country is famous for its delicious chocolates (more than 220,000 tonnes are produced every year!). In fact, if you ever have a layover at the Brussels International Airport, beware: it is the world's largest chocolate selling point!

Hear From A Student

After reading all of these facts, you still have questions and want to hear from a former study abroad student what they experienced in Belgium? Check out this page with students reviews!

Page last modified January 24, 2020