Belgium

When, Where, Why:

I studied journalism my first year at university and took classes here in Summer 2009. We wrote articles about the European Union, took history classes on the current state of Europe, and researched modern issues facing Belgium.

I would love nothing more than to live here again.

In under 50 words:

Belgium is half French (Walloons, south) and half Dutch (Flemish, north), with a dash of German and their relationship is by no means entirely peaceful. From European history Belgium has everything from power-hungry dictators like King Leopold II, to concentration camps and battlefields, to political headquarters, to art and architecture.

Experience:

One of the most interesting places I’ve traveled from a political standpoint, with buildings from both the European Union and United Nations. Les mannequins pis are scattered throughout Bruxelles/Brussels (try to find the female one). Breweries churn out some of my favorite bottled classics. Visit WWII memorials in Flanders, the diamond museum in Antwerp/Antwerpen, art in Ghent/Gent, small-town Bruges/Brugge, and the international flavor of Brussels, especially Saturday morning markets in Place Flagey.

Food & Drink:

Beer, bread, Battlestar Galactica. Des pommes frites (or just “frites” for those who like to keep things simple) are the crown glory of Belgium. Maison Antoine in Brussels is the place to go, and be sure to get a healthy portion of la sauce andalouse or mayonaise on top. Belgian cuisine is heavily influenced by the French and therefore absolutely delectable. Without a style of its own, heavy sauce-laden German dishes and the airy French meals strike a beautiful harmony here.

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