The Belgian National Day: 5 Things That Belgium are Known For

Belgian flag with Happy Belgian National Day written on it

Flag -Colaborador Foto / Shutterstock

Every 21st July, Belgium bursts with national pride and unity, marking its National Day. This day commemorates the birth of modern Belgium, serving as a poignant reminder of the struggle for independence and the journey towards self-rule.

The History Behind Belgian’s National Day:

After the Napoleonic Wars, Belgium was annexed to the United Netherlands, leading to widespread unrest. The Belgian Revolution in 1830 resulted in the expulsion of Dutch forces and the call for an independent Belgian state. The aspiration for a constitutional monarchy led to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’s ascension on 21st July 1831, birthing the modern Kingdom of Belgium.

Belgium’s National Day is a vibrant exhibition of patriotism. Brussels hosts a grand military parade, showcasing the strength of the Belgian Armed Forces. The King, the royal family, and high-ranking officials bear witness to this procession, symbolising the country’s resilience.
As evening falls, fireworks illuminate the Belgian skies, setting the stage for social and cultural events. These gatherings foster a sense of community and camaraderie among Belgians, amplifying the spirit of this day.

Belgium’s National Day serves as a testament to the country’s journey, allowing Belgians to appreciate their shared history and look towards a future of unity and perseverance. Thus, every 21st July, Belgium celebrates its birth from resilience and hope.

5 Things that Belgium are Known For

1. The Manneken Pis

Otherwise known as the boy urinating in the fountain statue, this has to be at the top of our list. It has become iconic to the point where it has been used as a cliche on t-shirts and beer labels across the world. For tourists this statue is a must-see point in Brussels, but for locals it has come to have a deeper meaning that symbolises the steadfast, highly-individual, and playful nature of the Belgian spirit.

The infamous Manneken Pis statue that depicts a boy peeing into a fountain
Image –
Frédéric Paulussen / Unsplash

2. Waffles

You definitely will have come across these freshly-baked, or crunchy crystallised delicacies as a popular dessert item worldwide. The Brussels waffle is the type most commonly associated with “Belgian waffles” outside of Belgium. These waffles are rectangular, large, and feature deep pockets. The Liège waffle is the crunchier variety of the two, made with brioche dough and caramelised sugar chunks.

A pile of famous Belgian waffles with vanilla ice cream and sauce
Image – Kate Mishchankova / Unsplash

3. Chocolate

Belgian chocolate is renowned worldwide for its high quality. Belgium is home to some of the world’s finest chocolatiers, including Neuhaus, Leonidas, and Godiva. The country also hosts the Brussels’ Chocolate Museum and countless chocolate shops, making it a chocoholic’s paradise.

Selection of decorated Belgian chocolates
Image – Jessica Loaiza / Unsplash

4. Beer

With a brewing tradition stretching back centuries, Belgium offers a diverse array of beers. From Trappist ales brewed in monasteries to fruity lambic beers and the globally recognised Stella Artois, the country boasts over a thousand different varieties.

View of a cool Belgian beer on a sandy beech
Image – George Cox / Unsplash

5. Architecture

Belgium’s rich history is reflected in its architecture, from the medieval buildings in Ghent and Bruges to the Art Nouveau townhomes of Victor Horta in Brussels. The Grand Place in Brussels, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is widely renowned as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.

view of Grand-Place in Brussels, famous architecture
Image -François Genon / Unsplash

If you’d like to read more about the goings on in Belgium, stay up to date with our Belgian News section.

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Written by

Emily Herbertson

Originally from the UK, Emily is based in Marbella and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at