Well situated between France and Holland, the kingdom of Belgium has all the best that Europe has to offer. Also referred to as the Essence of Europe, Belgium is both multicultural and multilingual.
Belgium is mostly known for its beer, chocolate and diamonds. It is a genuine paradise for gourmet lovers. Belgian cuisine is as good as the French one, and as generous as the German one. Belgium has over one hundred breweries for about 10 million inhabitants. Nowhere else can so many different brewing styles be found. There are approximately 500 different beers with their own composition and character, all served with their own glass.
To summarize, Belgium is...
- a young nation (1830) overrun in the past by the Spanish, the French, the Austrians, the Dutch and the Germans.
- a melting pot of cultures straddling the boundary between the Germanic and Latin worlds.
- 6 million Flemings, 3.5 million Walloons, and 1 million inhabitants of Brussels.
- 0.02% of the earth's surface and 0.16% of the world population.
- 30,528 km² in surface area.
- bordered by France, the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Germany.
- flat, with the Signal de Botrange (694 meters) in the High Fens as its highest point.
Did you know?
That Hop was first used in beer around the year 1000?
The use of hops to help preserve and aromatize beer originated in Germany in the area of Bremen and later spread around the world. Before 1400, most English ales were unhopped and in fact often sweet. With the introduction of hops, formerly used herbs fully died out...
The story of beer begins in the Middle Ages at the time when monasteries and abbeys had a monopoly on brewing beer. The first written record of brewing technology was the work of Father Ekkehard, friar of the Sankt Gallen monastery in Switzerland. Not only was beer safer to drink than water, but the rich abbey beer was also a form of highly nutritious 'liquid bread'.
While revolutions came and went, monasteries continued their traditional role as food repositories. Wine, beer and cheese therefore have sacred origins. One of the most known Belgian abbey beers is Leffe. Leffe is brewed according to the traditional recipes of the monks of the Abbey of Leffe. The symbol of Leffe is the picturesque tower of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Leffe in Dinant, Belgium where the beers found their origins as far back as 1240.
In parallel with this time, brewing activities outside the monastery walls developed from the twelfth century on. And no country developed in that time as many different beer types as the country of Belgium.