Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Things I like about Belgium

Canals in Bruges, Belgium

This post is prompted by remarks by Nigel Farage, an MEP for the UK Independence Party, in which he described Belgium as a “non-country“. I think the criticism levelled at Belgium by Mr Farage is unfair and reeks of a ‘my country is better than your country, so nyah’ attitude, which I feel is unacceptable for a supposedly respectable politician.

As a Brit, I feel it is therefore my duty to do my bit to show Belgium that we don’t all think that your country is insignificant. I personally think that the country has several things that are great about it, and once I have some more cash I plan to make another visit to the small but interesting nation.

1. Brussels

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of European Union. I visited in 2002 (back when this blog was barely a month old) and found it to be a great city. It’s well worth a visit and is (usually) less than 2 hours by train from the centre of London.

2. Belgian beer

We Brits are quite good at making beer, and the explosion of micro-breweries over the years has been very welcome. But the Belgians are also worthy contenders and I particularly appreciate their fruit beers such as those by Früli, Timmermans and Liefmans. Leffe is also particularly good, as is the amusingly-named Kwak which comes in an interestingly-shaped glass. Budweiser is also now owned by a Belgian company, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop it tasting a bit like a urine sample.

3. Bruges

I really want to visit Bruges again, as it’s been almost 2 decades since I was there last. It’s a gorgeous city, full of canals and old buildings.

4. Belgian chocolate

While I will always have a soft spot for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, the Belgians have chocolate making down to an art.

5. Belgian waffles

Belgium is the country that introduced the concept of a sweet waffle, perhaps with a Belgian chocolate sauce or some ice cream. I’m genuinely pleased that Wetherspoon’s have started serving these again.

6. French Fries are from Belgium

They’re actually Belgian, not French.


  1. When I was but a wee nipper, my school ran History trips to Belgium to go look at First World War battlefields and the like. Loved the place. Bruges is so nice, loved the little chocolate shops, and was the first time I had mayonnaise on fries.