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Talk:Belgium

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For future reference the Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import can be found at Talk:Belgium/CIA World Factbook 2002 import.


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There is an irritating busybody who keeps substituting "Flemish" for every reference to "Dutch" (the main official language in Belgium). Administrators please note: there IS no language called Flemish and it is not about to originate either. The language spoken in Belgium is the same as in Holland!

Information moved from main page[edit]

The below was removed from the main article because a schedule is not the best information to have in the article due to the fact that it may change. What would be better is to have a few paragraphs explaining the possibilities along major routes. -- Ilkirk 13:02, 4 Nov 2005 (EST)

selected trains[edit]

  • IC 522 Oostende (22:39) - Brugge - Gent St Pieters - Denderleeuw - Bruxelles-Midi - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Nord - Schaarbeek - Leuven - Tienen - Landen - Waremme - Ans(B) - Liege-Guillemins - Angleur - Pepinster - Verviers Central - Welkenraedt (2:00)
  • IC 626 Antwerpen-Berchem (5:32) - Mechelen - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Midi (6:14)
  • IC 1544 Liege-Guillemins (22:06) - Ans(B) - Waremme - Landen - Tienen - Leuven - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Midi - Denderleeuw - Gent St Pieters - Drongen - Landegem - Hansbeke - Bellem - Aalter - Maria-Aalter - Beernem - Oostkamp - Brugge - Oostende (1:11)
  • IC 2128 Arlon (5:46) - Marbehan - Libramont - Jemelle - Marloie - Ciney - Namur - Gembloux - Ottignies - Bruxelles-Luxembourg - Bruxelles-Schuman - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Midi - Denderleeuw - Gent St Pieters - Brugge - Oostende (9:52)
  • R 5307 Bruxelles-Midi (7:06) - Jette - Zellik - Asse - Mollem - Merchtem - Opwijk - Heizijde - Lebbeke - St.-Gillis - Dendermonde (8:00)
  • R 5308 Bruxelles-Midi (7:56) - Jette - Asse - Merchtem - Opwijk - Lebbeke - Dendermonde (8:39)
  • R 5309 Bruxelles-Midi (9:06) - Jette - Asse - Merchtem - Opwijk - Dendermonde (9:40)
  • R 5336 Dendermonde (16:11) - Opwijk - Merchtem - Asse - Jette - Bruxelles-Midi (16:47)
  • R 6490 Louvain-la-neuve-Uni (19:33) - Ottignies - Limal - Bierges - Wavre - Basse-Wavre - Gastuche - Archennes - Florival - Pecrot - St.-Joris-Weert - Oud-Heverlee - Heverlee - Leuven (20:27)
  • R 6492 Louvain-la-neuve-Uni (21:33) - Ottignies - Limal - Bierges - Wavre - Basse-Wavre - Gastuche - Archennes - Florival - Pecrot - St.-Joris-Weert - Oud-Heverlee - Heverlee - Leuven (22:27)
  • IC 6701 Schaarbeek (9:31) - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Midi - Denderleeuw - Gent St Pieters - Brugge - Blankenberge (11:02)
  • IC 6702 Jemeppe-sur-Sambre (7:21) - Auvelais - Tamines - Chatelet - Charleroi Sud - Marchienne au Pont - Courcelles-Motte - Luttre - Nivelles - Braine-l'Alleud - Bruxelles-Midi - Denderleeuw - Gent St Pieters - Brugge - Blankenberge (9:59)
  • IC 6751 Blankenberge (16:38) - Brugge - Gent St Pieters - Denderleeuw - Bruxelles-Nord (18:00)
  • IC 6752 Blankenberge (17:57) - Brugge - Gent St Pieters - Denderleeuw - Bruxelles-Midi - Braine-l'Alleud - Nivelles - Luttre - Courcelles-Motte - Marchienne au Pont - Charleroi Sud - Chatelet - Tamines - Auvelais - Jemeppe-sur-Sambre (20:25)
  • IC 6969 Ottignies (18:16) - Bierges - Leuven (18:43)
  • R 7302 Genk (6:37) - Kiewit - Hasselt - Alken(B) - Sint-Truiden - Landen - Tienen - Leuven - Haacht - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Congres - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Midi (8:34)
  • R 7310 Landen (6:08) - Tienen - Leuven - Haacht - Schaarbeek - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Midi (7:18)
  • R 7349 Aarschot (6:47) - Wezemaal - Leuven - Bordet - Merode - Delta - Etterbeek - Bruxelles-Luxembourg - Bruxelles-Schuman (7:49)
  • R 7362 Hasselt (6:29) - Diest - Aarschot - Haacht - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Midi (7:48)
  • R 8200 Bruxelles-Schuman (17:26) - Bruxelles-Luxembourg - Etterbeek - Merode - Vilvoorde - Mechelen - Antwerpen-Berchem (18:15)
  • R 8362 Bruxelles-Midi (16:09) - Bruxelles-Central - Bruxelles-Nord - Haacht - Aarschot - Diest - Hasselt (17:29)


Language[edit]

There is no such thing as Flemish language. Flemish is an umbrella for very many Dutch dialects (about two thousand; literally every village has its own) spoken in Flanders. But the only offical language is Dutch. See the Flanders' official site if you don't believe

Stay Safe[edit]

removed sentence[edit]

I removed this sentence from the Stay Safe section:

 One exception: when driving a car, don't annoy other drivers with more expensive cars.

It's biased and not even funny. See Neutral point of view (NPOV), an official policy on Wikipedia

Ninja Neko 07:23, 31 July 2006 (EDT)

While you have a good point, understand that this is not Wikipedia. Wikitravel's standard for this is "be fair", which is considerably more tolerant of opinion than Wikipedia's. - Todd VerBeek 08:15, 31 July 2006 (EDT)


Generalization and racism[edit]

The following sentence contains a generalization about black people and muslims: 'For black people and muslims it is always best to introduce yourself as a tourist`. This gives a bad image about black and muslim Belgians. It is not rational to associate "danger" with a whole race or religion. I suggest removing the sentence or adding a more precise one (for example in poor areas). This is really ridiculous and turning this travel article into a political debate. Before closing I recommend the moderators to monitor this article, especially expressions claiming the superiority of the Flemish over the Walloons.

I agree with you about the statement in 'Stay safe' and I have removed it. However, I could not find the comments regarding Flemish and Walloons that you referred to. Anyway, please note that every contributor on Wikitravel is a moderator, so if you feel that information is incorrect, please plunge forward and change it. However, when you do so, explain your reasons in the summary box at the lower end of the screen, or on this page if you make a major change. In this way, there is more chance that your edit will be accepted, and not reverted. If you plan to hang around, I suggest that you check out the information on these pages: Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals and Wikitravel: Manual of style. They will help you understand the Wikitravel set up, and make it easier for you to contribute. Finally, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me or any of the other regular contributors. Thanks for your input. WindHorse 09:22, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Respect[edit]

I find this sentence "Also there can be some differences between the North and the South, Flanders tends to be more open-minded" to be a blatant contradiction to the recent trend in Flanders, illustrated by the tremendous growth of the notoriously closed-minded far-right party "Vlaams Belang". I do not wish to be the cause of yet another heated debate about the political tendencies of the Dutch-speaking community, I would just like to point out that though the author may see himself and the people of Flanders as more open-minded, all the factual evidence screams the contrary. And this particular sentence I am talking about is just one of a series of relatively "unfair" comments which, instead of helping out the potential traveler, give him a biased view of Belgium. Basically, this whole article is almost offensive, and in a way, it's pretty sad too, simply because it seems to reflect the sorry state of affairs in a portion of the Dutch speaking community. Indeed, some seem to believe that the Flemish are superior to the Walloons (in terms of intellect, open-mindedness, etc.). The trend can obviously be found in members of the two communities, but at least the Minister-President of Walloonia has never declared the Dutch speaking people around Brussels of being intellectually unable to learn French (cf. the recent declarations of Yves Leterme, the current Minister-President of Flanders). If one day you feel like creating a credible travel guide about Belgium, stay clear of this kind of biased comments. On the other hand, if you wish to promote Vlaams Belang's political agenda, go on like this, you're doing a good job of driving this country to a disastrous collapse.

Please note that I do not wish to associate the Flemish society as a whole with the Vlaams Belang. (Most Flemish still seem indeed to be able to exercise their rational faculty). I just wish to point out the trend.

Hypertranslations[edit]

This article (and most articles about Dutch-speaking places) seems to be written mostly by Dutch-speaking people, because it suffers from an ailment that seems typical of Dutch-speakers: to translate what does not need to be translated, or indeed, should not be translated at all.

Consider the following: Vlaanderen, Antwerpen en the river Schelde or generally known in English as Flanders, Antwerp and the river Scheldt. So it is reasonable to use these long-established English names, and add the local version where these may be handy, such as for road signs and train stations.

However, Oost-Vlaanderen, Vlaams-Brabant, Zeebrugge and the Westerschelde are all but unknown to 99% of English speakers; they have not yet reached a consensus on whether to use an English name for these concepts. So why do contributors to Wikitravel (and Wikipedia) force-feed foreigners with names like "Flemish Brabant" without even once mentioning that you need the name Vlaams-Brabant if you want more information?

Moreover, Flemings and Dutchmen are polyglot: they translate names not only into English, but also into Spanish and Portuguese and Italian and whatever other language they happen to learn. In French (and sometimes German) it is the indigenous population that comes up with translations for places just across the border. But in other languages, especially English, it is the locals who insist on not using the real names, but making up translations.

Finally, they are also adept at keeping alive names that would otherwise die out. The town of Mechelen is known in French as Malines. The English used that name in the days they called Aachen Aix-la-Chapelle. Now that the British have noticed that French is not spoken in either town, it is mostly Flemings who insist on using the French name in English. Yet anyone who wants to buy a train ticket there will have to know the Dutch name and no other.

Isn't this worth thinking about? Why not always use the real name, and add translations merely as explanations?


The English translation for Mechelen is Mechlin, not Malines. This translation has now virtually died out although its origin is not French and therefore should not bother the Flemings who consider English borrowings from French (like Louvain, Bruges, Ypres, etc.) as archaic, misleading or even offensive. Could it be revived on this page?

Bruges[edit]

Bruges the biggest city of the world in the 14th century? That's so sad, since this has never been the case. Ever. It was never even the biggest of Belgium, even of Flanders. In fact, in the 14th century, Bruges was absolutely dwarfed by Ghent, which was the second most important city north of the Alps, the most important being Paris, almost rivalled by Ghent. Bruges the biggest? We laugh with Bruges! har har!!

PS. In the 15th century Antwerp was the biggest city, but the Spanjards strangled the city economically, leading to a brain drain, and therefore to the rise of Amsterdam and Holland's Golden Century.

Bruges the biggest, hahahahahha.


Why not change it then, instead of just commenting here? Ninja Neko

Respect section[edit]

Some remarks here:

  • A real Belgian patriot is very hard to find. The recent struggles in our country (read: we don't have a government since the politicians are bickering) has shown that there are a great number of people that do care for Belgium. The prominent Belgian flags displayed on many houses/appartments can attest for their patriotism. Maybe this can be mentioned?
  • The country shares virtually all its history with the Netherlands [...] and also France [...]. I'm not sure if this is correct. The people, the Belgae were around in Caesar's time even. The country has been independant for almost 200 years now, had its own colony too (Congo). Either way this statement is not necessary to mention in a 'respect' section, or am I wrong?
    • This is the most stupid statement I ever heard about Belgian history. Even prior to its independence from the Netherlands, the territory now known as Belgium had a history of its own. I re-wrote it extensively because it IS very important : medieval history is the reason why Belgium is a touristic area, just think about Bruges and the Brussels' grand-place, all these places are historical landmarks and they have nothing to do with either France or Netherlands...
  • What on earth is radically gay? People who don't tolerate straight people? :D That's rather hilarious. And muslim-feminist is also a bit far-fetched, I don't think that feministic muslimas are an issue anywhere in Western Europe. I'll remove these two terms.

Ninja Neko

Go ahead and change the history section. I agree that statements such as "a real Belgian patriot ...." have no place in a travel guide.--Wandering 10:16, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Major Cities: Brussels[edit]

Does Brussels' touristic interest really boil down to a couple of streets around the Grand' Place? That is really appalling!! It is not hard to tell that the person who wrote the Major Cities section is an Antwerpenaar. It's perfectly fine to promote Antwerp, Dinant, etc. but it is both grossly misleading and offensive to present Brussels in TWO sentences in the Major Cities section, and then mention it as a uninteresting place best avoided by tourists (too many criminals and eurocrats, apparently...) I'm truly shocked! You could at the very least mention some of the numerous Brussels museums. Be honest and get your facts right, please!

Actually all the city descriptions were way too long, and I've cut them down to size. They're supposed to be just very brief pointers, with the actual content in the articles themselves.
And oh: Plunge forward! Jpatokal 11:43, 11 April 2008 (EDT)
Like Topsy, they have grown again - both in number and prolixity... --Ttcf (talk) 03:19, 11 April 2014 (EDT)

Economy[edit]

Do we really need a headline about the Economy? Globe-trotter 10:32, 12 April 2008 (EDT)

Not a full headline, no, but I rescued some bits into a "Work" section. Jpatokal 01:53, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

I edited under the "sleep" section[edit]

I added the Conrad Brussels, I am doing a whole project on Belgium (Brussels specificaly) if you have any good places in Brussels for Belgium Waffles, please tell me!!!!

Psst — we've got a whole article on Brussels at, whaddayaknow, Brussels! Jpatokal 02:42, 20 August 2009 (EDT)

Apparent Flemish Bias / Historical inaccuracy[edit]

First of all : the article seemed to be heavily Flemish biased, with countless of references to Flemish places & events (even some whose relevance could be discussed) and almost nothing from Wallonia, giving the impression that there is nothing to do there. Although it is clear that the most famous touristic places such as Bruges or Ghent are located in Flanders, it is clear that Liège is one of the most exciting places for nightlife, and most of the parades, carnivals, and festivals are located in Wallonia - they were not even mentioned on that article !

Second of all : the reason why Belgium is visited by toursits is for its historical landmarks such as the buildings of Bruges and the Brussels Grand-Place. So why was the historical section so empty ? It is important to know that Belgium was the place of a rich history if you want to enjoy its treasures. And this would avoid stupid assumptions such as "Belgium shares its history with Netherlands and France", which completely wrong.

Therefore, I edited to add some Walloon places (and I even was fair enough to add other Flemish places), and I made a complete historical introduction to Belgium.

Get in entry requirements[edit]

In case anyone wants to know the source of my edits to include information about the visa exemption for 'Annex II' nationals to work during their 90 day visa-free entry, see this European Union document - [1]. 195.195.166.57 17:41, 30 May 2011 (EDT)

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