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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
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)
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
I removed this sentence from the Stay Safe section:
One exception: when driving a car, don't annoy other drivers with more expensive cars.
Ninja Neko 07:23, 31 July 2006 (EDT)
Generalization and racism
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 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.
188.8.131.52 made this IP edit on 9 November 2014 (UTC): "Keep in mind that in the same way that much of the Stay Safe advice on Wikitravel is written by and for easily scared middle class westerners looking for an excuse to feel miserable while on vacation or to justify their bigotry towards the locals, the Respect section is usually written by some local dude in his underwear at 5 A.M. (the use of caps and bold text is especially indicative of this) giving a totally subjective account of local customs, mostly on the basis of whatever he imagines foreigners do that pisses him off. Generally speaking in our beloved Belgium if you don't shit on the sidewalk, don't go around randomly punching people in the face and are not a Luxemburger people will be cool with you and not give you problems. And yes you can speak French in the north (your mileage may vary) and Dutch in the south (ditto), give us your perhaps not fully thought through opinions on the language issue, tell people in Flanders and Wallonia that they are Dutch and French respectively, confess your attraction to His Majesty King Filip and assume that we all eat Belgian waffles for breakfast, talk about religion (although if you're a Jehova's witness here to warn us about the end of the world you should at least give us the exact date), all that is totes OK because most of us are not so anal as to lose our collective wits over something someone says, especially when it's coming from tourists. When we come to your country we spout similar ill-informed opinions, butcher your beautiful language and do the same stupid things so don't worry and enjoy Belgium."
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?
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.
Some remarks here:
Major Cities: Brussels
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!
Do we really need a headline about the Economy? Globe-trotter 10:32, 12 April 2008 (EDT)
I edited under the "sleep" section
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!!!!
Apparent Flemish Bias / Historical inaccuracy
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
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 - . 184.108.40.206 17:41, 30 May 2011 (EDT)