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Photo: sinceeurope.eu.

So, try to imagine you’re all settled in Belgium and have made some Belgian friends. Would you like to impress them on a casual trivia night, with facts from their own country no less? Here Knowinsider would like to provide you with a list of 9 curious Belgium-related things you should know about!

The “Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels was written in Brussels

The (in)famous German philosopher Karl Marx lived in Brussels in 1845–1847, joined by his collaborator Engels. They drafted and published the Communist Manifesto almost entirely in Brussels. If you visit Brussels, you cannot miss the restaurant Le Cygne located in the Grand-Place where Marx wrote his famous work.

The Big Bang theory originated in Belgium

A well-known theory -The Big Bang one. It is indicated by Expatica that it was a Belgian, the priest and physicist (apparently not a contradiction in terms) Georges Lemaitre, who first came up with what is now called the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe in 1927. The theory is often attributed to Edwin Hubble, although records show Lemaitre published a similar theory two years before Hubble.

Belgium holds the world record for the longest period without a government

I’m sure this one will ring a bell if you follow the news. The world record for a democratic nation to be without an elected government is held by Belgium, which lasted for 589 days in 2010-11. Following national elections, the opposing Flemish and Walloon regions were unable to agree on policy issues and form a governing coalition. To think Brussels governed Europe at the time without having a proper government in their own country!

0002 palais de justice from hilton
Photo: Enw.

The Law Courts of Brussels is the world’s largest court of justice

With a construction area of some 26,000sqm, it is bigger than St Peter’s Basilica in Rome by 5,000sqm. On the topic of construction, the façade of Brussels’ Royal Palace is 50 per cent longer than Buckingham Palace.

Belgian men are the second tallest in the world

With a height of 181.7cm, only Dutchmen are taller at 182.5cm. The same can’t be said for Belgian women, however, who rank 21 at 165.5cm tall.

Belgium produces more than 220,000 tons of chocolate per annum

This one also goes without saying… Check out our article on the 5 best chocolatiers in Brussels! Tell us which ones we’ve missed and chocolatiers in other Belgian cities.

In the 1970s, light beer was served during school lunch

We all know Belgians love their beers, so something like this shouldn’t surprise us, right? In traditional Belgian culture, it was acceptable for everyone, including children, to drink a kind of light, ‘table beer’ as they drank their water and coffee. In fact, it was the norm until the 1970s, but it was eventually replaced by water and soft drinks. In the 21st century, many organizations tried to reinstate this custom citing that it is healthier than many types of soft drinks including juices which cause diabetes, cancer and all sorts of illness. For example, in 2001, a Flemish beer lovers’ club asked around 30 Belgian schools to change their fizzy drinks to this tafelbier or bière de table, a beer with low-alcohol content (lower than 1.5%).

Robert Cailliau, co-inventor of the World Wide Web, is a Belgian

Most of us know that the World Wide Web was developed in CERN in Switzerland. What we don’t normally know is by whom–it’s actually by an English scientist called Tim Berners-Lee. But did you know that it wouldn’t have been possible had he not received help from his Belgian colleague Cailliau?

Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels

The very first needed-to-mention-fact is the birth of Audrey Hepburn. According to the spotahome.com, the epitome of elegance and one of the most iconic Hollywood stars of the last century, Hepburn captivated (and still does) many a cinephile. Just like her birthplace–Brussels’ multilingual and multicultural identity, she was a polyglot fluent in at least 6 languages. Though she was active mostly in the US and held a British passport, her background was extremely pan-European, so it is quite difficult to pinpoint in a few words what nationality or ethnicity she belonged to, really.

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