Friday, March 20, 2015

Belgium: "One Country - Many Cultures "

Belgium may be just one country in the world map, but you’ll get to see a lot of invisible lines dividing the country into pieces linguistically and culturally!.
It’s mainly due to the numerous invasions all through it’s past. The Belgian land has always been occupied by either one of their neighbors; start from the Roman Empires to Spanish, Austria, France, Holland, Germany…. and the list goes on!.

The first and the big dividing line that I noticed is the Flanders-Wallonia border.
The northern half of the Belgium is called as “Flanders””, bordering the northern Netherlands (Holland region) and north-west France. Dutch is the main stream language here. This includes the main cities such as Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Leuven.

To the south is the “”Wallonia””, predominantly French-speaking. Wallonia was rich with Metals and Coal., and was the more prosperous half of Belgium till the World War II. After the WWII, the weightage of heavy industry came down sharply, and there by the Flanders surpassed Wallonia in Wealth.

This difference in economy status & growth has made a huge difference among the people of respective region. I don't find any Flander appreciating the Wallonia, or vice versa.. They are always feel separated :(

Brussels is the capital of the country, which is located on the Flanders side, but most of the people here are not Dutch speaking, it’s primarily French :P . There's also a little German-speaking crowd in the city!.!!!

So naturally, all of these differences make out an extremely complicated government system. There’s a King in Belgium, at the same time it’s a democratic country with a huge parliament!. There are three regional governments, with jurisdiction over the French, Flemish and German areas.

It's actually a bit more complicated than that any alien could think of :) .

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