As a true Belgian citizen, I have to share with you these five things that can only happen in Belgium.
1. Belgian solutions
The Belgians do surely have a practical mind. That they sometimes ignore the ethical aspect of their solutions is also a sure thing. Belgians want to solve a problem no matter how. So it’s very common to see a solution in Belgium which is very practical but you’d nevertheless photoshop it from your tourist picture. These kinds of solutions are therefore called: ‘Belgian solutions’ –and yes, we are very proud to have something named after our nationality!
This doesn’t need any further explanation: Belgians just sometimes like to make things a little bit difficult.
3. Three-dimensional roads
Belgian solutions may be practical, but they are definitely not long-term oriented. If there are holes in the (very bad) road, they simply fill them with some new asphalt. And they repeat this process for as many years as they can. Until finally, they resurface the road! But don’t shout victory too soon: the road will be closed for several months and then, when the surface is resurfaced, they realize they have to break it open again to renew the pipework.
Another expression that finds its roots in little Belgium: the GTI or the Grands Travaux Inutiles (big unnecessary works). Yes, there is our long-term orientation again. Belgians like to invest money –a lot of money- in several projects who will turn out to be economically counterproductive. Building a bridge over untouched land, stairs who lead you to nowhere: we are used to it!
5. Weird sense of humour
While the French are so proud of their Hexagone and the Italians can’t stop talking about their monuments from Ancient Rome, Belgians spend their time making jokes. About themselves. Maybe it’s because Belgium is just that tiny spot on the world map, that we have a good sense of perspective and are able to laugh at our own country. To show you a great example of our humour, we go back to the year of 2006. In that year, Walloon TV channel made a documentary in which they showed that Flanders had declared itself independent. No worries, tiny pretty Belgium still exists!
What about you? Which are for you the most typical Belgian things you ever noticed?