• Slovakia!

    Slovakia: Tatra Mountains. Go Now!

    Slovakia
    The Tatra Mountains (pictured) form the backdrop of this rural country, whose culture is rooted in this beautiful landscape. Go Now!

  • Bulgaria!

    Bulgaria: An old Turkish bridge. Go Now!

    Bulgaria
    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

  • Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Portugal!

    Portugal: Palace of Pena. Go Now!

    Portugal
    Although next to the seas and made famous by trade, Portugal boasts dynamic landscapes and architecture, including the Palace of Pena (pictured) near the town of Sintra. Go to Portugal!

  • Denmark!

    Denmark: Landscape. Go Now!

    Denmark
    From cities like Copenhagen to islands, beaches, and vast fields (pictured), Denmark offers incredible history, architecture, scenery, and more. Begin Your Journey!

  • Armenia!

    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

Culture & Identity of Belgium

Introduction

Belgium is a country with numerous ways of life, but business tends to dictate general hours of operation and the work day lays out the schedule for most people in the country. This is best magnified in Brussels as the European Union Commission brings politicians and business persons from throughout Europe to the city Monday through Friday. Secondly, the way of life is strongly influenced by cities as nearly everyone in the country is urbanized; only about 3% of the people are not urbanized in Belgium.

The way of life for most Belgians, and those working in the country, begins early with perhaps a small breakfast or coffee, followed by the commute to work, which often begins at about 8:30 am. For most people with regular working hours the day tends to end at about 5:00 pm, but various jobs have differing hours and in the EU Commission-based Brussels, when the Commission is in session much work and networking is done after hours in bars and restaurants. However, for the majority, the work day ends at about 5:00 pm.

School and education are very important to the Belgians and most children attend school. The school year lasts from the beginning of September to the end of June. Like work, school hours and time off tends to dictate the daily routine.

Evenings and weekends in Belgium are occupied in any number of ways. After a long day of work many people prefer staying in for dinner, but for others this is the best time to socialize and get out on the town. Likewise, weekends (Saturday-Sunday) are also occupied with numerous activities based on personal preference. For many children social activities, clubs, and sports occupy this time, while for others traveling over summer vacation or hitting the town with friends are preferred.

Identity

Most Belgians identify as being Belgian, which is a strict nationalistic identity; being Belgian is defined by being a citizen of Belgium and nothing more. This primary identity was formed to unify the people, who are ethnically diverse, but who also to cling to each other and their freedom over outside invaders and influences.

Among themselves, and many times with foreigners in their country, most Belgians secondly identify by their ethnicity, most notably in the way of being "Flemish" (ethnic and linguistic Dutch, but they don't identify as Dutch) or Walloon (ethnic and linguistic French, but again, don't identify as French).

This page was last updated: November, 2013