Belgium’s a fascinating country to visit from a cultural perspective. It includes two significant linguistic groups, the Dutchlanguage Flemish and the French-language Walloons, as well as a small but important population of German speakers in Liège. The Belgian Flemish, who make up the majority of the population and have much in common with the people of the Netherlands, mainly occupy the region of Flanders in the northern part of the country. You’ll experience the more Frenchinflected
portion of Belgium to the south in Wallonia. The capital of Brussels offers a cultural snapshot of the country: It’s
bilingual, but French is the dominant language.
The geographic and cultural connections with the Netherlands, France, and Germany have certainly contributed to Belgium’s rich artistic heritage. It’s wonderful to catch a classical concert in Brussels or Bruges—the country is renowned for master composers —but be sure to sample some of the homegrown jazz and pop as well. (This is also the land, after all, of legendary singer Jacques Brel and the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax.)