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Monday 24th June
Belgium Facts
The city of Brussels was founded over a thousand years ago.

The Grand Place in Brussels has been a market place since the beginning of the city's history; in a special festival, held every two years, it is completely carpeted with flowers.

The St Nicholas Church, one of the oldest churches in Brussels, was named after the patron saint of traders.

Guild Houses, built at the end of the sixteenth century, are a reminder of the importance of commerce in the economic history of Belgium.

Brussel sprouts have been grown in the Brussels area for over four hundred years.

Since the fifteenth century Belgium has been famous for tapestry-making. Lace is also a notable local product.

Belgium is famous for its high quality chocolates.

Belgium has around four hundred different kinds of beer; some of the most famous are made by Trappist monks.

Bruges is known as the "Venice of the North" because of its many canals.

Antwerp is one of the world's main centres for diamond dealing, cutting and polishing.

Ostend was an early holiday resort particularly popular with British visitors.

Belgium was the scene of Napoleon's final defeat, at Waterloo, south of Brussels.

Henry Morton Stanley (the explorer famous for finding the missing Dr Livingstone with the words "Dr Livingstone, I presume" ...) was commissioned by King Leopold II to procure what became known as the Congo Free State (and eventually Democratic Republic of the Congo).

King Albert I led the defence of his country against the German invasion during the First World War.

Wilfred Owen, the famous World War I poet, was killed in November 1918 leading an attack across the Sambre Canal.

Edith Cavell, the famous British nurse, was executed in Brussels during the First World War for helping Allied soldiers to escape to the Netherlands.

During the First World War six thousand Belgian refugees settled in the ‘Belgian Village on the Thames’ in East Twickenham, just outside London. Charles Pelabon set up a munitions factory in the area, aiding the war effort and providing work for the inhabitants of the “village”.

The Menin Gate in Ypres was built in memory of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed there during the First World War.

The Belgian politician, Paul Henri Spaak helped found the EEC and was Chairman of the group that signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957.

The Atomium was built for the 1958 Brussels exhibition in the shape of the atomic structure of iron, with nine steel spheres connected by tubes which contain escalators to carry visitors to the top.

The Channel Tunnel opened up direct rail connections between London and Brussels.

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