Country profile

About Belgium: an introduction for medical tourists

Belgium may not be the first country that springs to mind as a tourist destination, but when you dig a little deeper, you’ll soon see that in fact it is a country not to be missed. All that is good about Europe is concentrated in this compact country. Travelling about in Belgium is easy – nothing is too far from anything else and the country has some of the continent’s finest historic cities.

Think Belgium and you probably think of frothy beer and rich chocolate, and with over 650 different beers and thousands of chocolatiers, you certainly won’t’ be disappointed when you visit. What you might not expect is the dramatic contrasts of Belgian life, where medieval architecture plays host to modern surrealist art, and a typically laid-back European café culture continues in the shadow of imposing business-like tower blocks.

While less famous than France for their cuisine, Belgian restaurants can more than hold their own when it comes to fine dining, blending influences of France and Italy with the generous portions and warm welcome of the Germans.

Often the focus of world media attention, the Belgium capital, Brussels, is home to the European Union and NATO, taking some of the biggest decisions imaginable. Yet this unique city also plays host to one of Europe’s most enchanting squares, the Grand-Place, a buzzing plaza flanked by stunning medieval buildings and quaint side streets packed with cafes and intriguing shops.

The diamond capital of the world, Antwerp is a dazzling sight, while Bruges has so many exquisite medieval buildings that the whole city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to the city’s famous Belfry tower is a must to take in the sheer beauty of this remarkable city.

Belgium is almost two countries in one, with the Dutch speaking Flemmish in the north and the French-speaking Walloons in the south with a German-speaking area in Wallonia for good measure. A long period of instability in terms of government between 2007 and 2011, during which the country was without a government for 589 days, has now ended. A new Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo took the helm at the end of 2011. Talk of dividing the country along its linguistic and cultural boundaries still rumbles on but, for the moment, Belgium is still Belgium.

Brussels, sits across the cultural divide, with most inhabitants of the capital bi-lingual and far more multicultural than their regional counterparts. This is partly due to the city’s role as the headquarters of key international organizations and partly due to its ease of access to mainland Europe and the rest of the world. It is just 160 km from the international airport in Schiphol (Amsterdam) and just a couple hours from London (UK) by Eurostar, giving access to the equally busy airports at Heathrow and Gatwick.

Belgium has a great deal to offer. One of Europe’s best kept secrets, this small European country will surprise and delight you at every turn.

Cosmetic surgery in Belgium: More about the country

Located at the crossroads of Western Europe between France and Holland Belgium is an intriguing country boasting stunning architecture and fabulous cuisine. Famous for its strong dark beers (Belgium produces more beer than any other country) mouth-watering chocolate, Agatha Christie’s shrewd detective, Hercule Poirot and the comic strip character, Tintin, there is much to see and do in this fascinating country.  Take a cruise on the network of ancient canals in Bruges, treat yourself to a delicious waffle snack on a beach in Oostende, dine on mussels and fries, browse in a fine arts museum or learn about the county’s art for chocolate-making at Brussels’ Musée Cacao.

The capital, Brussels, is a lively cosmopolitan city and the HQ of the European Union (EU) and NATO as well as a whole host of international trade and finance companies. It may be a governmental town but Brussels has plenty more going for it.  In 1893 and the 1910’s the city was the scene of an architectural revolution when a bold new style, the Art Nouveau movement, came into place which spread to Paris, Barcelona and Glasgow.  The Lower Town is the spiritual heart of Brussels and split into three; Grand’ Place, the old medieval area, St-Géry and Ste-Catherine, where all the hip bars, restaurants and designer shops are located and Marolles, which is known as the working class area.

Soak up the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere taking in its beautiful Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque buildings then dine in one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants (Brussels rivals Paris on the Michelin-starred restaurants quota) before taking a wander in the Parc de Laeken which houses the Atomium and several palaces.   Finish off your day with a Belgian beer on a terrace of one of the city’s many bars.

In the north, Flanders (the Dutch speaking region) is a flatland criss-crossed by canals, with medieval art cities, Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. The beautiful medieval city of Bruges is known as the ‘Venice’ of the North and one of the most picturesque cities in Europe.  In the French speaking area in the south, Wallonia, you’ll find the rolling hills of the Ardennes, countless castles, and the cities of Liege, Namur, and Tournai and with more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world you can enjoy acquainting yourself with Belgium’s heritage. 

With a population of around 10 million Belgium is a multicultural and multilingual country with three official languages (French, Flemish and German), but English, dubbed the fourth ‘unofficial’ language is also widely spoken.  The Belgians don’t take themselves too seriously and are typically warm and welcoming people, all the more reason to combine a trip to this fascinating country with your overseas healthcare.

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Quick facts

Population: 11 Million
Currency: Euro
Capital: Brussels
Languages: Dutch, French, German
Religions: Catholic


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