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  • Let me tell you a little story

  • Once upon a time, France had a son named Wallonia

  • and the Nederlands had a son named Flanders

  • One day a bunch of crazy stuff happened in Europe blablabla

  • After all the crazy stuff subsided

  • Flanders was like ''Hey Wallonia''

  • Yeah

  • I'm gonna move out of my parent's place

  • and I got this new rad appartment

  • but I kinda need another guy to help me pay for the rent

  • I don't know, you're kind of a cool guy, I guess, would you like to be my roommate?

  • Yeah, sure, I guess, why not

  • But, just for the record, I don't speak any Dutch

  • Oh no worries, I don't speak any French!

  • And that is how Belgium became a country, kind of

  • Hey everybody I'm your host, Paul Barbado

  • you've all probably at least heard of the name Belgium

  • and if you have: congrats!

  • That's not enough

  • let's dissect the flag

  • First of all, the flag of Belgium looks like the flag of Germany knocked over to the left side

  • But just keep in mind the color sequence is black-yellow-red not black-red-yellow

  • Also the flag has an unusual proportion of 13 to 15 making it almost a square

  • The flag's colors are direcrly corolated to the country's code of arms

  • The black representing the shield and the determination

  • The yellow the lion and generosity

  • And the red representing the lion's claws and tongue and the crown

  • As well as bravery and strength

  • Speaking of strength, you gonna need a lot of it

  • to understand this next part

  • 00:01:24,180 --> 00:01:25,900 If you gonna learn anything about Belgium

  • the one thing you have to understand

  • is how the country is split up

  • this is very important

  • So pay attention, Brandon!

  • Oh, wha... wha... Azerbaijan?! Yea

  • Dude, that was like eight epidodes ago!

  • First of all, Belgium is located in Europe

  • Right under the Netherlands and northeast of France

  • Right at the foot of the North Sea, next to the English Channel

  • In the most fundamental way I can put this

  • Belgium is divided into three regions

  • The Dutch or the Flemish speaking north region called Flanders

  • The south or French Walloon region called Wallonia

  • And the capital Brussels acts in itself as a third region

  • And functions in a completely bilingual way

  • Most of the people in Brussels speak both, Dutch and French

  • However, French is a little bit more prevalent

  • Got it? Ok, good!

  • 'Cause we're not done

  • Each of the Flanders and the Wallonia regions are then divided in 5 provinces each

  • Making a total of ten provinces

  • Brussels doesn't count and it's considered its own region

  • Not belonging to either Flanders or Wallonia

  • Even though, if technically it's completely ingulfed in Flanders

  • But then again the region around Brussels

  • Has a French administrative area around the city

  • Called the "BHV", or the "Brussel Halle Vilvoorde" County

  • In which large numbers of French minorities live

  • And can be judged in French

  • Even though, it's in Flanders

  • Still with me? Good, because it gets even crazier

  • The French also have administrative centres in the southeast and the southwest regions of Flanders

  • And a Walloonian municipal exclave in the west Flanders province

  • Called "Comines Warneton"

  • Even though, most of the people there speak Dutch

  • Furthermore, the Flemish have one municipal exclave in the "Liège" Province in Wallonia

  • Called "Voeren"

  • Oh! We're just getting started though

  • Then you have the German speaking minority in the east of Wallonia

  • In the "Liège" province

  • Who are making propositions to create an 11th province

  • Called "Eupen Sankt-Vith"

  • Speaking of Germans, Belgium has a lot

  • And I repeat

  • A lot of weird territorial claims and boundaries

  • For one, there are technically five German exclaves

  • Hidden right along the border of the "Liège" province in east Belgium

  • However, these exclaves are only separated from mainland Germany

  • From a Belgian train track

  • The "Vennbahn"

  • Which is no longer in use

  • This means that you can be in Germany

  • And you have only 10 metres between you and Belgium

  • Between you go back into Germany

  • The smallest of these German exclaves is just a small house near the German town of "Konzen"

  • With a front yard less than two hectares in area

  • Oh, but wait! There's more!

  • Then you reach the ever so confusing town of "Baarle Nassau / Hertog"

  • In which there are 22 Belgian enclaves in the Netherlands

  • And eight Dutch enclaves in Belgium

  • Seven of which are counter-enclaves, or

  • A part of the Netherlands in Belgium in the Netherlands

  • These borders, at first, make no sense

  • Apperently, they cross awkardly through streets, buildings, restaurants, stores

  • And even houses

  • A person can literally wake up in one country

  • And shower in the other

  • The rule is: Whatever side your front door is on

  • is the country that you pay your taxes to

  • The reason why it's so confusing is because, long story short

  • There was a guy ruling the area, called Henry I Duke of Brabant

  • Who gave parses of land to Godfried II of Schoten

  • Who ruled the area to the east

  • And in an attempt to build an alliance

  • So that his enemy Dirk VII wouldn't expand his influence

  • Long story short

  • Henry's land became Belgium and Godfried's became the Netherlands

  • To this day, the two countries have stayed true

  • To Godfried's and Henry's agreements

  • And have spilt the land exactly how they did

  • But wait! We're not just done yet

  • Finally you have the confusing "Lys Rivièr" River

  • in the border between the Walloon province of "Hainaut" and France

  • Starting in the town of "Halluin" in France

  • This river zigzags for about 26 km with multiple river islands

  • And land pieces that act like pene-enclaves

  • Until it all stops at the town of "Armentières"

  • Each side has in equal seven enclaves each along the river

  • Ok! Now let's talk about the landscape

  • 00:04:41,720 --> 00:04:43,380 It's mostly flat, outside the cities

  • there's farms and forests, pretty lush in green

  • However, the World Wide Fund for Nature ranks Belgium pretty low in terms of their environmental performance

  • And the water quality was the lowest in the EU

  • Mostly due to the high population density

  • Belgium isn't really agriculturally driven

  • I mean, economically most of their revenue comes from

  • machinery, pharmaceuticals, diamonds

  • Many of which were imported from the Congo

  • We'll explain about that in a little bit

  • And service and industry jobs as well

  • Ok, that's about it - moving on

  • 00:05:12,620 --> 00:05:14,140 Now, this is where things get really strange

  • In the shortest way I can put this

  • Belgium is like an artificial country

  • With technically no distinct former idendity

  • In which two region kinda became roommates

  • And the respective communities have a government

  • with the same power as a central government

  • Hah, and you thought Andorra was confusing

  • with that whole co-principality thing

  • Brother please, I'm Belgium

  • Sit down and I gonna give you a lesson in complicationmanatics

  • First of all, Belgium has a little less than 11 million people

  • At about 57%, the slight majority of people, are flemish

  • From Flanders

  • About 42% are Walloon from Wallonia

  • And 1% German from the German community

  • Keep in mind, although it's debatable

  • The terms "Flemish" and "Walloon" are more in reference to "linguistic communities"

  • And not ethnicities

  • By definition, you could have a Congolese guy in "Liège"

  • Identifying as a Walloon

  • And a Maroccan guy in "Antwerp" identifying as a Fleming

  • As long they speak the languages and become citizens

  • That's pretty much it

  • In terms of race though,

  • About 77% of the people identify as ethnically Belgian

  • And the remaining 23% identify as Non-Belgian

  • In origin, some of the largest groups being Maroccans, Italians, Turks

  • And even Congolese from the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • As it was a former Belgian colony, along with Rwanda and Burundi

  • Which is where a lot of the diamonds

  • We talked about earlier

  • Come from

  • The Belgians even took over a small part of China for a couple of decades in the 20th century

  • In Tianjin, after quickly gaving it back

  • And to this day pictures from the Belgian-Chinese colony

  • Are some of the rarest fotos you can find in historical archives

  • As we mentioned, Belgium has three distinct regions

  • Flanders, Walloon and Brussels

  • However, regions weren't enough

  • And so Belgium decided to split things up even more

  • Into communities

  • Due to German speaking minority, predominatly in the southeast

  • Belgium created a semi-mediarary third community

  • Even tough only about 1% of the country actually speaks German

  • Less than the amount of people in Belgium who actually speak arabic

  • And has instituted three seperate governments

  • And parliaments, one for each language group.

  • The Dutch, French and German

  • Each of these governents actually has as just much as power as the central government

  • Wait what?!

  • On top of that, the French and Dutch communities are allowed to provide

  • cultural and social services to the citizens in Brussels

  • But not in the other region

  • This means that a family living in Brussels

  • Could possibly depend upon the central government for taxes

  • The French government for community centres

  • The Dutch government for schools

  • And the Brussels government for the police force

  • Four government acting at once

  • And then you have a King!

  • Long story short, Belgium became a constitutional monarchy that started in 1830

  • With Philippe I as the current head of state

  • They are the only monarchy in europe with no actual crown or lavish robes and cepters

  • They gained independance from the Netherlands,

  • French speaking Wallonia joined along and then they chose a German prince to become their first king

  • In terms of culture, Belgium can be attributed to a lot of things

  • For one, some of the world's most renowned surrealist artists came from Belgium

  • Like Rene Magritte

  • Cartoons like the "Smurfs" and my homeboy

  • "Tintin"!

  • I have read almost every single one of those comics

  • Aint nobody mess with Tintin. That dude is mad boss

  • The national dish is mussels with French Fries and mayonnaise

  • Belgians will tell you that fries originated from Belgium

  • And of course, Waffles!

  • They make some of the best chocalate in the world

  • That rivals Switzerland. And of course

  • Everyone's favourite Belgian: "Jean-Claude Van Damme"

  • They host the headquarters of the EU and are typically called upon to help Europe administer their diplomatic affairs

  • Affairs with other countries we will discuss in:

  • 00:08:25,340 --> 00:08:28,160 Oh, Belgium, Belgium, Belgium - when will you learn

  • First of all, Belgium is a very neutral country

  • After gaining independence from the Netherlands

  • Belgium quickly rose to become one of the leading powers of the industrialized Europe world

  • And it was a founding member of both, the EU and NATO

  • This means that since day one Belgium has had a huge entourage of affiliates

  • That they have kinda kept close

  • However, some are still closer than others

  • The UK has always been a good buddy of Belgium

  • since they played a pivotal role in the independance of Belgium

  • The US is also a good friend and to this day they still commemorate the "Battle of the Bulge"

  • In which the US played a huge role induring the liberation of Belgium in WWII

  • The only country that might have a little bit of a distaste towards Belgium

  • Might be the Democratic Rebublic of Congo

  • As they were occupied and became a colony for little less than a century

  • Belgium kinda did a lot of "things" to the Congo

  • Although tensions are generally eased off a bit today

  • And numerous Congolese people immigrate to Belgium yearly

  • There is still a somewhat aversion

  • That lingers on in in the back of each Congolese mind

  • When history is brought up

  • Of course, as you would guess France is a close friend too

  • Whom not only played a role in Belgium's independence

  • But also culturally resonates with the south Walloon region as well

  • The Netherlands is a close friend as they jive well with the Flanders region

  • Dispite the fact that they have a somewhat friendly rivalry with each other

  • Over the years many referendums have actually passed in Belgium

  • In which they almost considered re-annexing themselves back

  • To their respective neighboring contries,

  • The Netherland and France

  • However, they just can't seem to do it

  • Even though the sense of nationalism is kinda weak

  • Except during soccer games

  • In which they go all out Belgian pride

  • They still can't seem to let go of each other for some weird reason

  • In terms of their best friend though,

  • They would probably consider Luxembourg

  • Luxembourg is kinda seen as like the little brother of Belgium

  • And has been there with Belgium since the very beginning