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Belgium

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About Belgium

Sandwiched between the Netherlands and France, Belgium is an exciting country known for its culinary delights including chocolate, waffles, and fries (dipped in aioli, not ketchup of course). Because Belgium is located on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, the country is privy to a temperate climate and some offset winds from the ocean. Topographically Belgium is quite flat with grassy hills and a small number of forested mountains. Both the landscape and the changing climate are helping to aid Belgium’s wine industry - as temperatures shift, so do the styles of wine being produced. Historically Belgium has faced struggles with viniculture since the Middle Ages where grapes battled the ‘Little Ice Age’ which cooled the lands enough to create harsh winters and expanding glaciers. The opposite is happening now, however, where rising temperatures are favorable for growing grapes. Belgium is famous for its Trappist beers, a beverage that is created specifically by monks in a Trappist monastery. In the 14th century, monks were also responsible for cultivating vines on their abbeys that would make for a safe alcoholic beverage during special occasions. Today over 90% of the wine production in Belgium are white wines with many being chardonnay, riesling, sparkling wine, and pinot gris. Many of these wines can be found in the Flanders and Wallonia wine regions which cover only a tiny amount of land; Belgium is considered to be the smallest wine producer in the world (when including recognized wine regions) because the whole country has only 185 hectares of vineyards, which is diminutive compared to France which has a whopping 865,000 hectares of vineyards.

FACTS

Population
11.46 million (2019)

Area
30,689 sq km (11,849 sq mi)