Tintin's homeland

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2011, 12:00am


This month the Kingdom of Belgium celebrates its 180th birthday.

Belgium had a revolution in 1830. After the revolution, it was difficult to find someone to lead the country. After six months, Leopold of Saxon-Coburg-Gotha agreed to lead the nation. On July 21, 1831, he became the first King of Belgium. The present king of Belgium is King Albert II.

The people

There are about 11 million people in Belgium. Some of them speak Dutch, some speak French, and a few speak German. Those who live in the north speak Dutch and the people of the south speak French.

People in Belgium have one of the highest standards of living in the world.


Children aged between six and 18 have to go to school. There are a very high number of students who go on to college or university.

Nearly everyone in Belgium can read and write.

The country

Belgium is surrounded by four countries. The borders are as follows: France (620km), Germany (167km), Luxembourg (148km), and The Netherlands (450km). The total area of the country is 33,990 square kilometres.

The country has a good supply of water. The ground is good for growing crops.


Belgium imports raw materials and processes them before exporting them. Belgians work hard. They import uncut diamonds, which they cut and polish for export. Belgium is also well-known for its delicious food and beer. Belgian chocolates are famous worldwide. French fries come from Belgium.

The popular Smurfs cartoon characters are a famous Belgium export. The comic stories The Adventures of Tintin are also from that country.

The country has also produced famous athletes such as tennis stars Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.

Now do this:

1 If we were to wish the Belgian people 'Happy Birthday' in their own language, we would say ...

a. 'Joyeux anniversaire'

b. 'Fijne verjaardag'

c. 'Alles Gute zum Geburtstag'

2 Which country has the longest border with Belgium?

a. France

b. Germany

c. Luxembourg

3 For which sport is Justine Henin known?

a. golf

b. tennis

c. swimming