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 Jul 21 2021

Nationale Feestdag van België and the Beer Culture in Belgium

Since 1890, the Belgian National Day is celebrated on July 21, to commemorate the date of the investiture of King Leopold I, the country's first monarch, in 1831. Leopold I was a German aristocrat born in Coburg in the tiny German duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in modern-day Bavaria.

The Belgian National Day (Dutch: Nationale feestdag van België; French: Fête nationale belge; German: Belgischer Nationalfeiertag) is celebrated as a public holiday all over the country and in Belgian emigrant communities abroad.


The main festivities occur in Brussels and start in the evening before, with a concert known as the "Bal National". In the morning, there is a church service attended by the King and other dignitaries, followed by a military parade in the afternoon. Traditionally, there is a televised speech of the King and the day finishes with a huge fireworks display.

Throughout the country, celebrations often involve church services, flea markets, and public concerts. Due to Belgium's climate, rain is common on the National Day and is popularly referred to (in French) as the "Drache Nationale" (National Downpour).


Major Antoon Philippe from Belgium is Head of the Civil-Military Liaison Branch in JSEC's Cooperation Directorate, establishing and maintaining cooperation between military units and governmental, as well as civilian organizations at an international level.

Did you know there are more than 300 breweries brewing 800 different kinds of beer in Belgium?

Belgium, commonly known for its fries, chocolate, complicated politics, multilingualism and comic books, produces a huge variety of beers. If you travel through the country, you will find hundreds of breweries and abbeys, which produce their own beer (and cheese). You would be surprised to hear that the 300+ breweries in Belgium brew more than 800 different kinds of beer, varying from blonde to dark, from sweet to bitter and from light to very heavy, many of them with their own unique accompanying glass. Experts say you could drink a different beer every day for about 3.5 years without ever having the same.


Major Antoon PHILIPPE really does like German beer, but he still prefers the bitter Belgian DUVEL.

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command

Leopold I, Belgium''s first monarch, was a German aristocrat born in Coburg in the tiny German duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in modern-day Bavaria.
In the evening before National Day, people start to celebrate on the "Bal National", a popular concert in Brussels.
The Belgian beer diversity is unmatched, there are specialized stores carrying hundreds of different brands, containers and accessoires.
Many beer types in Belgium have their own unique accompanying glass.
Although there even is a beer with his name on it, Antoon prefers the bitter taste of Duvel, even over German beer.

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