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How to piss off a Belgian

Ask if Brussels is in Germany.

Be completely oblivious of geography, history, and politics. Ignore the fact that it’s actually the capital of a country quite commonly referred to as “Belgium,” which declared its independence in 1830. Remind us that, indeed, not so long ago zie Germans did wander around within our country’s borders for a lengthy period of time.

Because we share borders with countries such as the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, and France, it’s of course more than likely that we are actually merely a province.

Assume we all speak French.

After a lengthy discussion, during which we show you our passports, pinpoint Belgium on Google Maps, and finally have you convinced that the annexation to Germany did not happen…assume we all speak French.

Conveniently fail to acknowledge that about 60% of our citizens speak Dutch, along with more than 75,000 that speak German. Disregard the fact that it’s also quite common to be bilingual here. Ask if we’re sure Dutch is an actual language, or be amazed that it’s spoken outside of the Netherlands.

Tell us you really enjoy Belgian beers: Blue Moon, Flying Fish, Horny Devil…

Try to bond with us in a bar by telling us the story of that night out on the town when you tried several real Belgian Beers — not Belgian Style Beers, as the labels read. Be sure to be very confident — you surely knew what you were drinking, so who is this Belgian guy to claim it wasn’t genuine Belgian beer?

As you raise your pint of Blue Moon, become increasingly self-assured with every sip you take. Your beer is as Belgian as Leffe, Duvel, Stella Artois, and Westvleteren, no doubt about it. Continue to celebrate your new friendship, and confide in us that you think they all taste the same.

Pretend to be an expert on ‘Belgian waffles.’

Not only did your last trip to New York consist of exploring the Big Apple, you also tried Belgian waffles for the first time. There’s of course no difference between waffles from Liège or Brussels and those served at Wafels & Dinges. You had a great waffle, one with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and strawberries and/or chocolate.

But there was something missing, was there not? So when you got home, you decided to make the recipe even better by taking some of the traditional toppings and giving it that little bit of extra by adding layers of bacon and maple syrup. Not less is more — more is more. You even took a picture, which you now brazenly show us, expecting a thank you for improving on the namesake of our homeland.

Bring up the tax thing like you know what you’re talking about.

Remember that article in the newspaper about which countries have the highest total tax rate? The one that highlighted Belgium being almost 20% above the EU average? Also the same article that suggested your country is somewhere in the middle.

Well, now that you’ve got us, it must be time to mention how hard it already is for you, how you can’t imagine living like that with the government emptying your pockets. Pay absolutely no attention to our excellent healthcare system, and forget that we provide for the unemployed.

Ask about French Fries.

You’ve eaten mussels and French fries and you loved them — we all do. But why are they called French fries all over the world?

We always enjoy being reminded that one of our favorite dishes is associated with the French, despite the fact that we prepare our fries differently. Perhaps now is also the the time to mention how you always forget whether Brussels is situated in France or Germany…

Photo: Kevin Van den Panhuyzen 

This post was published in its original form at Mr. Good Life and is reprinted here with permission.

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