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A Guide to Belgium’s Customs & Culture

Culture Smart Belgium

Culture Smart! guides are written for people who want more than just the nuts and bolts of where to stay, what to see, and how to travel. Short, sharp and humorous, they deal with the richly rewarding human dimension of foreign travel by telling you about the beliefs and attitudes of the people you will meet and about situations you may encounter. They help you to understand what makes people tick, the values they live by, and the kind of behavior that will be reciprocated with goodwill and hospitality.

The latest in the series is Culture Smart! Belgium. This is how the publisher describes it:

“Belgium has somehow acquired the reputation of being Europe’s most boring country – a reputation that is entirely undeserved. But perhaps this bland image is a smokescreen, the conventional exterior hiding a subversive sense of humor, a surreal imagination, and a deep-rooted disdain for authority. Or perhaps it is a camouflage, a way in which Belgium, still overrun – however peacefully – by foreigners, can keep a few of its secrets to itself.

“Two main factors seem to determine the values Belgians hold and the ways they approach life: the effects of the linguistic divide, and the country’s long history of exposure to other cultures through trade, war, and occupation – its experience of being simultaneously very small and very strategically placed.

“Culture Smart! Belgium will help you navigate these swirling waters. It is for anyone who wants to understand Belgian society and encounter it with sensitivity and poise. It traces the land’s turbulent history and looks at how the past has shaped the collective and personal values of today’s Belgians. It looks at the Belgian people at work, at play, and at home, and offers tips to help you get along with the people you will meet, on both sides of the divide, and navigate the new situations that you are likely to encounter.

What topics does it cover?

As you can see from the below overview of the chapters, the book is extremely comprehensive.

Culture Smart! Belgium is ideal for anyone thinking of coming to Belgium, either for a short vacation or for a longer stay. I read it and found it accurate and up-to-date, and even features a section on the COVID pandemic. And it’s highly practical, with good solid recommendations as to how to integrate as smoothly as possible into Belgian life. I thoroughly recommend it.

How to get your copy of Culture Smart! Belgium

Book Details:

  • ISBN: 9781787023123
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page count: 200
  • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
  • Published at: £9.99 / $14.99 / CAN $19.99

Culture Smart! Belgium is available from various book retail outlets or direct from the publisher. Or you could participate in my Instagram giveaway where you can enter your name to win one of two free copies. If you’re not on Instagram, enter your name in the comments below, make sure you are already following Discovering Belgium, and I’ll add you to the giveaway lottery. Any questions: just drop me a line.

Finally, here’s what the author says about Belgian national identity which you may find interesting:

20 thoughts on “A Guide to Belgium’s Customs & Culture”

    1. Yes I read it Timothy, perhaps that didn’t come out sufficiently well in the text above. Yes I thought it was highly accurate, written by someone who knows Belgium well.

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