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Capital of Belgium
Like any European country, Belgium is famous for its unusual and sometimes strange rules, which for tourists can become a real obstacle to normal rest. The cultural differences between Belgians and other inhabitants of Europe are very noticeable, so it is better to discuss in advance those things that are unacceptable in Belgian society. There are not so many general rules that limit guest behavior in Belgium.
Language issue in Belgium – a sore subject for a number of regions. The state, formed as a disputed colony of France and Holland, has a very scattered map of languages for each land. For example, in Flanders it is worth addressing people only in Dutch, or, in extreme cases – in German. In Wallonia, on the contrary, – you should communicate with people only in French. There are often cases when even the waiters in Flanders restaurants refused to serve customers who speak French, this is considered a daily occurrence here.
Renting a car
The narrow streets of the ancient cities of Belgium are absolutely not adapted to withstand heavy traffic. Traffic jams here – everyday life, so renting a car is strongly discouraged. The country has a developed network of electric trains for traveling between cities, and within the city it is best to travel by bike or by metro, if we are talking about a large city. In addition, in Belgium they regularly raise fines for incorrect parking, which will be another argument against vehicles.
Forgetting documents when leaving the hotel
Among the Belgian police there are an unspoken rule about checking every foreign tourist in the city. This check consists in the simple presentation of a passport in order to identify the person. You can approach a tourist or a tourist group at any time of the day or evening, you don't need to be afraid, the procedure takes no more than a couple of minutes. In order not to have to spend time in the area, it is better to always have with you passport or driver's license. Colored copies of documents are treated with caution in Belgium.
Take off your shoes indoors
A strange tradition of Belgian etiquette for our tourists – even in your own home, never take off your shoes. for those who stay in the room for a long time, there may be special lightweight shoes or an analogue of room slippers, but walking around the apartment barefoot, especially – visiting here is considered the height of indecency. It is worth knowing this and guests of Belgian hotels – the idea of heating in the winter time in guest houses is very relative, unaccustomed, some tourists freeze and arrange unjustified scandals with the management.
If in Germany fines for even the most insignificant offenses seem huge to Russian tourists, then even more unpleasant impressions await them in Belgium ... There is a differentiated system of fines for street pollution. So, for a discarded cigarette butt or chewing gum past an urn, you have to pay 60 euros. The fine for an abandoned plastic bottle or any other non-degradable waste can be up to 150 euros. But even with such penalties, some Belgian cities are not particularly clean streets.
Trash cans in Belgium
Drink Belgian beer
It may sound strange, but the famous Belgian beers only pay off through export sales. The Belgians themselves treat the foamy drink in two ways. On the one hand, in every city in Belgium you can see the famous beer vans – a kind of small bars on wheels. On the other hand, among the local population, the main consumers of beer and visitors to such establishments are – These are people far from the intelligentsia, so respectable Belgians prefer to drink wine in cafes and small cozy restaurants, but not beer.
Carrying a firearm
More recently, it is prohibited in Belgium to carry any type of firearm. This was due to a number of incidents where innocent people suffered. Belgian law includes any means of self-defense, including pneumatic ones, as well as antique and collectible pistols, shotguns, rifles and muskets, to firearms. Even to take out the purchased gift pistol from the store, you will have to carry a certificate certified by the police station.
Smoking in restaurants
Another recent ban in Belgium was smoking in public places, in particular – in cafes and restaurants. The penalty for this is still fixed – 150 euros, but there are often cases when the management of the institution forces the offender to pay a more impressive amount. This is due to the fact that if, due to an oversight of the staff in a cafe or restaurant, someone lights a cigarette, then the owner of the establishment will have to pay 1 500 euros to the treasury. A cigarette butt thrown out of the window of any house is estimated by local authorities at 675 euros.
Coming to visit without warning
Belgians cannot be called hospitable people, if only because according to local customs, the guest must give a two weeks notice about his arrival. Of course. Few people observe this rule in modern society, but an unexpected guest can easily stay on the street, even with the best intentions.
Talk about politics
The topic of politics in the capital of the European Union Brussels – this is a taboo for most people, since every day they receive a huge amount of information on this topic from a variety of sources. Another topic not worth raising is the Belgian royal family.
Pay with cash everywhere
There are one-time payment restrictions throughout Belgium cash funds. This is done in order to control the income of the population, but the rule also applies to tourists. It is best to pay with bank cards, so as not to attract the attention of pickpockets.
Look at passers-by critically
More advice than a strict rule. The sense of style among the Belgians is very specific, the everyday clothes of even respectable people can be wrinkled or too bright. It is best to look at this through your fingers, so that the local public does not upset a pleasant vacation with unpredictable scandals.
When traveling to Belgium, you should consider the above tips. But don't be afraid, pick a tour and hit the road.
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Topic: Things not to do in Belgium.