Belgium’s national holiday – 21st July

Independence day, Belgian style

The 21st July is Belgian’s national holiday – independence day, Belgian style – and celebrated as such in Brussels, which is where I took the following photos. Yesterday Belgium was 184 years old! Well, not quite. They got a King, Leopold I (the German uncle of British Queen Victoria) on 21st July 1831, but their revolution against The Netherlands started on 25th August 1830. Even then they didn’t get around to declaring independence until 4th October 1830. And actually the Dutch didn’t finally admit they had lost control until 19th April 1839. So Belgium is something between 185 and 176 years old then.

Yes, I’ve been reading Wikipedia.

Anyway, we’ve been celebrating and this being Belgium the celebrations have included frites (=chips) and beer, sausage and stoemp (= stomped – mashed – potatoes) and beer, chocolate and beer, and some more beer to wash it down. So you’ll forgive me, I trust, if this contribution is a bit late and principally involves…

Photos

National holiday on Rue de la Régence.
National holiday on Rue de la Régence.
A national holiday tandem
A national holiday tandem – I didn’t ask if it was to be ridden by a Fleming and a Walloon, and if so who would sit in front. Edit: u/autofasurer on Reddit points out that the saddle at the back is facing the wrong way: “I suspect it’s meant as a tongue in cheek critique on the fact that opposing forces won’t get you anywhere.”
National holiday - Face painting with the military
The military were out in force and offering face painting…
National holiday - Boy in spinner
…and also (apparently) imposing intriguing punishments for misbehaviour.
National holiday - The skull cap brigade lines up
Various groups were celebrating in their own special way. Here the skull cap brigade lines up before parading through the town.
National holiday - In the park
A good excuse for a picnic in the park.
National holiday - Peddle car race
Peddle car racing.
National holiday - Waiting for mussels and chips
Waiting for mussels and frites. And beer.
National holiday - Drummers on parade
Here come the drummers.
National holiday - Mask
In case you don’t want to get your face painted, you could instead wear a mask. Though I didn’t see anyone actually wearing one. Edit: On Reddit u/altnabla told me: “You probably didn’t see people wearing the masks because, according to Belgian legislation, it is illegal to wear those in public.” Altnabla backed this up with a link to relevant documentation.

The day ended with fireworks, but I don’t have any photos, so you’ll just have to imagine them. Probably just as good – if not better – than the real thing.


This article was written for the #Blogg52 challenge.

I originally published this article on the separate Stops and Stories website. Transferred here with a little polishing for SEO and a new featured image 8th August 2017.

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