When is Belgian Independence Day?
This national holiday is celebrated annually on 21 July.
Independence Day celebrates the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands in 1831, as well as the formal establishment of the Kingdom.
History of Belgian Independence Day
Belgium had been part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1815, but the majority of the population were Roman Catholic and increasingly felt the rule of King William I favoured the Northern Protestants. The discontentment was heightened by high levels of unemployment in the South.
In August 1830, riots led to a wider uprising and calls for Belgium to succeed from the Netherlands. A London Conference of major European powers then recognized Belgian independence.
After Belgium asserted its independence from the Netherlands on 4th October 1830, the Belgian National Congress considered several candidates to become king.
After deliberation, they asked Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg to become king of the newly formed country. Leopold accepted and was proclaimed "King of the Belgians" on 26th June 1831.
He swore allegiance to the constitution in the Royal Palace in Brussels on 21st July 1831.
This day became the Belgian national holiday.
The Flag of Belgium
The Belgian flag was first flown in 1830 at the start of the Belgian Revolution, though the stripes were horizontal. The colours of red, yellow and black come from the red lion of Hainaut, Limburg and Luxembourg, the yellow lion of Brabant, and the black lion of Flanders and Namur. The stripes changed from horizontal to vertical in January 1831 in a homage to the French Tricolore.
Did you know?
Belgium has 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including La Grand-Place, Brussels, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai and Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes
Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German.
The word 'spa' for a health resort comes from the town of Spa in Belgium where the ancient Romans enjoyed the health-giving springs.
80% of all billiard balls come from Belgium.
The name 'Belgium' dates back to the Romans. They called the province in the north of Gaul, 'Gallia Belgica' after its previous inhabitants, the Belgae, who were a mixture of Celtic and German tribes.