The Nation that Shattered America's World Cup Dreams: 5 Amazing Facts About Belgium

Following USA's heartbreaking—if expected—loss to Belgium in Round 16 of the World Cup, we decided to dig up dirt on the country that handed our asses to us in a vuvuzela. We were hoping for some ammo should we ever run into a smug Belgian in a bar—you know, just a couple snarky retorts about their general inferiority to bolster our flagging spirits.

But upon doing some research, we realized a sad truth: Belgium isn't lame at all. In fact, it may be the coolest country in the entire world.

At least we're better at American football?

A Belgian artist has the only piece of art on the moon

Sure, we were the first country to send a person to the moon (and we're not denying that's extremely badass), but it's an artist from Belgium, Paul Van Hoeydonck, who has the only piece of art on the moon: "Fallen Astronaut," a memorial for those who lost their lives in pursuit of space flight.

Belgium's the best at beer and chocolate

Everyone knows the two very best things in the whole wide world are chocolate and beer (not necessarily in that order). And Belgium pretty much rules at both. Sigh.

This is a country that brews some 450 varieties of beer, many of which are served in personalized glasses designed specially for that varietal (fancy!). The country is also home to six of the seven surviving Trappist breweries, where brew is famously crafted by monks according to centuries-old methods (extra-fancy!).

Belgium doesn't mess around with its chocolate either: The country produces 172,000 tons of the sweet stuff each year, sold at more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country. Furthermore, it was a Belgian chocolatier, Jean Neuhaus II, who invented the first hard chocolate shell, paving the way for chocolate filled with cream, caramel and whipped praline. Let us all take a moment to thank the great and noble Neuhaus who has fueled fat-kid fantasies for 102 years now.

It has barely any McDonald's

Perhaps because they're too busy imbibing fine beer and chocolate, Belgians have low tolerance for half-baked pseudo-burgers. The country has one of the lowest proportions of the fast-food chain in the developed world. (About seven times fewer McDonald’s restaurants than the U.S.)

It was a gay rights trailblazer

While America is just now getting around to gay marriage (and damn slowly at that), Belgium legalized homosexual unions all the way back in 2003. It was the second country in the world to do so after the Netherlands.

It has a better soccer team than we do

Too soon?

Image: ThinkStock

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