By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (July 21, 2022) – In Issue 2022-126 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we learn waffles are not the only Belgian food we seem to love in America.

Belgium – Home of French Fries

Today is Belgium’s National Day.  On this day in 1831 Leopold I became king and the constitutional monarchy, and parliamentary democracy was established.

Belgium is an interesting country in that it was formed rather recently by European standards, and it is quite heterogeneous in terms of cultural make-up.  The two primary groups are the Dutch speaking Flemish and the French speaking Walloons to the south.  There is a German speaking minority along the eastern frontier.

Today’s Belgium has a bit over eleven million people, so comparable to Ohio’s population.

Its capital, Brussels, is the headquarters for both the European Union and NATO.  That translates to a lot of bureaucrats…

A bit of trivia – French Fries originate from today’s Belgium in the late 17th century.  American soldiers stationed in Belgium during World War I heard their local counterparts speak French while eating the fries.  Supposedly that miss association is the reason why they are called French Fries in America, versus Belgian Fries.  The British sensibly call them chips.

This 1792 Elwe map shows today’s Belgium plus the Netherlands to the north.


Belgium – 1792 (Credti Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.