Visit Belgium at your own risk

Written by Olivia Regout - 06 Jan 2014, 00:00 (Updated: 12 Jan 2022, 04:28)
Visit Belgium at your own risk
Belgians are reckless drivers. The roads are full of potholes and wild animals. Let’s not even talk about the constant flooding from the coast or the thieves crouched in the shadows waiting to rob you at any moment… Embassies warn their travelers of the dangers of this country. Ok, it’s true we are exaggerating, but by how much? You decide.

In order to know everything about a country, the security, habits and customs, embassy websites compile all the necessary information for a seamless trip. But sometimes the advice for travelers is almost unbelievable.

We will have a close look at what our neighbors tells to their citizens who would like to go to Belgium.

Road conditions and lost sheep

It’s unanimous, Belgian traffic is dangerous! There are speed limits, but not many drivers respect the rules. According to the Japanese embassy, Belgians are straight out aggressive behind the wheel. Basically, watch out for fast and dangerous traffic.

The American embassy recognizes that the road network of this little country is well built and maintained, but they do recommend paying attention to potholes that are often on principal roads.

For the Swiss embassy, the danger lies in the undesired encounter with Belgian wildlife: “There is a risk of nighttime highway accidents because of wild animals.”

Brussels crime 

Ok, that’s fair. Brussels is not exempt from crime. You should be vigilant in train stations such as the South station (Bruxelles-Midi) where pickpockets are common. However, the embassy’s recommendations sure do make tourists nervous.

The United States embassy is acting a bit paranoid. In bars and restaurants, “Don’t sit next to doors where thieves can reach in and grab a bag that is placed on a chair or on the floor next to it.” Even in hotels, there still is risk: “Ensure that rooms have door and window locks. When possible, select a room above the ground and first floors.”

Don’t just park anywhere either: “When a parking garage is not available, look for a spot near a street light.”

The Canadian embassy reminds their citizens to watch out for kind people: “Always be suspicious if someone offers to help you with a flat tire. These individuals may have punctured the tire themselves and seize the opportunity to steal a bag or other valuable objects while you are distracted.”

The British embassy is not pulling any punches: “Keep car doors locked and windows secure at all times. It is increasingly common for thieves, usually on motorbikes, to break a window and snatch valuables from the front or back passenger seat when the vehicle is stationary at traffic lights.”

Demonstrations that go wrong

For the Embassy of New Zealand, “New Zealanders are advised to avoid all protests as they can occasionally turn violent.”

Water, the mother of all evils

If thus far you’ve managed to travel unscathed, you aren’t out of the woods yet…

The Embassy of Japan has just one piece of advice for your health: “Do not drink water from the sink in Belgium.”

While the Canadian embassy is concerned for its citizens who would like to spend a weekend on the coast… 

You've been warned! Visit Belgium at your own risk...

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