Frommer's Belgium, Holland & Luxembourg 2009 (Frommer's by George McDonald

By George McDonald

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Extra resources for Frommer's Belgium, Holland & Luxembourg 2009 (Frommer's Complete) 11th Edition

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A provisional Belgian government was formed with an elected National Congress. On July 21, 1831, Belgium officially became a constitutional monarchy when a German prince, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, became king. The new nation set about developing its coal and iron natural resources, and its textile, manufacturing, and shipbuilding industries. The country was hardly unified by this process, however, for most of the natural resources were to be found in the French-speaking Walloon region, where prosperity grew much more rapidly than in Flanders.

33 B E LG I U M , H O L L A N D & LU X E M B O U R G I N D E P T H What to drink? Beer, for one thing. As you make the rounds of the brown cafes (the traditional Dutch watering holes), you can get the regular brands such as Heineken, Grolsch, or Amstel, or you could try something different. I happen to like the witte (white) beer, like Wiekse Witte, which is sweeter than pils, the regular beer. Then there is the potent native gin known as jenever (the name comes from the Dutch word for “juniper”), a fiery, B E LG I U M , H O L L A N D & LU X E M B O U R G I N D E P T H 34 LO O K I N G B AC K AT LU X E M B O U R G 2 instance, enabling the citizens of lessblessed countries—like Germany and France, to name but two of many—to engage in fiscal fiddling and stash the illicit proceeds in your banks.

Napoleon brought the short-lived republic to an end in 1806 by setting up his brother, Louis Napoleon, as king of the Netherlands, and installed him in a palace that had been Amsterdam’s Town Hall. Louis did such a good job of representing the interests of his new subjects that in 1810 Napoleon deposed him and brought the Netherlands formally into the empire. When the Dutch recalled the House of Orange in 1814, it was to fill the role of king in a constitutional monarchy. The monarch was yet another William of Orange; however, because his reign was to be a fresh start, the Dutch started numbering their Williams all over again (which makes for a very confusing history).

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