Belgian National Day

Belgian National Day is a holiday observed on July 21st in Belgium and commemorates the anniversary of King Leopold I—the first monarch of Belgium—in 1831. It’s a national holiday in Belgium that’s known as “Nationale feestdag van België” in Dutch, “Belgischer Nationalfeiertag” in German, and “Fête nationale belge” in French. Because this is a public holiday, some stores will be closed, and their bus service will usually operate only on a Sunday schedule. It’s also a day when banks are closed, and postal services will not be in operation.

The History Of Belgian National Day

After the Napoleonic Wars, Belgium became a part of the United Netherlands, but that changed after the Belgian Revolution forced Dutch forces out of the country from August to October of 1830. By November of that year, the revolutionary factions in the country had decided to form an independent Belgian state and began to draw up a constitution. It was then decided that the country would become a constitutional and hereditary monarchy.

They then sought out a monarch, whom they eventually decided would be Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha—a German aristocrat who had earned a degree of popularity in the United Kingdom. The prince arrived in Brussels in July of 1831, and by July 21st, he had sworn allegiance to the country’s constitution and had been sworn in as the country’s first monarch. This is why many Belgians consider this to be the beginning of the Kingdom of Belgium and why Belgian National Day is celebrated on July 21st.

Interesting Belgian Facts

Below are some fun Belgian facts that we think go along quite well with Belgian National Day.

  • Even though there are three official languages in Belgium, there is no Belgian language.
  • The three languages in Belgium are Dutch, French, and German.
  • Belgium’s football team is called the Red Devils.
  • In an average Belgian supermarket, there can be over 30 different types of waffles.
  • Belgium has the best chocolate in the world—according to Belgians.
  • Belgians invented “French Fries.”
  • Speaking of French fries, Belgians eat those with mayo, not ketchup.

Customs, Traditions, And Celebrations On Belgian National Day

This holiday is observed all over Belgium and is also observed by Belgian emigrants living in other countries. In Belgium, it’s a public holiday that’s one of the many that are observed nationally each year. It’s also a day that’s usually observed by some type of formal televised speech by the King of Belgium.

In and around Brussels, there are a variety of different activities on this day. At the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, there’s a Te Deum—a Latin Christian hymn—that’s attended by dignitaries and the King. Later that day, the Belgian Armed Forces and Belgian Police Force are reviewed by the King. There’s also a parade around Rue de la Loi and in front of the Royal Palace. In other parts of Belgium, there are usually church services, public concerts, and flea markets. All over the place, Belgian flags are displayed from private homes and by businesses.

Where is it celebrated?
Belgium (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 21 Sunday
Next year (2025)
July 21 Monday
Last year (2023)
July 21 Friday