A small country with both Wallonian and Flemish identity, it is the home of the European Union and the producer of good quality chocolate. Belgium has also offered up an interesting array of artists, authors and comic book heroes.
Belgium has a strong tradition of producing visual arts with Rubens, Van Eyck, PieterBrueghel and van Dyck all hailing from here. The surrealist masterpainter Magritte is another famous Belgian as well as Oostend-based artist James Ensor. This tradition even stretches into the world of comic strips, as both the fictional world-traveller Tintin and the small blue universe of the Smurfs are both Belgian creations.
The country also has a strong body of literature in its possession with writers like Flemish Hugo Claus, Nobel Laureate Maurice Maeterlinck who won the prestigious prize in 1911, the creator of the detective-novels about Maigret, Georges Simenon and on a more modern note, Amelie Nothomb, who has won several awards for her work.
Jacques Brel, who was born in Schaarbeek rose to international fame as a marvellous singer. The same can be said for fellow Belgian, Toots Thielemans, albeit instead of using his voice, Thielemans has been a true jazz-magician with his harmonica. Other noteworthy Belgian musicians include alternative rock-groups Hooverphonic and dEUS as well as the rapper Baloji.