For a hearty dose of the medieval architecture and atmosphere in time-capsule condition, Bruges is a lovely spot, despite the fact that hordes of tourists would agree. Brussels and Antwerp are both dynamic cities, or scale down the pace a touch in Ghent, once a medieval city to rival Paris and today one of the swingingest towns in Belgium
On the moral freedom front, Belgium is a world leader. Much has been done recently to grant gays and lesbians equal rights to heterosexuals. Euthanasia was legalised in 2002, though recent proposals to broaden the laws to include adolescents and dementia sufferers are being fought by religious leaders.
Plenty of other subjects are hotly debated over a Duvel or two, not least the 2007 federal election, which may see Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt returned for a third term. If the results of 2006’s municipal elections are any indication, however, Verhofstadt’s Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (VLD) party, plagued by infighting during the last few years, should be worried. So, too, should the Green parties, whose support has plummeted recently due to the major parties incorporating environmental issues into their own platforms.
Many are also discussing the future of ultraright-wing party, Vlaams Belang (VB). VB leader Filip Dewinter failed in his bid to become Antwerp’s burgomaster during the municipal elections.