I didn’t get that either and I won’t print what I was thinking. I have always regarded the Belgium’s as nice but fairly serious people who have great taste in beer and came up with the brilliant idea of eating French fries or “chips” as we Brits prefer with mayonnaise! Also we mustn’t forget their claim to fame of having wonderful restaurants, serving delicacies like mussels and pate as well as producing yummy chocolate and waffles, not necessarily served together! It also is where they have the statue with the balls on it and it hosts the EU’s headquarters as well as those of several other major international organizations such as NATO.
What I think a lot of people don’t know, including me until I just found out and felt I had to share was that the UK was home to 250,000 Belgian refugees during World War One, the largest single influx of foreigners in the UK’s history. Germany had invaded Belgium, forcing them to flee. Up to 16,000 a day were arriving in Folkstone and landing at other ports as well, including Tilbury, Margate, Harwich, Dover, Hull and Grimsby. British families were very happy to take them in for what they thought was a few months but the goodwill didn’t last. Most people expected the war to be over by Christmas but it soon became clear that it wouldn’t. As Belgians became more permanent guests a lot of individuals and families who enthusiastically housed them ran out of money and/or patience within a few months and returned the refugees to where they had collected them. Some of the refugees were housed in purpose-built villages and had running water and electricity while their British neighbors didn’t. The British and their welfare system eh?
Agatha Christie is said to have based the character “Poirot” on a Belgian refugee she met in her home town of Torquay. So why is there no Belgium influence left with us? Take food for example. Today we have numerous Indian, Lebanese, Chinese, American, Mexican, French and Italian restaurants but Belgium, not so much. I have met many people from different countries in England but have never met a Belgian there.
So what happened?
When WW1 finished the British government wanted its soldiers back home and the refugees to move back to Belgium. Many Belgians had their employment contracts terminated, leaving them with little option but to move home. The government offered free one-way tickets back to Belgium, but only for a limited period. Oh how times have changed! The aim was to get them to leave the country ASAP. Within 12 months of the war ending more than 90% had returned back to Belgium!
So I am sorry Belgium, that you weren’t allowed to stay longer and share your beer, chocolate and waffle making skills. Now we are all part of The European Union you are more than welcome to relocate back to Britain if you would like. UpakWeShip can’t offer you a free international relocation but promises to give you a great deal wherever you may be moving to overseas.
Get great rates and advice from UPakWeShip. www.upakweship.com or call 1 866 868 6386 for great service and rates.
As I am feeling a little guilty with your treatment, if you are Belgium and are moving overseas, give me a call and mention you read this blog and receive 10% discount on your international move for this week only. (Sept 15th to 19th 2014)
Submit your review