In 1969 there was a movie by this title (“If it’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium“) starring Suzanne Pleshette. It was a comedy about Americans experiencing Europe for the first time. Not long ago I had a chance to live out the idea behind the movie – the company I worked for at the time traded me from Washington DC to their office in Brussels (presumably for a scientist to be named later). I lived in Brussels for three years.
During that time I traveled as much as I could squeeze in between a heavy work load and limited finances. While in retrospect I wish I had traveled even more, I treasure every second of the time spent hopping from one country to the next.
In future posts I’ll talk more about specific places I visited. And, of course, I’ll also be talking about some of the cool science experienced on these travels. My base of Brussels was well positioned as a starting point. Most of Europe is within two or three hours by plane and the train system in Europe is tremendous, so it’s very easy to get around. Over my three years I took train trips, driving trips, flying trips, and even an occasional boat (though no long boat trips).
Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, it’s the capital of the European Union. The former is reflected in its “old town” central square called Grand Place (pronounced with a French accent, n’est-ce pas?), while the latter is reflected in the tall steel and glass buildings more familiar to modern cities. The site of the 1958 World’s Fair, Brussels proudly shows off one of its most famous attractions – the Atomium, whose nine spheres form the shape of an iron crystal (see, I told you there would be science).
Bizarrely, Brussels’ other most famous attraction is the Mannekin Pis, which everyone rushes to see, then wonders what all the hubbub is about. I’ll talk about that later, as well as have much more on Brussels and my European adventures in future posts. Meanwhile, I’m planning my next European adventure (along with a few south of the equator). Back soon.
David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. He is currently writing a book on Thomas Edison.