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The Xenophobe's Guide to the Belgians (Xenophobe's Guides) by [Mason, Antony]
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The Xenophobe's Guide to the Belgians (Xenophobe's Guides) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Length: 92 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

About the Author

Antony Mason is the author of "The Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide to Brussels& Bruges, Antwerp& Ghent.""

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 519 KB
  • Print Length: 92 pages
  • Publisher: Xenophobe's Guides; New edition (24 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00796E6IK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #283,587 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As much as I disliked the Xenophobe's guide to France, which gave a very negative image of the country, I enjoyed this one about the Belgians. The description of the national character, the tensions between Flemings and Walloons, their joint passion for food and drinks, their shared common sense, practical mind and good nature are all accurate. However, the book is not perfect and there are a few factual mistakes that need to be corrected for future editions.

On p.37, it says that Belgians greet relatives and friends with a triple kiss. This is false. Belgians only kiss once, everywhere, unlike the French who kiss from one to four times depending on the region.

On p.61, the author claims that Belgians prefer foreign channels to their own. That may be true to some extent for French speakers preferring French channels, but the Flemings are quite proud of their channels and will rarely go for Dutch channels instead.

On p.69, the authors explains that Catholic schools are single-sex. This was true a few decades ago, but since the 1990's pretty much all schools in Belgium are unisex, even elitist schools.

On p.75, it says that following the 2010 political crisis Belgium was left "with no government at all" for over one year. This is a common misconception, but there was actually an current-affair government in function during the whole period, which is why almost everything went as usual.

P.84 is the worst in the book. Everything is wrong. The author says that, contrarily to the Dutch, the Flemish intentionally refuse to use French words. The fact is that Flemish is filled with French borrowings (e.g. 'communicatie' instead of the original Dutch word 'mededeling').
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’ve read many of these guides and the resulting reviews and I always smirk at the series reviews. Having been to Belgium a few times and written on the subject, I would say although there are inaccuracies in the book from how I would see the country and the people, it has been written from the authors perspective. Someone from Newcastle would view England different from someone in Newquay. Belgium is a rich country and I feel the author does get this over, although I am not sure everyone would agree with me. In short, it is a funny and entertaining read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not sure why is called Xenphones's guide ,as the Belgians come out of it very well: as they should. A great unregonised bastion of civliisation. Yes they are a little OCD about cleaning... But if that's the worst. ! I'm going back first time in over 30 years when I was being naughty in Antwerpen . Great city. Go.
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Witty and observant look at what makes Belgium tick. Easy to recognise the Author's many incisive observations and comments about Belgium and its divided linguistic culture from having visited this fascinating country on many occasions. Equally fascinating is the perceptions of those outside Belgium as to how the Belgians are revered and mocked, particularly the attitudes of the French and Dutch neighbours to the Flemish and Francophone cultures within Belgium.
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I was surprised how right many statements are! There is only the mistake that some statements only apply to Brussels, but I can forgive that, many people think that Belgium is the capital of Brussels. And no foreigner seems to understand how the three communities in Belgium associate to each other.
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