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Etienne Lenoir's two-stroke engine

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Did you know that the gasoline engine was in fact invented by the Belgian Étienne Lenoir? Before the invention of the two-stroke gas engine, machines mainly operated with steam. These were large and only suitable for large factories. The Belgian Lenoir wanted to develop small appliances that could run on city or light gas that was available everywhere in the major cities. The principle was a steam engine in which a mixture of 6% city gas and 94% air was drawn in the first half of the first stroke. Halfway through the first stroke, the uncompressed mixture was set on fire with a spark plug (also an invention and Lenoir patent). The burning gas mixture expanded and pushed the piston with great pressure. During the incoming second stroke, the burnt gas mixture was expelled. The machine of Lenoir combines various technical knowledge from his time: both the steam engine and the recently invented ignition coil by the German inventor Heinrich Daniel Ruhmkorff, the ignition via the spark plug

Go for the Curryworst Speciaal!

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One of the most unique dishes in Belgium that you will certainly not find in any other country is a Curryworst Speciaal, (curry sausage special). This fast food dish consists of a fried frikandel, a meat composition with added spices in the shape of a sausage, which was previously cut open with a knife to fill it with finely shredded onion, mayonnaise, tomatoes ketchup, or curry ketchup after frying. You can only find them in the unique fries shops along the Belgian roads or in the fries houses. The delicacy is one of the most sold snacks with Belgian fries. So, next time you're on the road and you get hungry, forget about the big chains like MacDonald's or KFC and go for a unique local dish, The Curryworst Speciaal!

The biggest cigar in the world

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The Pipe and Tobacco Museum in the city of Sint-Niklaas, Belgium has the largest cigar in the world. With a length of 6.43 meters, a diameter of 47 centimeters, and a weight of 400 kilograms, this is truly the most impressive cigar you can encounter. Pipe and Tobacco Museum Sint Niklaas This fine example of cigar craftsmanship was realized by the Onkerzeelse Butter Milk Guild, an organization near the town of Geraardsbergen, which set to work together with 93 families and former cigar makers. The result is simply gigantic. It took between 340 and 350 hours to produce the cigar. The cigar is 100 percent tobacco. But there was no way to keep the cigar in their town for a long time. So in 1996, the cigar was brought into the Pipe and Tobacco Museum by 12 strong men, where it is still on public display today. In the museum, you will also find a nice additional collection of tobacco jars, water pipes, and smoking curios. The pipe and tobacco museum can be found at Regentiestraat 29 in S

The cable car that does not need snow

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This famous cable car is a unique tourist attraction in the West Flemish Province of Belgium. It was built in 1957 by real Austrian Alpine specialists, even though there is no ski slope nearby. The cable car connects two hills, the "Vidaigneberg" and the "Baneberg". And so it offers a unique view of the beautiful "Heuvelland" region with its characteristic landscape. Picture courtesy of cordoba Away from the hustle and bustle, you float above the vineyards of Entre-Deux-Monts. With good weather you can see the Flemish coastline or the Yser Tower, a monument in honor of the victims of the First World War. At some point you can also look over the northern French border. The cable car is open every afternoon during the summer holidays. From May to October only open on Saturdays and Sundays. Out of season only open on Sundays. The Cable Car has its own Tearoom called "Córdoba". where you can enjoy local specialties. You can find it at this addres

Nadar's own crowd barrier

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In Belgium crowd barriers are sometimes called Nadar Gates, after the 19th century French photographer and balloonist Nadar. Nadar was the pseudonym of Felix Tournachon, best known for his photographs of celebrities from his time. In 1863 he writes a work about an aircraft that moves under its own power and that "is heavier than air", although he himself invented several balloons. He had a huge balloon built, Le Géant, 40 meters high and filled with 6,000 m³ of gas. On September 26, 1864 he took off with his colossal balloon Le Géant from the Botanical Garden in Brussels to fly all the way to Austria or Turkey. photographer unknown As it was very dangerous to get too close to the gas balloon and as the crowd was at times quite pushy, a certain perimeter around the balloon was cordoned off with easily movable barriers. The former mayor of Brussels, Jules Anspach had the streets blocked off with crush barriers specially made for the occasion, which were later given the name

Keith Haring's love for Belgium

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The American artist Keith Haring had a special bond with Belgium. Already in 1983 the Galerie 121 in Antwerp exhibited his work. Haring stayed in Belgium several times between 1987 and 1990 during exhibitions devoted to his work and in connection with commissions from, among others, the famous collector Roger Nellens. Keith Haring in 1982 People still tell anecdotes of their encounters with the young man who was full of energy and one of the most prolific artists of his time. Because Keith Haring never stopped drawing and painting ... on any surface he managed to get his hands on. Picture by Pixabay When Keith Haring first came to Knokke in the summer of 1987, it was love at first sight. The seaside town would become the only place where Haring said he 'really came home'. Everyone wanted a piece of 'Keith' that year, even if it was just a drawing, a signed piece of clothing, a container, a memory ... Not much has changed today: many of the people who surrounded him the

The inventor of the parking sensors is a Belgian

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How things can turn out badly for one and thankful for others is the topic of this next story. Its all about something everybody uses these days. Parking sensors! Picture by Pixabay In 1987, the Belgian Rudy Beckers invented the parking sensors that are now used in cars all over the world. He had done the invention so that his wife would no longer have to get out of the car to give directions while parking. His wife and the rest of the world are still grateful to him and his ingenious invention. He took a patent on it and was officially recognized as the inventor in 1988. From then on he had to pay 1,000 Belgian francs annually, which is now about 25 euros to keep the exclusive right and the posibility to sell his invention later... But at one point he forgot to pay, so others could use the patent free of charge. Rudy earned nothing from his invention, but he will remain know as the inventor of the parking sensors.