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The Rain in Belgium Stays Mainly … Everywhere

By - August 19, 2005 (Updated: November 30, 2014)


I’m not sure if I will ever get used to Belgian rain. I always thought that rain was… well, rain – water falling from the sky. Belgian rain has a totally different consistency than Canadian rain, or at least the Maritime rain that I am used to. In fact, Belgium has two different kinds of rain.

The first kind is Spontaneous Rain. As the name denotes, this rain can happen when you least expect it. You are outside, walking around, it’s nice and sunny, and all of a sudden… Wham! It clouds over and starts to rain. This is where you can easily discern the tourists from the locals. While the tourists are scrambling for shelter or pulling jackets up over their heads, the Belgians, without so much as an upward glance, raise their umbrellas and continue on their way. This rain can start and stop with the frequency of a traffic light changing. It often continues in this fashion all day, but sometimes it may just happen once and the sun will come out to stay.

The second kind of rain is what I like to refer to as Sudden Torrential Downpour. This is the rain I am experiencing today. The only other place I have experienced Sudden Torrential Downpour (I refuse to use the acronym on this one) is in Florida. Sudden Torrential Downpour starts out like any other day. It can be totally sunny, or somewhat cloudy. All of a sudden the sky will start to darken and the wind will begin to whip the trees. Before you know it the sky is totally black and the trees are bent sideways in the wind. Then the rain will start. There is no warm up to this; no drizzle, no light rain. It just suddenly comes down in driving buckets that look like a pressure washer against the window. The hammering on the skylights is almost deafening. Often, this type of rain is accompanied by thunder and lightning. But generally, in fewer than 30 minuets, the rain slackens as quickly as it started and then stops altogether. Like Spontaneous Rain, this rain may start and stop all day, but generally it is a one of.

Belgians don’t seem to notice either type of rain. In fact, if you comment on anything remotely rain related, they universally shrug and use the phrase they are all taught from birth to say to outsiders, ‘that’s Belgium.’

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Alison Cornford-Matheson
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison Cornford-Matheson
- 3 months ago
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