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Belgian Is The World's Least 'Cool' Nationality, According To Study

Jeanclaudevandamme

First Posted: 09/07/11 01:53 PM ET Updated: 11/08/11 05:12 AM ET

The biggest question in Brussels today isn't whether Flanders should be independent or whether a waffle topped with chocolate is a faux pas. Instead, it's why the whole world thinks the country is so uncool.

Belgians helped found the European Union and invented French fries -- but that apparently isn't enough to keep them from seeming like squares.

A new study conducted by the social networking website Badoo.com determined that Belgian is considered to be the world's least "cool" nationality.

In a poll of 30,000 web visitors from 15 countries, Americans, Brazilians and Spaniards were considered the world's 'coolest' nationalities while Belgians, Poles, and Turks were deemed the least cool.

"I think Belgium ranked so low because there are not a lot of film, fashion, music and style icons in Belgium, no popular or mainstream 'Icons of Cool,'" Lloyd Price, Badoo's director of marketing, told The Huffington Post. "Aside from say Jean-Claude Van Damme or Hercule Poirot in the Agatha Christie novels, I think most people would struggle to name four or five cool Belgians."

Katie Papadopoulos, press and trade coordinator for the Belgium Tourism Office, told The Huffington Post that she wasn't surprised by the study's findings.

"A lot of people just don't know or are not familiar with Belgium, Belgian people or Belgian culture," Papadopoulos said. "Mostly, I think it's a lack of understanding or awareness."

Belgium actually is cool -- it's just undiscovered, according to Papadopoulos.

Obscurity has lead to cool cred for plenty of rock bands, but is hasn't worked that way for Belgium. Instead, the apparent lowliest of the Low Countries remains overshadowed by its larger, more mainstream neighbors.

"The country itself is about the size of Maryland and we are sandwiched between France and Germany," Papadopoulos said. "Everyone knows France and everyone has this desire to travel to France."

Papadopoulos and her team are doing their part to make the land of mussels and beer seem cool. They have taken to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and launched a "Young and Hip" section on the nation's tourist website.

Wisely, the Belgium Tourist Office appears to be attempting to win hearts and minds throughs stomaches. The group is hosting a number of foodie events touting Belgium's famous cuisine and has started using the catchphrase that could prove popular with the cool kids: "A food lover's dream. A beer lover's heaven."

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