July 21 is: Belgian National Day.
It celebrates the inauguration of Léopold I, the first king of the Belgians, after its independence from the Netherlands on October 4, 1830.
In 1830, drawing inspiration from the recent July Revolution in France, the southern provinces of the United Netherlands rebelled against Dutch rule after a period of growing economic and religious disparity and political alienation.
The Dutch were forced out of much of the area and Belgium gained de facto independence. A National Congress was created to write a Constitution for the new state.
The Congress decided that the new country would be a constitutional monarchy (associated with political stability) rather than a republic, in order to reassure foreign governments and the Belgian middle class who associated republicanism with “mob rule” (the rule of government by a mass of people) in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789. The Congress called upon Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha, a German nobleman, to be the first King of the Belgians on June 4, 1831.
Accepting the invitation, Leopold travelled to Brussels from England and he was crowned King on July 21, 1831. In the ceremony, Leopold vowed to accept the Constitution drawn up by the National Congress, officially bringing it into force.
Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking. Additionally, there is a small group of German-speakers.