BELARUS — fun facts

As I meet new people here in the Netherlands I keep hearing questions about Belarus. Luckily, it’s happening less often that I have to explain that Belarus is not Russia and not White Russia, but an independent country which is actually quite big and strategically located in the geographical center of the European continent.

What really sparkles curiosity is who we are, what we do, what we eat (and drink) and how we live. I recently joined a new team at Tapfiliate and got more questions from my new colleagues (👋 if you’re reading this guys).

So I made this list of fun facts, just to give an idea of how we live in Belarus. Some of these facts aren’t that well known and may even surprise my fellow Belarusians, some may be slightly exaggerated for the sake of narration. Please don’t take it too seriously, though.

Potatoes

Easy to remember: it’s somewhat similar to a Pokemon’s name.

Bulbasaur pokemon

On a side note, the Ukrainians are known for their love of SALO — which is basically pork fat.

… and Russians are known for Vodka

Image credit: ru.depositphotos.com

So we’re lucky that our distinctive feature is just potatoes

Speaking of which…

And we eat more potatoes per capita than any other country in the world.

83% of Belarusian potatoes are grown on personal plots

Which leads us to the next fun fact:

Image credit: bn.ru

The only difference from the summer houses is that we actually use Dachas for growing food (vegetables, fruit and of course, potatoes!). People love their dachas and spend all their free time there, digging, seeding, planting, weeding, watering, fighting plant diseases and getting burned under the sun. It’s hard work that everyone complains about.

Image credit: https://www.mn.ru/society/sociology/81043

But you know what? Everyone is still doing it. So it can probably be considered to be our national sport.

Speaking about sports…

Photo: Reuters, site ay.by

Ever since, ice hockey has been considered our national sport (although we’ve never had such good results in international championships ever since).

Everyone loves hockey, kids play it, and we love going to see ice hockey games (and there are many!)

We do other sports too, but compared to the Netherlands we’re not very sporty. You would never see a person working out on a Friday night. We’d all be eating and drinking in restaurants and bars.

And on Satudray, we’d go to dacha.

Food

Our restaurants look perfect! They are spotless-clean, the food is delicious and the service is exceptional.

Photo: Grand Cafe Minsk, site tripadvisor.nl

The bars are spacious, noisy and feature live music in the evenings. It is an obligation that at least 30% of a bar menu should be national drinks made in Belarus. However we don’t drink them. But they have it, because they have to. On a good note though, any foreign tourist can taste national drinks in any bar.

The most widely known drink is КРАМБАМБУЛЯ ([krum-bum-boolia]) — a special sort of vodka made with honey.

Image: krambambula.by

Street art

On this photo: Belarusian artist Mitya Pislyak https://pisliak.com/

Science and culture

We’re also the land of software engineers. And as I’ve been working in the tech niche my entire life, these software (and hardware) people are probably 80% of my social bubble. So if you need to find someone for your new groundbreaking project, it’s probably worth asking about my network ;)

What we produce (besides potatoes)

Belaz

Image: tut.by

Tractor “Belarus”

Photo: tut.by

Besides, they are popular in the world. On the image below, there’s an old Belarus tractor featured on the national currency of Vietnam.

Image: onliner.by

Toys

MAZ trucks

Linen

Photo: openbusiness.ru

Languages

Belarusian is a beautiful, old language which was influenced by many languages and cultures. Contrary to what many people think, Belarusian language is more similar to Polish, Ukrainian and German. It was definitely influenced by the Old German language and even has resemblance to Dutch.

For example, the phrase Eet smakelijk (“Eat well” IPA: /ˌeːt ˈsmaː.kə.lək/) sounds very much like Есцi смачна in Belarusian, which has the same meaning.

And the last:

A Belarusian who found home away from home in the Netherlands. I’m fascinated by the diversity of people & cultures in this world, and proud of my own heritage.