Belgium is the rudest word in the Universe, yet by a strange coincidence, also the name of a country on Earth. In the Secondary Phase of the radio series, it is stated as "completely banned in all parts of the Galaxy, except in one part, where they don't know what it means, and in serious screenplays."
In the US version of the third novel, Life, the Universe and Everything, the word is used to replace the word "fuck" which was in the British publication, when referring to the Rory Award for "The Most Gratuitous Use of the Word 'Fuck/Belgium' in a Serious Screenplay." Arthur Dent nearly gets punched for asking the girl explaining the award, "have you ever been to Belgium in fact?"
It is also used as a measurement of quality of life, Baltimore being the greatest and Belgium being the literal representation of the 9 circles of hell. In an unreleased episode, a damned character goes over and says to a crowd; "man i may have been born into poverty, had all of my limbs crushed and amputated, confined to a wheelchair, gotten polio and not have the Healthcare system give me any sort of cure so i'm confined to an iron lung for 6 hours of the day and i am also suffering from 2 cancers, them being lung and rectal cancer, but thank whatever lord exists that i'm not a belgian". It is not clear what caused this to be written, but it was well deserved, fuck the God forsaken Belgians.
Notes and references
- From the sixth episode of the TV series.