Card games in Belgium

French suited cards of similar types to those used in France are in general use. The indices on the aces and court cards are 1, R, D, V, the last three standing for the French words Roi (king), Dame (queen) and Valet (jack). These cards are used even in Flanders, where the picture cards are actually known as Heer (king), Dame (queen) and Boer or Zot (jack). The names of the suits in Flemish are Harten (hearts), Ruiten or Koeken (diamonds), Klaveren (clubs) and Schuppen or Peiken (spades). In French they are Coeur (hearts), Carreau (diamonds), Trèfle or Make (clubs) and Pique or Pâle (spades).

  • One of the most popular games is Kleurenwiezen or Whist à la Couleur (Suit Whist) - a version of Whist with bidding; the simpler game Wiezen or Whist is less widespread. In the north a version of the Dutch game Rikken is also played.
  • Couillon is a simple point-trick game, usually played with a 24-card pack; in Flemish areas it is known as Kwajongen.
  • Brûte is a more complex relative of Couillon, played in Malmedy.
  • Belgium is one of the countries where the compendium game King is popular.
  • The French game Belote is also played in parts of Belgium.
  • The French game Manille is played in the French part of Belgium, and as Manillen in the Flemish part, around Ypres.
  • Schuppen Dam Jagen (hunt the queen of spades) is played in Limburg: the aim is to avoid taking the queen of spades and to avoid winning the last trick.
This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2000, 2005, 2012. Last updated: 23rd March 2012