Belgium

Capitals: City of Brussels, Brussels
Currency: European euro
Population: 11.14 million (2012) World Bank
National Anthem: Dignes
Continent: Europe
Official languages: French, German Language, Dutch Language

Country Name

  • Conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
  • Conventional short form: Belgium
  • Local long form: Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie
  • Local short form: Belgique/Belgie

Etymology :

  • Belgium' derives its name from “Gallia Belgica”.
  • “Gallia Belgica” was a Roman province in that was inhabited by the “Belgae” people of the ancient Gaul.
  • Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries.
  • These constituted a large part of the Benelux group of states.
  • Belgium was a prosperous center from the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century.
  • Many battles were fought in the region between the 15th and 17th century.
  • As a result, Belgium was also known as "the battlefield of Europe” or "the cockpit of Europe”.

Belgium Flag

History :

  • Historically, Belgium formed part of the Roman province of Belgica.
  • The Belgae, people of ancient Gaul were the original inhabitants of the region.
  • The province was conquered by Julius Caesar in 57–50 B.C.
  • The Franks took over the area in the 5th century A.D.
  • Belgica was part of Charlemagne's empire in the 8th century.
  • It was absorbed into Lotharingia and the duchy of Lower Lorraine in the 9th century.
  • In the 12th century, Belgium was partitioned into two different duchies- Brabant and Luxembourg.
  • In the 15th century, the Low Countries were included in the duchy of Burgundy and inherited by Emperor Charles V.
  • Philippe II, king of Spain took over the kingdom in 1555 after the abdication of Emperor Charles V.
  • The northern region gained independence in the late 16th century.
  • The Southern region gained independence from the Spanish rule in 1713.
  • The country was subsequently transferred to Austria.
  • Belgium was occupied and annexed to France after the French Revolution.
  • In 1815, the Congress of Vienna reunited the Low Countries under the rule of the king of Holland.
  • Belgium opposed Dutch rule and declared independence in 1830.
  • Independence was granted by Europe at the London Conference of 1830–1831.
  • In 1914, Germany's invasion of Belgium led to World War I.
  • The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 granted Eupen, Malmédy, and Moresnet to Belgium.
  • In 1934, King Albert was succeeded by Leopold III.
  • Leopold III was held prisoner when Belgium was invaded by the Nazis during the World War II. His return to the throne in 1950 was followed by widespread riots.
  • He was succeeded by his son Baudouin after his abdication on July 16, 1951.
  • Belgium granted independence to the Congo in 1960 and to Ruanda-Urundi in 1962.
  • Brussels has established itself as the de facto capital of the European Union since 1958.
  • In 1994, a revised constitution turned Belgium into a federal state with significant autonomy for its three regions and linguistic communities.
  • An interim coalition government was formed in December 2007.

Demographics :

  • 92% of the population consists of Belgian citizens.
  • 6% of the population is made up of immigrants from Italy, France, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Netherlands.
  • 97% of the population is concentrated in urban areas.
  • The population density of Belgium is one of the highest in Europe.
  • Dutch is the most widely spoken language in Belgium.
  • Many Flemish people speak local dialects of Dutch.
  • Walloon, an old regional language is still understood by some elderly people but is no longer in common use.
  • Picard, another regional language is also not used publicly.
  • Dutch (Flemish), French and German are the country’s three official languages.

Government and Politics :

  • Belgium is run by a federal parliamentary democratic government under a constitutional monarchy.
  • Currently the government is divided into federal, regional, and linguistic community levels.
  • The administrative divisions consist of ten provinces and three regions.
  • The ten provinces are: Antwerp, East Flanders, Limburg, Flemish Brabant, West Flanders, Five provinces in the Wallonia region, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Leige, Luxembourg and Namur.
  • The three regions are Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.
  • The provincial government of Belgium declared independence from the Netherlands on 4 October, 1830.
  • King Leopold I ascended the throne on 21 July, 1831.
  • 21 July is observed as a national holiday.
  • The Constitution was founded on 7 February 1831 and subsequently amended many times.
  • The Constitution was revised on 14 July 1993 to create a federal state.
  • The legal system is based on civil law system influenced by English constitutional theory and involves judicial review of legislative acts.
  • Belgium accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations.
  • The monarch (King Albert II) is the chief of state.
  • The prime minister is the head of government.
  • The Cabinet consists of a Council of Ministers formally appointed by the monarch.
  • The monarch is hereditary and constitutional.
  • The leader of the majority party or coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and then approved by parliament following a legislative election.
  • The legislative branch is represented by a bicameral Parliament consisting of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies.
  • The judicial branch is represented by the Supreme Court of Justice.
  • Judges are appointed on a permanent basis by the government.

Airports in Belgium

Berchem Railway Stn Airport De Keyserlei Bus Stn Airport Guillemins Raiway Stn Airport Kortrijk Airport Ostend Bruges International Airport
Brussels Airport Deurne Antwerp Airport Kiewit Airport Liege Airport SNCB Rail Network Airport
Charleroi Brussels South Airport Ghent Airport Knokke Het Zoute Airport Mouscron Airport Zoersel Airport

Culture :

  • The three language communities in Belgium are socially and culturally isolated from each other.
  • The communities lack a common platform and representative body.
  • Roman Catholicism is the common element shared by all communities.
  • Roman Catholicism has an important role in the country’s politics.
  • Belgium has a secular society.
  • Protestant, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are followed by minorities.
  • Recently, major artistic movements in Belgium have had tremendous influence on European art and culture.
  • Belgian culture is rich in art forms such as Mosan art, Early Netherlandish, the Flemish Renaissance and Baroque painting.
  • Examples of historical architectural forms like Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture can also be found.
  • The nineteenth and twentieth centuries produced many notable romantic, expressionist and surrealist Belgian painters.
  • The vocal music of the Franco-Flemish School was an important contribution to Renaissance culture.
  • Belgium has also been home to several literary figures, poets and authors.
  • Many Flemish novels have also been made into movies.
  • Folklore is an important part of Belgian culture.
  • Festivals and celebrations usually involve processions, cavalcades, parades, 'ommegangs' and 'ducasses' and 'kermesse'.
  • The Carnival of Binche and the 'Processional Giants and Dragons' are recognized by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
  • Most events and festivals have a religious background.
  • Saint Nicholas Day is observed as an unofficial holiday.
  • Soccer and cycling are the most popular sports.
  • The Spa-Francorchamps motor-racing circuit hosts the Formula One World Championship Belgian Grand Prix.
  • Belgian cuisine is popular all over the world.
  • The food is a blend of Germanic and Latin styles.
  • “French Fries” first originated in Belgium.
  • Brands of Belgian chocolate and pralines like Côte d'Or,Callebaut, Leonidas,Neuhaus, Guylian and Godiva are famous all over the world.
  • Belgium has the largest beer brewery in the world and produces over 500 varieties of beer.

Economy :

  • Belgium has a modern, private –enterprise economy.
  • A favorable geographical location, a highly developed transport network and a strong industrial based have contributed to the nation’s economical development.
  • Most industrial based are located in the northern region.
  • Since most raw materials must be imported, Belgium’s economy is largely dependent on the state of world markets.
  • The larger part of trade is carried out with other European countries.
  • Income distribution is relatively uniform equal in Belgium.
  • Recently, economic growth has slowed down due to credit tightening, falling consumer and business confidence, and above average inflation.
  • The GDP (purchasing power parity) as calculated in 2007 was $376 billion.
  • 7.5% of the population is unemployed.
  • 15.2% of the population is below poverty line.
  • Agricultural products include sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco, beef, veal, pork and milk.
  • The main industries are engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass and petroleum.
  • Export commodities include machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metal products and foodstuffs.
  • Import commodities include machinery and equipment, diamonds, chemicals, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, transportation equipment and oil products.

Infrastructure :

  • The telecommunication system is highly developed, modernized and advanced.
  • Mobile cellular services are widespread and extensive.
  • There are 86 radio broadcast stations and 25 television broadcast stations.
  • Internet facilities are well established and readily available.
  • Belgium has 43 airports of which 27 have paved runways.
  • The railway network covers an area of 3,536 km.
  • Roadways span over 150,567 km.
  • Belgium’s merchant marine is equipped with 68 ships.
  • The main ports and terminals are located in Antwerp, Gent, Liege and Zeebrugge.

Education :

  • Education is compulsory upto the age of eighteen.
  • Many students enroll for higher education after secondary education.
  • 98% of the adult population is literate.
  • Education in Belgium is ranked 19th best in the world.
  • General education is usually secular in nature.
  • Catholic branch education is imparted by religious authorities under community supervision.

Neighbour Countries:

Belgium is surrounded by:

  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • North Sea

Geographical Settings :

  • Belgium is located in Western Europe.
  • Its geographical coordinates are 50 50 N, 4 00 E.
  • Belgium covers a total area of 30,528 sq km.
  • The coastline is 66.5 km long.
  • The climate is mostly temperate with mild winters and cool summers.

Belgium Related Topics:

» List of Shipping Companies in Belgium
» Belgium Amusement Parks

» Sports in Belgium
» Colleges and Universities in Belgium

» Belgium Airports
» Belgium Maps

» Belgium Travel Agencies

Belgium Tourist Attractions:

  • Manneken Pis
  • Beguinage
  • Musical Instrument Museum
  • Belfry of Bruges
  • Atomium
  • Brussels Town Hall
  • Mini Europe
  • Saint Bavo Cathedral
  • Markt
  • Basilica of the Hollywood