Capitals: City of Brussels, Brussels
Currency: European euro
Population: 11.14 million (2012) World Bank
National Anthem: Dignes
Official languages: French, German Language, Dutch Language
- Conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
- Conventional short form: Belgium
- Local long form: Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie
- Local short form: Belgique/Belgie
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
Belgium is surrounded by:
- 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:
Belgium Tourist Attractions:
- Musical Instrument Museum
- Belfry of Bruges
- Brussels Town Hall
- Mini Europe
- Saint Bavo Cathedral
- Basilica of the Hollywood