|Belgium – Belgium|
|Road network length||152,256 km|
|Length of highway network||1,786 km|
|Motorway name||Motorway /Autoroute|
|License plate code||B|
Belgium (French: Belgique, German: Belgien) is a small country in Western Europe. The country has 11.2 million inhabitants and an area of 30,528 km². The capital is Brussels (French: Bruxelles).
According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Belgium is a small country on the North Sea, bordering the Netherlands to the north, Germany and Luxembourg to the east and France to the south. The country consists of three regions, Flanders, Wallonia and the capital Brussels. Flanders is flat to sloping and has quite a lot of forest in the east. Flanders also has an approximately 65 kilometer long coastline on the North Sea with sandy beaches. The coastal strip is largely built-up. The river Scheldt flows through the middle of Flanders, which is home to the largest city of Antwerp, which has a large seaport. Zeebrugge also has a seaport. The river Maas partly forms the border with the Netherlands. The Albert Canal connects Antwerp with Liège. Other rivers and waterways are relatively small.
Wallonia is located in the south and is hillier and dominated by the Ardennes (French: Ardennes) and the High Fens (French: Hautes Fagnes). The 694 meter high Signal de Botrange is the highest point in Belgium. The Meuse (French: Meuse) flows through Wallonia. The large cities of Namur (Namur) and Liège (Liège) are located here. The Sambre is an important tributary that flows through the Charleroi agglomeration. The Semois is a longer river in the south of Wallonia. Wallonia has a relatively large amount of forest, but also open areas with meadows.
Belgium is a federal country in which governance in many areas has been transferred to the regions. There are two parts of the country as a region, Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north and French-speaking Wallonia in the south. In addition, the Belgian capital Brussels also has the status of a region, the Brussels-Capital Region. Belgium is therefore divided into a Dutch-speaking and a French-speaking part, with Brussels being bilingual. There is also a German-speaking community in the east of Belgium, but it does not have its own region, but falls under Wallonia.
The regions are again divided into provinces. There are 10 provinces in Belgium, 5 in Flanders (Antwerp, Limburg, East Flanders, Flemish Brabant and West Flanders) and 5 in Wallonia (Brabant wallon, Hainaut, Liège, Luxembourg and Namur). The Brussels-Capital Region is not further divided into provinces. The provinces are a regional competence.
In addition, Belgium is divided into municipalities, which are under the supervision of the provincial government, but are the competence of the regions. Belgium has almost 600 municipalities. The municipality of Tournai (Tournai) is the largest municipality in terms of surface area, Antwerp is the largest municipality by population. The Brussels-Capital Region is divided into 19 municipalities.
|Provinces of Belgium|
|Brussels Capital RegionFlanders: Antwerp • Limburg • East Flanders • Flemish Brabant • West Flanders
Wallonia: Brabant wallon • Hainaut • Liège • Luxembourg • Namur
Belgium is a prosperous country and a member of the European Union. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union and also of NATO. Belgium is highly industrialized, although the industries of Wallonia in particular have experienced prolonged periods of stagnation and contraction, also known as the European ‘Rust Belt’ due to the many steel industry and coal mines in the region. The port of Antwerp is one of the most important in Europe and is located further inland than the other major ports on the North Sea and therefore closer to the European hinterland. After the United Kingdom, Belgium was the first country to industrialise, especially in Liège and Charleroi in the 19th century. Wallonia has traditionally been economically dominant in Belgium, but with the decline of heavy industry, the importance of the service sector in Flanders and Brussels increased sharply. Despite the strong economy, Belgium has few large internationally operating companies. One of the best-known Belgian companies is arms manufacturer FN (Fabrique Nationale) in Herstal, a suburb of Liège. Antwerp is known as an important center in the diamond trade.
Belgium has more than 11 million inhabitants, which makes it a very densely populated country. In particular, Flanders and the north of Wallonia are densely populated. See Belgium population density. The south of Wallonia is significantly less populated. Although Belgium has more than 11 million inhabitants, there are only 9 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants; Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Brussels, Schaerbeek, Bruges, Anderlecht and Namur. In contrast, Belgian cities have a large suburban area. In particular, the so-called Flemish Diamond is densely populated and urbanised. The countryside in Flanders is also highly urbanized with a lot of ribbon development, which means that there is relatively little large-scale open space.
Belgium has three official national languages; Dutch, French and German. The language boundary is relatively strict, especially between Dutch and French, with relatively little exchange, except in the suburbs around Brussels. The Dutch spoken in Flanders, also called Flemish, differs somewhat in terms of vocabulary and accent from the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands. Many foreign languages are also spoken by immigrants in Brussels.