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___ Belgium

Blossoming season, Alken, Flemish Brabant
Blossoming season, Alken, Flemish Brabant - Image: Niele Geypens
 
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium
Destination Belgium, Belgium, the low-lying country in Western Europe bordering the North Sea between France and the Netherlands, it borders Luxembourg and Germany in east and it shares maritime borders with the United Kingdom. With an area of 30,528 km² it is about three-fourths the size of the Netherlands or about the size of the U.S. state of Maryland.

Belgium is a federal state divided into three regions: Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north, francophone Wallonia in the south and Brussels, the bilingual capital, where French and Dutch share official status. There is also a small German-speaking minority in the eastern part of the country.

Read on to get comprehensive information about many aspects of this Benelux country in its diversity: geography, economy, science, people, culture, environment, government and history.

Where in Europe is Belgium?

Belgium | Belgique | België | Belgien

Country Profile


 


Official Name:
Royaume de Belgique - Koninkrijk Belgie
local short form: Belgique - België
int'l long form: Kingdom of Belgium
int'l short form: Belgium


ISO Country Code: be
Time Zone: CET -- Central European Time
Actual Time: Sat-July-4  01:40
Local Time = UTC +1h
Daylight Saving Time (DST) March - October (UTC +2)

Country Calling Code: +32

Capital: Bruxelles (Brussels - pop. 954 460)

Other Cities:
Antwerp (pop. 445,570)
Brugge (pop. 116,559)
Charleroi (pop. 202,233)
Gent (pop. 224,685)
Liège (pop. 184,550)
Namur (pop. 105,248)
Verviers, Waterloo

Government:
Federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch
Independence: 1830 (from the Netherlands)

Geography:
Location: Western Europe
Area: 30,528 km² (11,786 sq. mi.)
Highest elevation: Signal de Botrange (694 m)

Climate: Temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy

People:
Nationality: noun: Belgian(s)
adjective: Belgian
Population: 11.1 million (2014)
GNI per capita PPP: $ 31 549 (year)
Religions: Predominantly Roman Catholic (although less than 20% practicing); Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Anglican, Greek and Russian Orthodox recognized.
Languages: Dutch, French, German
Linguistic regions: Dutch-speaking 58%; French-speaking 32%; legally bilingual (Brussels) 9.3%; German-speaking 0.7%
Literacy: 98%.

Natural resources: Coal, natural gas, construction materials, silica sand, carbonates.

Agriculture products: Sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk.

Industries: Engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum.

Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs

Exports partners: Germany 18%, France 16.1%, Netherlands 13%, UK 7.3%, USA 5.3%, Italy 4.4% (2012)

Imports - commodities: raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products

Imports partners: Netherlands 20.9%, Germany 14.2%, France 10.6%, USA 6.1%, UK 5.5%, Ireland 4.4% (2012)

Currency: Euro (EUR)

 

Background:
Belgium became independent from the Netherlands after a nationalist revolt in 1830. Occupied and devastated during both world wars, Belgium formed the Benelux Customs Union with the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1948 and became a founding member of the EEC.

Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.

Read more about Belgium's History.
 

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Official Sites of Belgium

royal The Belgian Monarchy
Official website of the Belgian King and the members of the Royal Family.

Prime Minister of Belgium
Belgian Prime Minister’s website.

Het federale Parlement van België - Le parlement fédéral de la Belgique
The Federal Parliament of Belgium. The bicameral federal parliament is composed of the Senate (or upper house) and the Chamber of Representatives.

Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Belgium.

Portal Belgium.be
Official portal of Belgium.

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations
The Belgian UN Mission.
Embassy of Belgium
Washington D.C.
Belgian Embassies Abroad
Addresses of Belgian Embassies Abroad.
Foreign Embassies in Belgium
Addresses of Foreign Embassies in Belgium.
Visa for Belgium
Visa information for Belgium.

Statistics
Statistics Belgium
Directorate-general Statistics and Economic information, the National Institute of Statistics.

Weather
Koninklijk Meteorologisch Instituut
The Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium.

Maps

 Map of Belgium
Political Map of Belgium.
Google Earth Google Earth Belgium (Belgie, Belgique)
Searchable map and satellite view of Belgium.
Google Earth Google Earth Brussels
Searchable map and satellite view of Belgium's capital.

Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe.

Grand Place Brussels
A floral carpet on the Grand Place in Brussels, the building on the left is Brussels Town Hall, the opposite building is known as the Breadhouse or Maison du Roi. - Image: Wouter Hagens  

News

News in Dutch language:
De Standaard
Daily news.
De Morgen
Daily news.
Gazet van Antwerpen
Daily newspaper.
Het Laatste Nieuws
Belgium daily.
Het Nieuwsblad
Belgium daily.

News in French:
La Libre Belgique
Belgium and international news.
Le Soir
National and international news.

Belgium News in German:
Grenzecho

 
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the Grand Place in Brussels
Grand' Place Brussels © BTO/US

Arts & Culture

Atomium
Official Atomium's website of Belgium's most famous landmark.

Cyberculture
great site Principia Cybernetica
Principia Cybernetica tries to tackle age-old philosophical questions with the help of the most recent cybernetic theories and technologies.

Galleries
Artsite Belgium
Gallery List.
Belgian Art Research Institute
We plan to publish definitive catalogues raisonnés for several major Belgian artists.

Famous Belgians
Hergé Foundation
Tintins Homepage.
Jacques Brel
Belgiums uber-most famous poet and singer. (site is not working)
Magritte
Magritte Museum displays works of the surrealist artist and great Belgian painter René Magritte.
Paul Delvaux
Foundation Paul Delvaux and museum dedicated to the Belgian painter, associated with Surrealism.
Rubenshuis Antwerpen
Peter Paul Rubens home.

Fashion
Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts Belgium - Fashion Department
Think of unconventional fashion and you think of Antwerp.

Opera
De Munt/La Monnaie
La Monnaie Opera House.

Museum
Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve
University museum open to the public in 1979, part of the Department of Archeology and the History of Art, Louvain-la-Neuve.
Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts- Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels.
Design Museum Gent
Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Ghent. The accent in the collections and exhibitions lies on 20th century and actual design.
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi
Fine Arts at Charleroi.
Royal Museums of Art and History
One of the biggest museum institutions in Belgium.
Royal Museum for Central Africa
Part of the Belgian history.
 
 

Business & Economy


Belgium's modern, open, and private-enterprise-based economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base.

Industry is concentrated mainly in the more heavily-populated region of Flanders in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium imports substantial quantities of raw materials and exports a large volume of manufactures, making its economy vulnerable to volatility in world markets.

Belgian banks were severely affected by the international financial crisis in 2008 with three major banks receiving capital injections from the government, and the nationalization of the Belgian retail arm of a Franco-Belgian bank.

Nationale Bank van België - Banque Nationale de Belgique
The Central Bank of Belgium.

Belgian Foreign Trade Agency
Belgian Trade Promotion Organization.

Brussels Stock Exchange (BSE)
Brussels Stock Exchange merged with Paris Bourse, Lisbon Stock Exchange and the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, to form Euronext

Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Belgium
The official site of the Belgian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

business.belgium.be
Information about investing in Belgium, part of Belgium's Information campaign about investing in Belgium.

Golden Pages online
Belgian's yellow pages.

__Belgian Products
The Atomium - Brusseles
Since its creation in 1958, the Atomium has become a symbol of the 20th Century.

Beer Paradise
Belgian Breweries.

Belgian Lace
Belgian Lace Manufactory.

Chocolate
Neuhaus
Chocolate since 1857.
COTE D'OR
Belgian Chocolate.
Godiva Chocolate
Godiva Chocolatier was founded in 1926 in Brussels.

Diamonds
Diamond High Council - HRD
More than half of the world's consumption of rough as well as polished and industrial diamonds is traded in Antwerp.


__Transportation

Airlines
Brussels Airlines
Belgian airline, covering 43 European & 13 African destinations, corporate profile, timetables, etc.
VLM Airlines
The former regional business airline is now CityJet, CityJet bought Belgian airline VLM in 2007.

Airport
Brussels (Zaventem) International Airport
Belgium's largest airport (IATA: BRU).
Brussels South Charleroi Airport
Second busiest airport Belgium's (IATA: CRL).

_Rail
Eurostar
High-speed passenger train linking London, Paris and Brussels.
NMBS/SNCB
The Belgian Railways.
 
 

Destination Belgium - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Belgium: Wallonia, Flanders, Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent, Namur, Waterloo
Accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, tours and much more.


Office de Promotion du Tourisme Wallonie
Belgian Tourist Office for Brussels and Wallonia.

Toerisme Vlaanderen
Belgian Tourist Office for Brussels and Flanders.

Belgian National Tourist Office
Official Site of the Belgian Tourist Office in The Americas.

World Heritage Sites in Belgium
Historic Centre of Brugge
Brugge (Bruges) is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders, the Historic Town of Brugge, a medieval historic city is a .

La Grand-Place, Brussels
The central square of Brussel since the Middle Ages, is surrounded by Gothic buildings, guildhalls, Brussels Town Hall, and the Breadhouse building which today houses the Museum of the City of Brussels official website

Lifts on the old Canal du Centre
The four hydraulic boat-lifts on the historic Canal du Centre, near the town of La Louvière, Wallonia, are industrial monuments built in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Tournai was built in the first half of the 12th century. The building combines the work of three design periods. It is especially distinguished by a Romanesque nave of extraordinary dimensions and a wealth of sculpture on its capitals.

Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a museum in Antwerp, it was originally a printing plant and publishing house dating from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The complex is is associated with the history of the invention and spread of printing.

More World Heritage Sites in Belgium official website

City Guides
Brussels

VisitBrussels
Welcome to the official website of the Tourism and convention bureau of Brussels.
Welcome to Brussels
A guide to Brussels.

Other Belgian Cities:
City of Antwerp
Digital Metropolis Antwerp.
Stad Brugge
The City of Bruges.
Ville de Charleroi
The City of Charleroi.
Gent
The City of Ghent.
Ville de Liège
The City of Liege.
Namur
The City of Namur, the capital of Wallonia.
Verviers
The Wallonian Capital of Water.
Commune de Waterloo
The City of Waterloo.

Hotels
BelgiumHospitality.com
Find and book hotels and venues in Brussels and others cities of Belgium.

Le Métropole
Brussels' legendary hotel.

More Hotels
Hotels in Belgium
Find Hotels in Belgium.
 

Atomium, Brussels
The Atomium, the unique iconic landmark in Brussels consists of nine interconnected spheres, it is a model of an elementar arrangement of atoms of an iron crystal, enlarged 165 billion times. - Image: © atomium.be - SABAM - DJ Sharko

Brugge with canal and belfry
Canal in Brugge, the famous 13th-century belfry in the background. - Image: Elke Wetzig


Canal
Canal du Centre, Wallonia. - Image: Davidh820
 
Travel and Tour Consumer Information

 

Education

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
One of the best European universities.
University of Ghent
UGent, is one of the major universities in the Dutch-speaking region, founded in 1817 as a Latin-speaking State University.
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Founded in 1834.
University of Liège
University of Liège was founded in 1817
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Flemish university with a specific ideological basis, namely Free Inquiry, founded in 1970.

Royal Library Belgium
Koninklijke Bibliotheek België; Bibliothèque royale Belgique (Dutch, French)

Science & Research
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Museum and research institution.
Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
Official Belgian waether website.
Royal Observatory of Belgium
Home of the Belgian astronomy.
Scientific and Technical Information Service (STIS)
Information brokerage and document delivery.
Research.be
Belgian Portal for Research and Innovation in the fields of Science and Technology.
 
 

Environment & Nature

Environmental organizations Belgium

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Belgium portal site to promote technical and scientific cooperation in the field of biodiversity.

Greenpeace Belgium
The Belgian Greenpeace organization (in French nad Dutch).
Les Amis de la Terre-Belgique
Friends of the Earth, Belgium.
VMM - Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij
The Flemish Environment Agency, a public Flemish institution.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - Belgium
The Belgian WWF site (in French nad Dutch).
 
 

History

Belgium History and politics
About the different periods of Belgium's history.

Belgium - Short History
Outline of Belgian history.

Genealogy
Genealogy: Belgium - The BELGIUM-ROOTS Project

 
 

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