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{{pp-protect|small=yes}}{{short description|Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe}}{{Use dmy dates|date=June 2019}}{{Coord|50|50|N|4|00|E|display=title}}

fr{{native nameKönigreich Belgien}}}}|common_name = Belgium|image_flag = Flag of Belgium.svg |image_coat = Great Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg|symbol_type = Coat of armsnlitalics=off}}{{native phrase"L'union fait la force"deitalics=off}}|englishmotto = "Unity makes Strength"La Brabançonne"()(File:The Brabanconne.ogg|center)|image_map = EU-Belgium.svg|image_map2 = Belgium - Location Map (2013) - BEL - UNOCHA.svgcountry={{noboldlocation_color=dark green region_color=dark grey subregion_color=green}}Dutch language>DutchFrench languageGerman language>German|demonym = Belgian#Demographics>Demographicsitem_style=white-space:nowrap; Christianity >32.0% Irreligion >5.2% Islam |2.1% Other religions}}|religion_year = 2015City of Brussels>Brussels50N21type:city}}|largest_city = capitalFederalism>Federal Parliamentary systemconstitutional monarchyGOVERNMENT TYPE: BELGIUMWORK=THE WORLD FACTBOOKACCESSDATE=19 DECEMBER 2011ARCHIVE-DATE=7 FEBRUARY 2012, live, Monarchy of Belgium>MonarchPhilippe of Belgium>PhilippePrime Minister of Belgium>Prime Minister|leader_name2 = Charles MichelBelgian Federal Parliament>Federal ParliamentSenate (Belgium)>SenateChamber of Representatives (Belgium)>Chamber of Representatives|area_km2 = 30,688|area_sq_mi = 11,787 |area_rank = 136th |percent_water = 6.4WEBSITE=WWW.IBZ.RRN.FGOV.BE STATISTICS BELGIUM, FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVICE ECONOMY >ACCESS-DATE=24 OCTOBER 2018 ARCHIVE-DATE=1 JULY 2015, live, |population_census_year = 1 August 2018|population_census_rank = 79th|population_density_km2 = 374.2|population_density_rank = 36th|population_density_sq_mi = 963.63 |GDP_PPP_year = 2018PUBLISHER=INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, 1 October 2018, |GDP_PPP_rank = 38th|GDP_PPP_per_capita = $48,224|GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 20th|GDP_nominal_year = 2018|GDP_nominal = $533 billion|GDP_nominal_rank = 23rd|GDP_nominal_per_capita = $46,724|GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 17th|Gini_year = 2017|Gini_change = decrease |Gini = 26.0 PUBLISHER=EUROSTAT ACCESS-DATE=7 MARCH 2019 ARCHIVE-DATE=20 MARCH 2019, live, |HDI_year = 2017|HDI_change = increase|HDI = 0.916 YEAR=2018 PUBLISHER=UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME ARCHIVE-DATE=14 SEPTEMBER 2018, live, |HDI_rank = 17thBelgian Revolution>IndependenceUnited Kingdom of the Netherlands>Netherlands)|established_event1 = Declared|established_date1 = 4 October 1830Treaty of London, 1839>Recognised|established_date2 = 19 April 1839Euro (Euro sign>€)|currency_code = EURCentral European Time>CET|utc_offset = +1Central European Summer Time>CEST|utc_offset_DST = +2|drives_on = rightTelephone numbers in Belgium>+32|cctld = .be|footnote_a = The flag's official proportions of 13:15 are rarely seen; proportions of 2:3 or similar are more common.Brussels region is the de facto capital, but the City of Brussels municipality is the de jure capital.THE BELGIAN CONSTITUTIONPUBLISHER=BELGIAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESPAGE=63ACCESSDATE=10 SEPTEMBER 2015ARCHIVE-DATE=10 AUGUST 2015, live, |footnote_c = The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.}}Belgium,{{efn-ua| {{IPA-nl|ˈbÉ›lÉ£ijÉ™||Nl-belgie.ogg}}; {{IPA-fr|bÉ›lÊ’ik||Fr-belgique.ogg}}; {{IPA-de|ˈbÉ›lÉ¡i̯ən||De-belgien.ogg}}}} officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of {{convert|30688|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}} and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions:Pateman, Robert and Elliott, Mark (2006). Belgium. Benchmark Books. p. 27. {{ISBN|978-0761420590}} Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita.Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or communities: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, and the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons. The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual (French and Dutch), although French is the dominant language.WEB,weblink Belgique • België • Belgien—Région de Bruxelles-Capitale • Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, Leclerc, Jacques, 18 January 2007, L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, Host: Trésor de la langue française au Québec (TLFQ), Université Laval, Quebec, French,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2007, dead, 18 June 2007, C'est une région officiellement bilingue formant au centre du pays une enclave dans la province du Brabant flamand (Vlaams Brabant), *WEB,weblink About Belgium, Belgian Federal Public Service (ministry) / Embassy of Belgium in the Republic of Korea,weblink" title="">weblink 2 October 2008, dead, 21 June 2007, the Brussels-Capital Region is an enclave of 162 km2 within the Flemish region., *WEB,weblink Flanders (administrative region), 2007, Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, Microsoft,weblink 31 October 2009, dead, 21 June 2007, The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is an enclave within Flanders.,
  • WEB,weblink The FIT Invasions of Mons, McMillan, Eric, October 1999, Capital translator, Newsletter of the NCATA, Vol. 21, No. 7, p. 1, National Capital Area Chapter of the American Translators Association (NCATA),weblink" title="">weblink 26 June 2007, dead, 21 June 2007, The country is divided into three autonomous regions: Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north, mostly French-speaking Brussels in the center as an enclave within Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia in the south, including the German-speaking Cantons de l'Est., WEB,weblink Language Facilities in the Brussels Periphery, Van de Walle, Steven, KULeuven—Leuvens Universitair Dienstencentrum voor Informatica en Telematica,weblink 31 October 2009, dead, 21 June 2007, Brussels is a kind of enclave within Flanders—it has no direct link with Wallonia., Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Historically, Belgium is part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that also included parts of northern France and western Germany. Its name is derived from the Latin word 'Belgium', used by Julius Caesar's Gallic War, which described the region in the period around 55BCE.C. Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico, book 8, chapter 46. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan center of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe",BOOK, Rezension zu (Review of) Cook, Bernard: Belgium. A History, 978-0-8204-5824-3, 17 February 2003, die Bezeichnung Belgiens als "the cockpit of Europe" (James Howell, 1640), die damals noch auf eine kriegerische Hahnenkampf-Arena hindeutete, German, Haß, Torsten, FH-Zeitung (journal of the Fachhochschule),weblink 24 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2007, dead, —The book reviewer, Haß, attributes the expression in English to James Howell in 1640. Howell's original phrase "the cockpit of Christendom" became modified afterwards, as shown by:*WEB, The Hydra No.1 New Series (November 1917)—Arras And Captain Satan, Carmont, John, War Poets Collection, Napier University's Business School,weblink 24 May 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 May 2008, —and as such coined for Belgium:*WEB, Nuttall Encyclopaedia of General Knowledge—Cockpit of Europe, Cockpit of Europe, Belgium, as the scene of so many battles between the Powers of Europe., Wood, James, 1907,weblink 24 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 9 August 2011, live, (See also The Nuttall Encyclopaedia) a reputation strengthened by both world wars. The country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution when it seceded from the Netherlands.Belgium participated in the Industrial RevolutionWEB, New Order? International models of peace and reconciliation—Diversity and civil society, Fitzmaurice, John, 1996, Democratic Dialogue Northern Ireland's first think tank, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK,weblink 12 August 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2011, live, WEB, Belgium country profile, 27 August 2006, EUbusiness, Richmond, UK,weblink 12 August 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 7 October 2009, live, and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.WEB, Chapter 27. The Age of Imperialism (Section 2. The Partition of Africa), World History II, Karl, Farah, Stoneking, James, 1999, Appomattox Regional Governor's School (History Department), Petersburg, Virginia, USA, 16 August 2007,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 25 September 2007, dead, The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased; there is significant separatism particularly among the Flemish; controversial language laws exist such as the municipalities with language facilities;WEB, Bilingual island in Flanders, UCL, Buoyant Brussels,weblink 5 June 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 24 May 2016, live, and the formation of a coalition government took 18 months following the June 2010 federal election, a world record.NEWS,weblink Belgian government sworn in, ending 18-month crisis, 6 December 2011, 8 December 2011, Expatica,weblink" title="">weblink 2 February 2014, live, Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders, which boomed after the war.WEB,weblink Subscribe to read, Financial Times, 19 July 2017,weblink 9 August 2017, live, Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and its capital, Brussels, hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Council, as well as one of two seats of the European Parliament (the other being Strasbourg). Belgium is also a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO, and a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.{{efn-ua|Belgium is a member of, or affiliated to, many international organizations, including ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-10, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MONUC (observers), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNECE, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WADB (non-regional), WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC.}}Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has very high standards of living, quality of life,WEB,weblink Quality of Life Index by Country 2017 Mid-Year,, 28 December 2017,weblink 23 January 2018, live, healthcare,WEB,weblink Health index, World Health Organization,weblink" title="">weblink 5 August 2011, live, education,WEB,weblink Education index {{!, Human Development Reports||access-date=28 December 2017|archive-url=|archive-date=4 January 2018|url-status=live}} and is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index.WEB,weblink Human Development Report 2016,,weblink" title="">weblink 27 March 2017, live, It also ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world.WEB,weblink Global Peace Index 2017,,weblink 28 December 2017, live,


Pre-independent Belgium

The Belgae were the inhabitants of the northernmost part of Gaul, which was significantly bigger than modern Belgium. Caesar used the word "Belgium" once, to refer to their region. Gallia Belgica, as it was more commonly called, became a Roman province as a result of his conquests. Areas closer to the Rhine frontier, including the eastern part of modern Belgium, eventually became part of the province of Germania Inferior, which interacted with Germanic tribes outside the empire. At the time when central government collapsed in the Western Roman Empire, the region of Belgium was inhabited by a mix of Frankish tribes and a more Romanized population. During the 5th century the area came under the rule of the Merovingian kings, who had already seized power in what is northern France. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire.File:Titian - Portrait of Charles V Seated (cropped) 2.jpg|thumb|right|180px|Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, was born in GhentGhentThe Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the Carolingian empire into three kingdoms, whose borders had a lasting impact on medieval political boundaries. Most of modern Belgium was in the Middle Kingdom, later known as Lotharingia. Only the coastal county of Flanders became part of West Francia, the predecessor of France. During the Middle Ages, Lotharingia came under the control of the Holy Roman Emperor, but the lordships along the "March" (frontier) between the two great kingdoms maintained important connections.Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries.WEB, Chapter I: The Burgundian Netherlands, History of Holland, Edmundson, George, The University Press, Cambridge. Republished: Authorama, 1922,weblink 15 December 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 28 April 2011, live, Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.WEB, Chapter II: Habsburg Rule in the Netherlands, History of Holland, Edmundson, George, The University Press, Cambridge. Republished: Authorama, 1922,weblink 9 June 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 26 September 2007, live, The Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces (Belgica Foederata in Latin, the "Federated Netherlands") and the Southern Netherlands (Belgica Regia, the "Royal Netherlands"). The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish (Spanish Netherlands) and the Austrian Habsburgs (Austrian Netherlands) and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries.Following the (French Revolutionary Wars: Campaigns of 1794|campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars), the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1814, after the abdication of Napoleon.

Independent Belgium

File:Wappers - Episodes from September Days 1830 on the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville in Brussels.JPG|left|thumb|Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830 (1834), by Gustaf WappersGustaf WappersIn 1830, the Belgian Revolution led to the separation of the Southern Provinces from the Netherlands and to the establishment of a Catholic and bourgeois, officially French-speaking and neutral, independent Belgium under a provisional government and a national congress.JOURNAL
, From Pillar to Postmodernity: The Changing Situation of Religion in Belgium
, Sociological Analysis
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, Belgium and the February Revolution
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Since the installation of Leopold I as king on {{nowrap|21 July}} 1831, now celebrated as Belgium's National Day, Belgium has been a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a laicist constitution based on the Napoleonic code.WEB,weblink National Day and feast days of Communities and Regions, Belgian Federal Government, 20 July 2011, 24 July 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 October 2010, Although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 (with plural voting until 1919) and for women in 1949.
The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party and the Liberal Party, with the Belgian Labour Party emerging towards the end of the 19th century. French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie. It progressively lost its overall importance as Dutch became recognized as well. This recognition became official in 1898 and in 1967 the parliament accepted a Dutch version of the Constitution.WEB
, Ethnic structure, inequality and governance of the public sector in Belgium
, Deschouwer
, Kris
, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
, January 2004
, 22 May 2007
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 14 June 2007
, The Berlin Conference of 1885 ceded control of the Congo Free State to King Leopold II as his private possession. From around 1900 there was growing international concern for the extreme and savage treatment of the Congolese population under Leopold II, for whom the Congo was primarily a source of revenue from ivory and rubber production.BOOK, The River Congo: The Discovery, Exploration and Exploitation of the World's Most Dramatic Rivers, Harper & Row, 1977, 978-0061224904, Forbath, Peter, 278,weblink's+Most+Dramatic+Rivers, subscription, Many Congolese were killed by Leopold's agents for failing to meet production quotas for ivory and rubber.NEWS,weblink, Belgium Confronts Its Heart of Darkness; Unsavory Colonial Behavior in the Congo Will Be Tackled by a New Study – The New York Times, 6 January 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 24 December 2016, live, It is estimated that nearly 10 million were killed during the Leopold period. In 1908, this outcry led the Belgian state to assume responsibility for the government of the colony, henceforth called the Belgian Congo.BOOK,weblink The State of Africa, Meredith, Martin, Jonathan Ball, 2005, 978-1868422203, 95–96(?), subscription, A Belgian commission in 1919 estimated that Congo's population was half what it was in 1879.File:Cheering crowds greet British troops entering Brussels, 4 September 1944. BU483.jpg|thumb|Cheering crowds greet British troops entering BrusselsBrusselsGermany invaded Belgium in August 1914 as part of the Schlieffen Plan to attack France, and much of the Western Front fighting of World War I occurred in western parts of the country. The opening months of the war were known as the Rape of Belgium due to German excesses. Belgium assumed control of the German colonies of Ruanda-Urundi (modern-day Rwanda and Burundi) during the war, and in 1924 the League of Nations mandated them to Belgium. In the aftermath of the First World War, Belgium annexed the Prussian districts of Eupen and Malmedy in 1925, thereby causing the presence of a German-speaking minority.German forces again invaded the country in May 1940, and 40,690 Belgians, over half of them Jews, were killed during the subsequent occupation and The Holocaust. From September 1944 to February 1945 the Allies liberated Belgium. After World War II, a general strike forced King Leopold III to abdicate in 1951, since many Belgians felt he had collaborated with Germany during the war.BOOK, Ramon, Arango, Leopold III and the Belgian Royal Question, The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1961, subscription, 108,weblink 9780801800405, The Belgian Congo gained independence in 1960 during the Congo Crisis;WEB,weblink The Congolese Civil War 1960–1964, BBC News, 29 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 24 May 2010, live,
Ruanda-Urundi followed with its independence two years later. Belgium joined NATO as a founding member and formed the Benelux group of nations with the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Belgium became one of the six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and of the European Atomic Energy Community and European Economic Community, established in 1957. The latter has now become the European Union, for which Belgium hosts major administrations and institutions, including the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the extraordinary and committee sessions of the European Parliament.


(File:Belgium relief location map.jpg|thumb|upright=1.45|A relief map of Belgium)Belgium shares borders with France ({{nowrap|620 km}}), Germany ({{nowrap|167 km}}), Luxembourg ({{nowrap|148 km}}) and the Netherlands ({{nowrap|450 km}}). Its total surface, including water area, is {{convert|30,688|km2|abbr=on}}. Before 2018, its total area was believed to be {{convert|30,528|km2|abbr=on}}. However, when the country's statistics were measured in 2018, a new calculation method was used. Unlike previous calculations, this one included the area from the coast to the low-water line, revealing the country to be {{convert|160|km2|abbr=on}} larger in surface area than previously thought.WEB, New data on land use,weblink Statbel, 17 February 2019,weblink 19 March 2019, live, NEWS, België is 160 km² groter dan gedacht,weblink 17 February 2019, Het Laatste Nieuws, 10 January 2019,weblink 17 February 2019, live, Its land area alone is 30,278 km2.WEB,weblink Belgium, The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, dead,weblink 10 July 2016, {{update inline|reason=The land area alone is likely greater now that the total surface has been discovered to be 168 kilometers greater|date=February 2019}} It lies between latitudes 49°30' and 51°30' N, and longitudes 2°33' and 6°24' E.{{nl icon}} Geografische beschrijving van België – Over Belgie – Portaal Belgische Overheid {{Webarchive|url= |date=19 August 2013 }}. Retrieved 12 August 2013.File:Teut104.jpg|thumb|CampineCampineBelgium has three main geographical regions; the coastal plain in the northwest and the central plateau both belong to the Anglo-Belgian Basin, and the Ardennes uplands in the southeast to the Hercynian orogenic belt. The Paris Basin reaches a small fourth area at Belgium's southernmost tip, Belgian Lorraine.WEB
, Belgium—The land—Relief
, Encyclopædia Britannica
, 2007
, Encyclopædia Britannica, Chicago, Illinois, US
, 3 July 2007
, dead
, 17 December 2013
, dmy-all
, The coastal plain consists mainly of sand dunes and polders. Further inland lies a smooth, slowly rising landscape irrigated by numerous waterways, with fertile valleys and the northeastern sandy plain of the Campine (Kempen). The thickly forested hills and plateaus of the Ardennes are more rugged and rocky with caves and small gorges. Extending westward into France, this area is eastwardly connected to the Eifel in Germany by the High Fens plateau, on which the Signal de Botrange forms the country's highest point at {{convert|694|m|ft|0|abbr=on}}.WEB, Geography of Belgiumurl= archiveurl= url-status=live, LIFE—NATURE >YEAR=2005 URL=HTTP://KP.ORG.PL/N2K/PDF/15.PDF ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20070925221250/HTTP://KP.ORG.PL/N2K/PDF/15.PDF URL-STATUS=LIVE, File:Anseremme - Freÿr 051011 (1).jpg|thumb|left|The Meuse river between DinantDinantFile:Hautes-Fagnes.jpg|thumb|left|High FensHigh FensThe climate is maritime temperate with significant precipitation in all seasons (Köppen climate classification: Cfb), like most of northwest Europe.JOURNAL, Peel, Murray C., Finlayson, Bryan L., McMahon, T. A., yes, 2007, Updated world map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 11, 1633–1644,weblink 1027-5606, 10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007, 5, 10 December 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 10 February 2017, live, (direct: Final Revised Paper {{Webarchive|url= |date=29 February 2012 }}) The average temperature is lowest in January at {{convert|3|°C|°F|1}} and highest in July at {{convert|18|°C|°F|1}}. The average precipitation per month varies between {{convert|54|mm|in|1|abbr=on}} for February and April, to {{convert|78|mm|in|1|abbr=on}} for July.WEB, Climate averages—Brussels, EuroWEATHER/EuroMETEO, Nautica Editrice Srl, Rome, Italy,weblink 27 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 21 October 2007, live,
Averages for the years 2000 to 2006 show daily temperature minimums of {{convert|7|°C|°F|1}} and maximums of {{convert|14|°C|°F|1}} and monthly rainfall of {{convert|74|mm|in|1|abbr=on}}; these are about 1 Â°C and nearly 10 millimetres above last century's normal values, respectively.WEB
, Kerncijfers 2006 – Statistisch overzicht van België
, 9–10
, Dutch
, Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Economy—Directorate-general Statistics Belgium
, 8 May 2007
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 5 June 2007
Phytogeographically, Belgium is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom.Takhtajan, Armen, 1986. Floristic Regions of the World. (translated by T.J. Crovello and A. Cronquist). University of California Press, Berkeley. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of Belgium belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests.{{WWF ecoregion|id=pa0402|name=Atlantic mixed forests}} Because of its high population density, industrialization and its location in the center of Western Europe, Belgium still faces some environmental problems. However, due to consistent efforts by the various levels of government in Belgium, the state of the environment in Belgium is gradually improving. This led to Belgium being ranked as one of the top 10 countries (9 out of 132) in terms of environmental protection trends, and to Belgium being ranked in 2012 as the 24th country out of 132 for environmental protection. Belgium moreover has one of Europe's highest waste recycling rates. In particular, the Flemish region of Belgium has the highest waste diversion rate in Europe. Almost 75 percent of the residential waste produced there is reused, recycled, or composted.


{{Belgian provinces Labelled Map}}The territory of Belgium is divided into three Regions, two of which, the Flemish Region and Walloon Region, are in turn subdivided into provinces; the third Region, the Brussels Capital Region, is neither a province nor a part of a province.{| class="sortable wikitable" style="text-align:left"! style="width:110px;"| Province! style="width:110px;"| Dutch name! style="width:110px;"| French name! style="width:110px;"| German name! style="width:115px;"| Capital! style="width:115px;"| Largest city! style="width:50px;"| Area(km2)! style="width:70px;"| Population(1 January 2018)Antwerp (province)>Antwerp Antwerpen Anvers Antwerpen Antwerp (city)(Dutch: Antwerpen)(French: Anvers)>Antwerp (city)>Antwerp(Dutch: Antwerpen)(French: Anvers) style="text-align:right" 1,847,486East Flanders >Oost-Vlaanderen >Ghent(Dutch: Gent)(French: Gand) >Ghent(Dutch: Gent)(French: Gand) >2,982 style="text-align:right"| 1,505,053Flemish Brabant >Vlaams-Brabant >Leuven(French: Louvain)(German: Löwen) >Leuven(French: Louvain) >2,106 style="text-align:right" | 1,138,489Hainaut (province)>Hainaut Henegouwen Hainaut Hennegau Mons(Dutch: Bergen) Charleroi style="text-align:right" 1,341,645Liège (province)>Liège Luik Liège Lüttich Liège (city)(Dutch: Luik)(German: Lüttich) >Liège (city)>Liège(Dutch: Luik)(German: Lüttich) style="text-align:right" 1,105,326Limburg (Belgium)>Limburg Limburg Limbourg Limburg Hasselt Hasselt style="text-align:right" 870,880Luxembourg (Belgium)>Luxembourg Luxemburg Luxembourg Luxemburg Arlon(Dutch: Aarlen)(German: Arel) Arlon(Dutch: Aarlen)(German: Arel) style="text-align:right" 283,227Namur (province)>Namur Namen Namur Namur Namur (city)(Dutch: Namen) >Namur (city)>Namur(Dutch: Namen) style="text-align:right" 493,073Walloon Brabant >Brabant wallon >Wavre(Dutch: Waver) >Braine-l'Alleud(Dutch: Eigenbrakel) >1,093 style="text-align:right"| 401,106West Flanders >West-Vlaanderen >Bruges(Dutch: Brugge)(French: Bruges)(German: Brügge) >Bruges(Dutch: Brugge)(French: Bruges)(German: Brügge)>3,151 style="text-align:right"| 1,191,059


{{multiple image| width1 = 125| width2 = 170| align = | direction = | width = 200px200pxPhilippe of Belgium>Philippe{{smallMonarchy of Belgium>King of the Belgians since 2013}}Charles Michel{{small>Prime Minister since 2014}}}}Belgium is a constitutional, popular monarchy and a federal parliamentary democracy. The bicameral federal parliament is composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Representatives. The former is made up of 50 senators appointed by the parliaments of the communities and regions and 10 co-opted senators. Prior to 2014, most of the Senate's members were directly elected. The Chamber's 150 representatives are elected under a proportional voting system from 11 electoral districts. Belgium has compulsory voting and thus maintains one of the highest rates of voter turnout in the world.WEB, Voter Turnout Rates from a Comparative Perspective, 2002, López Pintor, Rafael, Gratschew, Maria, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, IDEA,weblink 22 June 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 21 November 2011, live, The King (currently Philippe) is the head of state, though with limited prerogatives. He appoints ministers, including a Prime Minister, that have the confidence of the Chamber of Representatives to form the federal government. The Council of Ministers is composed of no more than fifteen members. With the possible exception of the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers is composed of an equal number of Dutch-speaking members and French-speaking members.WEB, The Belgian Constitution – Article 99, Belgian House of Representatives, January 2009,weblink 26 June 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2011, dead, The judicial system is based on civil law and originates from the Napoleonic code. The Court of Cassation is the court of last resort, with the courts of appeal one level below.WEB, Belgium 1831 (rev. 2012),weblink Constitute, 30 March 2015,weblink 23 February 2015, live,

Political culture

Belgium's political institutions are complex; most political power is organized around the need to represent the main cultural communities.WEB, Belgium, a federal state,,weblink 26 November 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 12 November 2010, live, Since about 1970, the significant national Belgian political parties have split into distinct components that mainly represent the political and linguistic interests of these communities.WEB, Background Note: Belgium, U.S. Department of States, 29 April 2010,weblink 26 November 2010, The major parties in each community, though close to the political center, belong to three main groups: Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Social Democrats.WEB, Belgium – Political parties, European Election Database,weblink Norwegian Social Science Data Services, 2010, 10 December 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2011, live, Further notable parties came into being well after the middle of last century, mainly around linguistic, nationalist, or environmental themes and recently smaller ones of some specific liberal nature.File:Brussel Parlementsgebouw.jpg|thumb|right|The Belgian Federal Parliament in Brussels, one of six different governments of the country]]A string of Christian Democrat coalition governments from 1958 was broken in 1999 after the first dioxin crisis, a major food contamination scandal.WEB, Dioxin contamination scandal hits Belgium: Effects spread through European Union and beyond, World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), Tyler, Richard, 8 June 1999,weblink 16 July 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 1 August 2016, live, ElAmin, Ahmed (31 January 2006) Belgium, Netherlands meat sectors face dioxin crisis {{webarchive|url= |date=14 September 2007 }}. foodproductiondaily.comNEWS, Food Law News—EU : CONTAMINANTS—Commission Press Release (IP/99/399) Preliminary results of EU-inspection to Belgium, European Commission, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, UK, 16 June 1999,weblink 29 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 27 September 2006, live, A "rainbow coalition" emerged from six parties: the Flemish and the French-speaking Liberals, Social Democrats and Greens.NEWS, Belgium's "rainbow" coalition sworn in, BBC News, 12 July 1999,weblink 20 May 2007, Later, a "purple coalition" of Liberals and Social Democrats formed after the Greens lost most of their seats in the 2003 election.WEB, La Chambre des représentants—Composition, Composition of the Chamber of Representatives, 9 March 2006, The Chamber of Representatives of Belgium,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 7 November 2006, 25 May 2007, French, live, The government led by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt from 1999 to 2007 achieved a balanced budget, some tax reforms, a labor-market reform, scheduled nuclear phase-out and instigated legislation allowing more stringent war crime and more lenient soft drug usage prosecution. Restrictions on withholding euthanasia were reduced and same-sex marriage legalized. The government promoted active diplomacy in AfricaWEB,weblink 27 May 2007, Rwanda, tiscali.reference, Tiscali UK,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2009, dead, The article shows an example of Belgium's recent African policies. and opposed the invasion of Iraq.NEWS, Belgian demand halts NATO progress, CNN, 16 February 2003,weblink 16 June 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2005, dead, It is the only country that does not have age restrictions on euthanasia.NEWS,weblink, Belgium minor first to be granted euthanasia – BBC News, 6 January 2017, BBC News, 17 September 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 6 January 2017, live, Verhofstadt's coalition fared badly in the June 2007 elections. For more than a year, the country experienced a political crisis.NEWS,weblink Time-line Belgium, BBC News, 5 January 2009, 16 July 2009, 2007 September – Belgium without a government for 100 days.,weblink" title="">weblink 29 September 2009, live, This crisis was such that many observers speculated on a possible partition of Belgium.WEB,weblink Divisions could lead to a partition in Belgium, Bryant, Elizabeth, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 May 2008, 12 October 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, live, NEWS,weblink Analysis: Where now for Belgium?, Hughes, Dominic, BBC News, 15 July 2008, 16 July 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 19 July 2008, live, NEWS, Fears over 'break up' of Belgium,weblink Banks, Martin, The Daily Telegraph, London, 6 September 2010, 6 September 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 9 September 2010, live, From {{Nowrap|21 December}} 2007 until {{Nowrap|20 March}} 2008 the temporary Verhofstadt III Government was in office. This coalition of the Flemish and Francophone Christian Democrats, the Flemish and Francophone Liberals together with the Francophone Social Democrats was an interim government until {{Nowrap|20 March}} 2008.NEWS,weblink Belgian PM offers his resignation, BBC News, 15 July 2008, 29 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 20 April 2010, live, On that day a new government, led by Flemish Christian Democrat Yves Leterme, the actual winner of the federal elections of {{Nowrap|June 2007}}, was sworn in by the king. On {{Nowrap|15 July}} 2008 Leterme announced the resignation of the cabinet to the king, as no progress in constitutional reforms had been made.In December 2008 he once more offered his resignation to the king after a crisis surrounding the sale of Fortis to BNP {{Webarchive|url= |date=1 February 2009 }}, "Belgium Prime Minister offers resignation over banking deal" At this juncture, his resignation was accepted and Christian Democratic and Flemish Herman Van Rompuy was sworn in as Prime Minister on {{Nowrap|30 December}} 2008.Belgian king asks Van Rompuy to form government {{Webarchive|url= |date=4 February 2009 }} Reuters.After Herman Van Rompuy was designated the first permanent President of the European Council on {{Nowrap|19 November}} 2009, he offered the resignation of his government to King Albert II on {{Nowrap|25 November}} 2009. A few hours later, the new government under Prime Minister Yves Leterme was sworn in. On {{Nowrap|22 April}} 2010, Leterme again offered the resignation of his cabinet to the kingNEWS,weblink Prime Minister Leterme resigns after liberals quit government, 22 April 2010, France 24, 22 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 26 April 2010, live, after one of the coalition partners, the OpenVLD, withdrew from the government, and on {{Nowrap|26 April}} 2010 King Albert officially accepted the resignation.WEB,weblink King Albert II accepts resignation of Prime Minister Yves Leterme, France 24, 29 April 2010, 26 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2010, live, The Parliamentary elections in Belgium on {{Nowrap|13 June}} 2010 saw the Flemish nationalist N-VA become the largest party in Flanders, and the Socialist Party PS the largest party in Wallonia.WEB,weblink Federal Elections in Belgium – Chamber of Representatives Results, 14 June 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 22 September 2010, live, Until December 2011, Belgium was governed by Leterme's caretaker government awaiting the end of the deadlocked negotiations for formation of a new government. By 30 March 2011 this set a new world record for the elapsed time without an official government, previously held by war-torn Iraq.WEB, Reality Check: How long can nations go without governments?,weblink Kovacevic, Tamara, 6 May 2015, BBC News Online, 25 March 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 13 October 2015, live, Finally, in December 2011 the Di Rupo Government led by Walloon socialist Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo was sworn in.The 2014 federal election (coinciding with the regional elections) resulted in a further electoral gain for the Flemish nationalist N-VA, although the incumbent coalition (composed of Flemish and French-speaking Social Democrats, Liberals, and Christian Democrats) maintains a solid majority in Parliament and in all electoral constituencies. On 22 July 2014, King Philippe nominated Charles Michel (MR) and Kris Peeters (CD&V) to lead the formation of a new federal cabinet composed of the Flemish parties N-VA, CD&V, Open Vld and the French-speaking MR, which resulted in the Michel Government. It is the first time N-VA is part of the federal cabinet, while the French-speaking side is represented only by the MR, which achieved a minority of the public votes in Wallonia.

Communities and regions

File:Communities of Belgium.svg|thumb|Communities:{{legend|#fab274|Flemish Community / Dutch language area}}{{legend striped|#fab274|#f2536b|up=yes|Flemish & French Community / bilingual language area}}{{legend|#f2536b|French Community / French language area}}{{legend|#40bb6a|German-speaking Community / German language area}}]]File:Regions of Belgium.svg|thumb|Regions:{{legend|#fab274|Flemish Region / Dutch language area}}{{legend|#2385d2|Brussels-Capital Region / bilingual area}}{{legend|#f2536b|Walloon Region / French and German language areas}}]]Following a usage which can be traced back to the Burgundian and Habsburg courts,BOOK, Zweisprachigkeit in den Benelux-ländern, German, Kramer, Johannes, Zur prestige Sprache wurde in den Spanischen Niederlanden ganz eindeutig das Französische. Die Vertreter Spaniens beherrschten normalerweise das Französische, nicht aber das Niederländische; ein beachtlicher Teil der am Hofe tätigen Adligen stammte aus Wallonien, das sich ja eher auf die spanische Seite geschlagen hatte als Flandern und Brabant. In dieser Situation war es selbstverständlich, dass die flämischen Adligen, die im Laufe der Zeit immer mehr ebenfalls zu Hofbeamten wurden, sich des Französischen bedienen mussten, wenn sie als gleichwertig anerkannt werden wollten. [Transl.: The prestigious language in the Spanish Netherlands was clearly French. Spain's representatives usually mastered French but not Dutch; a notable part of the nobles at the court came from Wallonia, which had taken party for the Spanish side to a higher extent than Flanders and Brabant. It was therefore evident within this context that the Flemish nobility, of which a progressively larger number became servants of the court, had to use French, if it wanted to get acknowledged as well.], Buske Verlag, 1984, 69, 978-3-87118-597-7, in the 19th century it was necessary to speak French to belong to the governing upper class, and those who could only speak Dutch were effectively second-class citizens.BOOK, Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards, Witte, Els, Craeybeckx, Jan, Meynen, Alain, yes, Academic and Scientific Publishers, Brussels, 2009, 56, Late that century, and continuing into the 20th century, Flemish movements evolved to counter this situation.Fitzmaurice (1996), p. 31.While the people in Southern Belgium spoke French or dialects of French, and most Brusselers adopted French as their first language, the Flemings refused to do so and succeeded progressively in making Dutch an equal language in the education system. Following World War II, Belgian politics became increasingly dominated by the autonomy of its two main linguistic communities.WEB,weblink Belgium, European Election Database, Norwegian Social Science Data Services, 2010, 8 December 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, live, Intercommunal tensions rose and the constitution was amended to minimize the potential for conflict.Based on the four language areas defined in 1962–63 (the Dutch, bilingual, French and German language areas), consecutive revisions of the country's constitution in 1970, 1980, 1988 and 1993 established a unique form of a federal state with segregated political power into three levels:JOURNAL
, The Dutch-French Language Border in Belgium
, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
, 23
, 1&2
, 2002
, 36–49
, Willemyns, Roland
, 22 June 2007
, 10.1080/01434630208666453
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 26 June 2007
, WEB, The Belgian Constitution – Article 4, Belgian House of Representatives, January 2009, 26 June 2011,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2011, dead,
  1. The federal government, based in Brussels.
  2. The three language communities:
  3. The three regions:
The constitutional language areas determine the official languages in their municipalities, as well as the geographical limits of the empowered institutions for specific matters.Fitzmaurice (1996), p. 121 Although this would allow for seven parliaments and governments when the Communities and Regions were created in 1980, Flemish politicians decided to merge both.Fitzmaurice (1996), p. 122. Thus the Flemings just have one single institutional body of parliament and government is empowered for all except federal and specific municipal matters.{{efn-ua|The Constitution set out seven institutions each of which can have a parliament, government and administration. In fact, there are only six such bodies because the Flemish Region merged into the Flemish Community. This single Flemish body thus exercises powers about Community matters in the bilingual area of Brussels-Capital and in the Dutch language area, while about Regional matters only in Flanders.}}The overlapping boundaries of the Regions and Communities have created two notable peculiarities: the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region (which came into existence nearly a decade after the other regions) is included in both the Flemish and French Communities, and the territory of the German-speaking Community lies wholly within the Walloon Region. Conflicts about jurisdiction between the bodies are resolved by the Constitutional Court of Belgium. The structure is intended as a compromise to allow different cultures to live together peacefully.

Locus of policy jurisdiction

The Federal State's authority includes justice, defense, federal police, social security, nuclear energy, monetary policy and public debt, and other aspects of public finances. State-owned companies include the Belgian Post Group and Belgian Railways. The Federal Government is responsible for the obligations of Belgium and its federalized institutions towards the European Union and NATO. It controls substantial parts of public health, home affairs and foreign affairs.WEB, The Federal Government's Powers, .be Portal, Belgian Federal Government,weblink 4 February 2011, 3 October 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 16 December 2010, live, The budget—without the debt—controlled by the federal government amounts to about 50% of the national fiscal income. The federal government employs around 12% of the civil servants.BOOK, In 2002, 58.92% of the fiscal income was going to the budget of the federal government, but more than one-third was used to pay the interests of the public debt. Without including this post, the share of the federal government budget would be only 48.40% of the fiscal income. There are 87.8% of the civil servants who are working for the Regions or the Communities and 12.2% for the Federal State., Lagasse, Charles-Etienne, Les nouvelles institutions politiques de la Belgique et de l'Europe, Erasme, Namur, 2003, 978-2-87127-783-5, 289, Communities exercise their authority only within linguistically determined geographical boundaries, originally oriented towards the individuals of a Community's language: culture (including audiovisual media), education and the use of the relevant language. Extensions to personal matters less directly connected with language comprise health policy (curative and preventive medicine) and assistance to individuals (protection of youth, social welfare, aid to families, immigrant assistance services, and so on.).WEB, The Communities, .be Portal, Belgian Federal Government,weblink 26 June 2011, 3 October 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 15 June 2011, live, Regions have authority in fields that can be broadly associated with their territory. These include economy, employment, agriculture, water policy, housing, public works, energy, transport, the environment, town and country planning, nature conservation, credit and foreign trade. They supervise the provinces, municipalities and intercommunal utility companies.WEB, The Regions, .be Portal, Belgian Federal Government,weblink 26 June 2011, 3 October 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 15 June 2011, live, In several fields, the different levels each have their own say on specifics. With education, for instance, the autonomy of the Communities neither includes decisions about the compulsory aspect nor allows for setting minimum requirements for awarding qualifications, which remain federal matters. Each level of government can be involved in scientific research and international relations associated with its powers. The treaty-making power of the Regions' and Communities' Governments is the broadest of all the Federating units of all the Federations all over the world.WEB,weblink Federalism in Russia, Canada and Belgium: experience of comparative research, French, La Belgique constitue ainsi le seul exemple clair du transfert d'une partie de la compétence " affaires étrangères " à des entités fédérées. (Transl.: Belgium is thus the only clear example of a transfer of a part of the "Foreign Affairs" competences to federated units.), Lagasse, Charles-Etienne, 17–18 May 2004, Kazan Institute of Federalism, 5 October 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 20 June 2010, live, BOOK, Les nouvelles institutions de la Belgique et de l'Europe, French, [Le fédéralisme belge] repose sur une combinaison unique d'équipollence, d'exclusivité et de prolongement international des compétences. ([Belgian federalism] is based on a unique combination of equipollence, of exclusivity, and of international extension of competences.), Lagasse, Charles-Etienne, 603, WEB,weblink Une Première mondiale, Le Monde diplomatique, French, Dans l'organisation de ces autonomies, la Belgique a réalisé une " première " mondiale: afin d'éviter la remise en cause, par le biais de la dimension internationale, de compétences exclusives transférées aux entités fédérées, les communautés et régions se sont vu reconnaître une capacité et des pouvoirs internationaux. (In organizing its autonomies, Belgium realized a World's First: to avoid a relevant stalemate, international consequences caused transfers of exclusive competences to federal, community and regional entities that are recognized to have become internationally enabled and empowered.), Suinen, Philippe, October 2000, 5 October 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 17 November 2000, live,

Foreign relations

Because of its location at the crossroads of Western Europe, Belgium has historically been the route of invading armies from its larger neighbors. With virtually defenseless borders, Belgium has traditionally sought to avoid domination by the more powerful nations which surround it through a policy of mediation. The Belgians have been strong advocates of European integration. Both the European Union and NATO are headquartered in Belgium.

Armed forces

The Belgian Armed Forces have about 47,000 active troops. In 2010, Belgium's defense budget totaled €3.95 billion (representing 1.12% of its GDP).WEB,weblink Defence Data of Belgium in 2010, European Defence Agency, 9 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2012, live, They are organized into one unified structure which consists of four main components: Land Component, or the Army; Air Component, or the Air Force; Naval Component, or the Navy; Medical Component. The operational commands of the four components are subordinate to the Staff Department for Operations and Training of the Ministry of Defense, which is headed by the Assistant Chief of Staff Operations and Training, and to the Chief of Defense.WEB,weblink Defensie La Défense, 15 June 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 14 June 2011, live, The effects of the Second World War made collective security a priority for Belgian foreign policy. In March 1948 Belgium signed the Treaty of Brussels and then joined NATO in 1948. However, the integration of the armed forces into NATO did not begin until after the Korean War.David Isby and Charles Kamps Jr, 'Armies of NATO's Central Front,' Jane's Publishing Company, 1985, p.59 The Belgians, along with the Luxembourg government, sent a detachment of battalion strength to fight in Korea known as the Belgian United Nations Command. This mission was the first in a long line of UN missions which the Belgians supported. Currently, the Belgian Naval Component is working closely together with the Dutch Navy under the command of the Admiral Benelux.


File:BlueEurozone 2019.svg|thumb|Belgium is part of a monetary union, the eurozone (dark blue), and of the EU single market ]]Belgium's strongly globalized economyBelgium ranked first in the KOF Globalization Index 2009WEB,weblink KOF Index of Globalization, ETH Zürich, ETH Zürich, 2 February 2009,weblink" title="">weblink 31 May 2012, live,
and its transport infrastructure are integrated with the rest of Europe. Its location at the heart of a highly industrialized region helped make it the world's 15th largest trading nation in 2007.WEB,weblink Rank Order – Exports, CIA – The 2008 world factbook, 15[th]: Belgium $322,200,000,000 (2007 est.)
archiveurl=weblink url-status=live, WEB,weblink Rank Order – Imports, CIA – The 2008 world factbook, 15[th]: Belgium $323,200,000,000 (2007 est.) archiveurl=weblink url-status=live, The economy is characterized by a highly productive work force, high GNP and high exports per capita.WEB, Belgian economy, Belgium, Belgian Federal Public Service (ministry) of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation,weblink 12 June 2009, Belgium is the world leader in terms of export per capita and can justifiably call itself the 'world's largest exporter'.weblink" title="">weblink> archivedate= 15 June 2009, live, Belgium's main imports are raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, and oil products. Its main exports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, and foodstuffs.The Belgian economy is heavily service-oriented and shows a dual nature: a dynamic Flemish economy and a Walloon economy that lags behind.WEB, Wallonia in 'decline' thanks to politicians, Expatica Communications BV, 9 March 2005,weblink 16 June 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 29 September 2007, dead, {{efn-ua|The richest (per capita income) of Belgium's three regions is the Flemish Region, followed by the Walloon Region and lastly the Brussels-Capital Region. The ten municipalities with the highest reported income are: Laethem-Saint-Martin, Keerbergen, Lasne, Oud-Heverlee, Hove, De Pinte, Meise, Knokke-Heist, Bierbeek.WEB
, Où habitent les Belges les plus riches?
, 2010
, 15 July 2011
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 27 August 2011
, dmy-all
, }} One of the founding members of the European Union, Belgium strongly supports an open economy and the extension of the powers of EU institutions to integrate member economies. Since 1922, through the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, Belgium and Luxembourg have been a single trade market with customs and currency union.WEB,weblink L'Union économique belgo-luxembourgeoise, Luxembourgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 June 2011, French, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 30 September 2011, dmy-all, File:Ougree 16.jpg|thumb|Steelmaking along the Meuse River at Ougrée, near LiègeLiègeBelgium was the first continental European country to undergo the Industrial Revolution, in the early 19th century.WEB
, Industrial History Belgium
, European Route of Industrial Heritage
, 8 May 2007
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 31 July 2013
, Liège and Charleroi rapidly developed mining and steelmaking, which flourished until the mid-20th century in the Sambre and Meuse valley and made Belgium among one of the three most industrialized nations in the world from 1830 to 1910.BOOK, Rioux, Jean-Pierre, La révolution industrielle, French, Seuil, Paris, 1989, 105TITLE=INDUSTRIAL HISTORY, BELGIUMARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20100731104102/HTTP://WWW.ERIH.NET/INDUSTRIAL-HISTORY/BELGIUM.HTMLURL-STATUS=LIVE, However, by the 1840s the textile industry of Flanders was in severe crisis, and the region experienced famine from 1846 to 1850.CONFERENCE,weblink The European subsistence crisis of 1845–1850: a comparative perspective, Vanhaute, Eric, Paping, Richard, Ó Gráda, Cormac, yes, 2006, IEHC, Helsinki, 31 May 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2011, live, dmy-all, BOOK, Vanhaute, Eric, When the potato failed. Causes and effects of the 'last' European subsistance crisis, 1845–1850, PDF, 31 May 2011, 2007, Brepols, 978-2-503-51985-2, 123–148, 'So worthy an example to Ireland'. The subsistance and industrial crisis of 1845–1850 in Flanders,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 22 July 2011, After World War II, Ghent and Antwerp experienced a rapid expansion of the chemical and petroleum industries. The 1973 and 1979 oil crises sent the economy into a recession; it was particularly prolonged in Wallonia, where the steel industry had become less competitive and experienced a serious decline.WEB, Background Note: Belgium, US Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, April 2007,weblink 8 May 2007, In the 1980s and 1990s, the economic center of the country continued to shift northwards and is now concentrated in the populous Flemish Diamond area.WEB, Het belang van de Vlaamse Ruit vanuit economisch perspectief The importance of the Flemish Diamond from an economical perspective, Dutch, Vanhaverbeke, Wim,weblink Netherlands Institute of Business Organization and Strategy Research, University of Maastricht archiveurl =weblink" title="">weblink 14 March 2007, By the end of the 1980s, Belgian macroeconomic policies had resulted in a cumulative government debt of about 120% of GDP. {{As of|2006}}, the budget was balanced and public debt was equal to 90.30% of GDP.WEB
, The World Factbook—(Rank Order—Public debt)
, 17 April 2007
, 8 May 2007
, 13 June 2007
, dead
, In 2005 and 2006, real GDP growth rates of 1.5% and 3.0%, respectively, were slightly above the average for the Euro area. Unemployment rates of 8.4% in 2005 and 8.2% in 2006 were close to the area average. By {{Nowrap|October 2010}}, this had grown to 8.5% compared to an average rate of 9.6% for the European Union as a whole (EU 27).WEB, Key figures, National Bank of Belgium,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 30 April 2007WORK=BELGIUM MAKES PLACE FOR URBAN ENTERPRISESACCESSDATE=19 MARCH 2011 ARCHIVEDATE= 30 APRIL 2011, live, From 1832 until 2002, Belgium's currency was the Belgian franc. Belgium switched to the euro in 2002, with the first sets of euro coins being minted in 1999. The standard Belgian euro coins designated for circulation show the portrait of the monarch (first King Albert II, since 2013 King Philippe).Despite an 18% decrease observed from 1970 to 1999, Belgium still had in 1999 the highest rail network density within the European Union with 113.8 km/1 000 km2. On the other hand, the same period, 1970–1999, has seen a huge growth (+56%) of the motorway network. In 1999, the density of km motorways per 1000 km2 and 1000 inhabitants amounted to 55.1 and 16.5 respectively and were significantly superior to the EU's means of 13.7 and 15.9.BOOK, Panorama of Transport, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2003, 978-92-894-4845-1,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 August 2011, dmy-all, File:Port cranes at Zeebrügge, Belgium 2.JPG|thumb|Port of ZeebruggePort of ZeebruggeBelgium experiences some of the most congested traffic in Europe. In 2010, commuters to the cities of Brussels and Antwerp spent respectively 65 and 64 hours a year in traffic jams.WEB, Wallstreet Journal, Fidler, Stephen, 3 November 2010, 21 June 2011,weblink Europe's Top Traffic Jam Capitals,weblink" title="">weblink 19 January 2012, live, Like in most small European countries, more than 80% of the airways traffic is handled by a single airport, the Brussels Airport. The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge (Bruges) share more than 80% of Belgian maritime traffic, Antwerp being the second European harbor with a gross weight of goods handled of 115 988 000 t in 2000 after a growth of 10.9% over the preceding five years.Another comparative study on transportation in Belgium: BOOK, OECD environmental performance reviews: Belgium, OECD, 2007, 978-92-64-03111-1, In 2016, the port of Antwerp handled 214 million tons after a year-on-year growth of 2.7%.WEB,weblink Double record for freight volume, port of Antwerp, 23 February 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 23 February 2017, live, There is a large economic gap between Flanders and Wallonia. Wallonia was historically wealthy compared to Flanders, mostly due to its heavy industries, but the decline of the steel industry post-World War II led to the region's rapid decline, whereas Flanders rose swiftly. Since then, Flanders has been prosperous, among the wealthiest regions in Europe, whereas Wallonia has been languishing. As of 2007, the unemployment rate of Wallonia is over double that of Flanders. The divide has played a key part in the tensions between the Flemish and Walloons in addition to the already-existing language divide. Pro-independence movements have gained high popularity in Flanders as a consequence. The separatist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party, for instance, is the largest party in Belgium.WEB, The Belgian Crisis,weblink 5 June 2016,weblink 11 September 2016, live, NEWS
, Belgium: A nation divided
, Independent
, John Lichfield
, 2007
, 5 June 2016
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 31 May 2016
, live

BOOK, Belgium: A History, Cook, B.A., 2002, Peter Lang, 9780820458243,weblink 139, 6 January 2017,weblink 18 November 2016, live,

Science and technology

{{further|Science and technology in Brussels|Science and technology in Flanders|Science and technology in Wallonia}}File:mercator.jpg|thumb|upright|Gerardus MercatorGerardus MercatorContributions to the development of science and technology have appeared throughout the country's history. The 16th century Early Modern flourishing of Western Europe included cartographer Gerardus Mercator, anatomist Andreas Vesalius, herbalist Rembert DodoensWEB, Rembert Dodoens: iets over zijn leven en werk—Dodoens' werken, 20 December 2005, Plantaardigheden—Project Rembert Dodoens (Rembertus Dodonaeus), Dutch,  het Cruijdeboeck, dat in 1554 verscheen. Dit meesterwerk was na de bijbel in die tijd het meest vertaalde boek. Het werd gedurende meer dan een eeuw steeds weer heruitgegeven en gedurende meer dan twee eeuwen was het het meest gebruikte handboek over kruiden in West-Europa. Het is een werk van wereldfaam en grote wetenschappelijke waarde. De nieuwe gedachten die Dodoens erin neerlegde, werden de bouwstenen voor de botanici en medici van latere generaties. (... the Cruijdeboeck, published in 1554. This masterpiece was, after the Bible, the most translated book in that time. It continued to be republished for more than a century and for more than two centuries it was the mostly used referential about herbs. It is a work with world fame and great scientific value. The new thoughts written down by Dodoens, became the building bricks for botanists and physicians of later generations.)location=Balkbrugaccessdate=17 May 2007weblink" title="">weblink> archivedate= 10 June 2007 FIRST1=J. J.PUBLISHER=SCHOOL OF MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS, UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS, SCOTLANDURL=HTTP://WWW-GROUPS.DCS.ST-ANDREWS.AC.UK/~HISTORY/BIOGRAPHIES/STEVIN.HTMLACCESSDATE=11 MAY 2007ARCHIVEDATE=9 JUNE 2007VOLUME=19PAGES=282–289 'DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA LIBRI SEPTEM' CANNOT BE OVERESTIMATED.>URL=HTTP://CONTENT.KARGER.COM/PRODUKTEDB/PRODUKTE.ASP?AKTION=SHOWPDF&PRODUKTNR=223979&AUSGABE=225203&ARTIKELNR=13462DOI=10.1159/000013462YEAR=1999FIRST1=MARC E.FIRST2=DIRK L.FIRST3=DIRK K.FIRST4=SVEN R.FIRST5=KATHLEEN E.FIRST6=LUC C.ARCHIVE-DATE=30 APRIL 2011FIRST1=MARC E.FIRST2=DIRK L.FIRST3=DIRK K.FIRST4=SVEN R.FIRST5=KATHLEEN E.FIRST6=LUC C.YEAR=1999ISSUE=2PMID=10213829URL=HTTP://CONTENT.KARGER.COM/PRODUKTEDB/PRODUKTE.ASP?AKTION=SHOWPDF&ARTIKELNR=13462&AUSGABE=225203&PRODUKTNR=223979&FILENAME=13462.PDFARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20090624135803/HTTP://CONTENT.KARGER.COM/PRODUKTEDB/PRODUKTE.ASP?AKTION=SHOWPDF&ARTIKELNR=13462&AUSGABE=225203&PRODUKTNR=223979&FILENAME=13462.PDFURL-STATUS=LIVE, 'A DAY WITHOUT YESTERDAY': GEORGES LEMAITRE & THE BIG BANG>DATE=24 MARCH 2000AUTHOR=MIDBON, MARK COMMONWEAL (MAGAZINE)>COMMONWEAL, REPUBLISHED: CATHOLIC EDUCATION RESOURCE CENTER (CERC)ACCESSDATE=7 JUNE 2007 ARCHIVEDATE= 6 JULY 2007 mathematics>mathematician Simon Stevin among the most influential scientists.THE FAIR FACE OF FLANDERS>AUTHOR=CARSON, PATRICIA ISBN=978-90-209-4385-6YEAR=1969, Chemist Ernest SolvayBOOK, Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology, 1135, Day, Lance, Lance Day, Ian McNeil, Routledge, 2003, 978-0-203-02829-2, and engineer Zenobe Gramme (École industrielle de Liège)BOOK, Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology, 523, Woodward, Gordon, Lance Day, Ian McNeil, Routledge, 2003, 978-0-203-02829-2, gave their names to the Solvay process and the Gramme dynamo, respectively, in the 1860s. Bakelite was developed in 1907–1909 by Leo Baekeland. Ernest Solvay also acted as a major philanthropist and gave its name to the Solvay Institute of Sociology, the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management and the International Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry which are now part of the Université libre de Bruxelles. In 1911, he started a series of conferences, the Solvay Conferences on Physics and Chemistry, which have had a deep impact on the evolution of quantum physics and chemistry.BOOK, Cultures of Creativity: the Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize, Larsson, Ulf, 211, 978-0-88135-288-7, Science History Publications, 2001, A major contribution to fundamental science was also due to a Belgian, Monsignor Georges Lemaître (Catholic University of Louvain), who is credited with proposing the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe in 1927.WEB, Georges Lemaître, Father of the Big Bang,weblink American Museum of Natural History, 2000, 9 December 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 January 2013, Three Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine were awarded to Belgians: Jules Bordet (Université libre de Bruxelles) in 1919, Corneille Heymans (University of Ghent) in 1938 and Albert Claude (Université libre de Bruxelles) together with Christian de Duve (Université catholique de Louvain) in 1974. François Englert (Université libre de Bruxelles) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. Ilya Prigogine (Université libre de Bruxelles) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977.WEB, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1977,weblink, 9 December 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 3 December 2010, live, Two Belgian mathematicians have been awarded the Fields Medal: Pierre Deligne in 1978 and Jean Bourgain in 1994.{{MacTutor Biography|id=Deligne|title=Pierre Deligne}} (Retrieved 10 November 2011){{MacTutor Biography|id=Bourgain|title=Jean Bourgain}} (Retrieved 10 November 2011)


File:00 Bruxelles - Mont des Arts.jpg|thumb|BrusselsBrusselsFile:HM Queen Paola, Princess of Belgium.jpg|thumb|upright|Queen Paola, born and raised in Italy, is of Italian and Belgian ancestry.]]{{As of|2018|01|01}}, the total population of Belgium according to its population register was 11,376,070. Almost all of the population is urban, at 97% in 2004.WEB, Quelques résultats des précédents recensements—Indicateurs de logement (1991), Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Economy—Directorate-general Statistics Belgium, 2006, French,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 25 June 20072018lc=y}}. The most densely inhabited area is Flanders.HTTP://WWW.GVPEDIA.COM/UPLOADS/FILES/MARKET%20ESSENTIALS%20-%20BELGIUM.PDF>PUBLISHER=BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN BELGIUMACCESSDATE=7 JANUARY 2011ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20110429185157/HTTP://WWW.GVPEDIA.COM/UPLOADS/FILES/MARKET%20ESSENTIALS%20-%20BELGIUM.PDF201801}}, the Flemish Region had a population of 6,552,967, its most populous cities being Antwerp (523,248), Ghent (260,341) and Bruges (118,284). Wallonia had 3,624,377 with Charleroi (201,816), Liège (197,355) and Namur (city) (110,939), its most populous cities. Brussels has 1,198,726 inhabitants in the Capital Region's List of municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region>19 municipalities, three of which have over 100,000 residents.In 2017 the average total fertility rate (TFR) across Belgium was 1.64 children per woman, below the replacement rate of 2.1, it remains considerably below the high of 4.87 children born per woman in 1873.HTTPS://OURWORLDINDATA.ORG/GRAPHER/CHILDREN-BORN-PER-WOMAN?YEAR=1800&COUNTRY=BEL, Total Fertility Rate around the world over the last two centuries, Max Roser, 2014, Our World In Data, Gapminder Foundation, Belgium subsequently has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 41.5 years.HTTPS://WWW.CIA.GOV/LIBRARY/PUBLICATIONS/THE-WORLD-FACTBOOK/GEOS/BE.HTML, World Factbook EUROPE : BELGIUM, The World Factbook, 12 July 2018,


{{Update|section|date=June 2017}}{{As of|2007}}, nearly 92% of the population had Belgian citizenship,This number evolved to 89% in 2011. WEB, Population par sexe et nationalité pour la Belgique et les régions, 2001 et 2011, French,weblink Belgian Federal Government, 31 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 31 October 2012, dmy-all, and other European Union member citizens account for around 6%. The prevalent foreign nationals were Italian (171,918), French (125,061), Dutch (116,970), Moroccan (80,579), Portuguese (43,509), Spanish (42,765), Turkish (39,419) and German (37,621).WEB, European Migration Network—Annual Statistical Report on migration and asylum in Belgium (Reference year 2003)—section A. 1) b) Population by citizenship & c) Third country nationals, 1 January 2004, April 2006others=Study Group of Applied Demographics (Gédap), 5–9, Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Interior—Immigration Office,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 14 June 2007weblink" title="">De vreemde bevolking. In 2007, there were 1.38 million foreign-born residents in Belgium, corresponding to 12.9% of the total population. Of these, 685,000 (6.4%) were born outside the EU and 695,000 (6.5%) were born in another EU Member State.L'IMMIGRATION EN BELGIQUE. EFFECTIFS, MOUVEMENTS. ET MARCHE DU TRAVAIL {{Webarchive>url= URL=HTTP://STATBEL.FGOV.BE/FR/STATISTIQUES/CHIFFRES/POPULATION/STRUCTURE/PAYSNAISS/ ACCESSDATE=31 AUGUST 2012 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20120825030522/HTTP://STATBEL.FGOV.BE/FR/STATISTIQUES/CHIFFRES/POPULATION/STRUCTURE/PAYSNAISS/ DF=DMY-ALL, At the beginning of 2012, people of foreign background and their descendants were estimated to have formed around 25% of the total population i.e. 2.8 million new Belgians.BuG 155 – Bericht uit het Gewisse – 01 januari 2012 {{Webarchive|url= |date=8 September 2012 }}. (1 January 2012). Of these new Belgians, 1,200,000 are of European ancestry and 1,350,000BuG 159 – Bericht uit het Gewisse – 7 mei 2012 {{Webarchive|url= |date=26 January 2013 }}. (7 May 2012). are from non-Western countries (most of them from Morocco, Turkey, and the DR Congo). Since the modification of the Belgian nationality law in 1984 more than 1.3 million migrants have acquired Belgian citizenship. The largest group of immigrants and their descendants in Belgium are Moroccans. 89.2% of inhabitants of Turkish origin have been naturalized, as have 88.4% of people of Moroccan background, 75.4% of Italians, 56.2% of the French and 47.8% of Dutch people.{{Largest cities of Belgium}}{{Clear}}File:Bruegge huidenvettersplein.jpg|thumb|Bruges, historical city center, UNESCO World Heritage SiteWorld Heritage Siteweblink,, accessdate6 January 2017, archive-urweblink" title="">weblink archive-date3 September 2015, url-statuslive, {|class"wikitable sortable" style"text-align:left;"">

Functional urban areasWEB, urweblink,, accessdate6 January 2017, archive-urweblink" title="">weblink archive-date3 September 2015, url-statuslive, {|class"wikitable sortable" style"text-align:left;"

style="font-size:100%; text-align:center;"!align=center|Functional urban areas!align=center|Population2011| Brussels2,608,000| Antwerp1,091,000| Liège744,000| Ghent591,000| Charleroi488,000


{{bar box|float = right|title = Estimated distribution of primary languages in Belgium|bars ={{bar percent|Dutch|DarkSlateGray|59}}{{bar percent|French|DarkSlateGray|40}}{{bar percent|German|DarkSlateGray|1}}}}File:Brussels signs.jpg|thumb|BilingualBilingualBelgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German. A number of non-official minority languages are spoken as well.BOOK, Languages of Belgium, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, sixteenth, Lewis, M. Paul, SIL International, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., 2009, 1,248, 978-1-55671-216-6,weblink 27 February 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, live, As no census exists, there are no official statistical data regarding the distribution or usage of Belgium's three official languages or their dialects.NEWS, Surviving in Babel? Language rights and European integration, Canaanite in the Amarna tablets, 1, de Witte, Bruno, Rainey, Anson F., Brill, 1996, 90-04-10521-2, 122, However, various criteria, including the language(s) of parents, of education, or the second-language status of foreign born, may provide suggested figures. An estimated 60% of the Belgian population are native speakers of Dutch (often referred to as Flemish), and 40% of the population speaks French natively. French-speaking Belgians are often referred to as Walloons, although the French speakers in Brussels are not Walloons.{{efn-ua|Native speakers of Dutch living in Wallonia and of French in Flanders are relatively small minorities that furthermore largely balance one another, hence attributing all inhabitants of each unilingual area to the area's language can cause only insignificant inaccuracies (99% can speak the language). Dutch: Flanders' 6.079 million inhabitants and about 15% of Brussels' 1.019 million are 6.23 million or 59.3% of the 10.511 million inhabitants of Belgium (2006); German: 70,400 in the German-speaking Community (which has language facilities for its less than 5% French-speakers) and an estimated 20,000–25,000 speakers of German in the Walloon Region outside the geographical boundaries of their official Community, or 0.9%; French: in the latter area as well as mainly in the rest of Wallonia (3.321 million) and 85% of the Brussels inhabitants (0.866 million) thus 4.187 million or 39.8%; together indeed 100%.}}The total number of native Dutch speakers is estimated to be about 6.23 million, concentrated in the northern Flanders region, while native French speakers number 3.32 million in Wallonia and an estimated 870,000 (or 85%) in the officially bilingual Brussels-Capital Region.{{efn-ua|Flemish Academic Eric Corijn (initiator of Charta 91), at a colloquium regarding Brussels, on 2001-12-05, states that in Brussels 91% of the population speaks French at home, either alone or with another language, and about 20% speaks Dutch at home, either alone (9%) or with French (11%)—After ponderation, the repartition can be estimated at between 85 and 90% French-speaking, and the remaining are Dutch-speaking, corresponding to the estimations based on languages chosen in Brussels by citizens for their official documents (ID, driving licenses, weddings, birth, sex, and so on); all these statistics on language are also available at Belgian Department of Justice (for weddings, birth, sex), Department of Transport (for Driving licenses), Department of Interior (for IDs), because there are no means to know precisely the proportions since Belgium has abolished 'official' linguistic censuses, thus official documents on language choices can only be estimations. For a web source on this topic, see e.g. (#General online sources|General online sources: Janssens, Rudi)}}WEB, Belgium Market background, The capital Brussels, 80–85 percent French-speaking, ..., British Council,weblink 5 May 2007, 22 November 2007,weblink" title="">weblink dead, —Strictly, the capital is the municipality (City of) Brussels, though the Brussels-Capital Region might be intended because of its name and also its other municipalities housing institutions typical for a capital. The German-speaking Community is made up of 73,000 people in the east of the Walloon Region; around 10,000 German and 60,000 Belgian nationals are speakers of German. Roughly 23,000 more German speakers live in municipalities near the official Community.WEB, The German-speaking Community, The German-speaking Community,weblink 5 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 30 May 2007, dead, The (original) version in German language {{Webarchive|url= |date=29 May 2007 }} (already) mentions 73,000 instead of 71,500 inhabitants.WEB, Citizens from other countries in the German-speaking Community, The German-speaking Community,weblink 5 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2007, dead, WEB, German (Belgium)—Overview of the language, Mercator, Minority Language Media in the European Union, supported by the European Commission and the University of Wales,weblink 7 May 2007, 11 May 2011,weblink" title="">weblink dead, WEB, Belgique • België • Belgien—La Communauté germanophone de Belgique, L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, French, 19 April 2006, Leclerc, Jacques, Host: Trésor de la langue française au Québec (TLFQ), Université Laval, Quebec,weblink 7 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 3 May 2007, live, Both Belgian Dutch and Belgian French have minor differences in vocabulary and semantic nuances from the varieties spoken respectively in the Netherlands and France. Many Flemish people still speak dialects of Dutch in their local environment. Walloon, considered either as a dialect of French or a distinct Romance language,According to Le Petit Larousse, Walloon is a dialect of the langue d'oïl. According to the Meyers grosses TaschenlexikonBOOK, Jules, Feller, Notes de philologie wallonne, Vaillant Carmanne, Liège, 1912, is now only understood and spoken occasionally, mostly by elderly people. Walloon is divided into four dialects, which along with those of Picard,Among Belgium native German speakers many are familiar with the local dialect varieties of their region, that include dialects that spill over into neighboring Luxembourg and Germany.BOOK, Languages of Belgium, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth, Gordon, Raymond G. Jr., SIL International, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., 2005, (Online version: Sixteenth edition {{Webarchive|url= |date=3 December 2005 }}) are rarely used in public life and have largely been replaced by French.


File:Basilica of the Sacred Heart-2.jpg|thumb|left|upright= 1.1|National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in KoekelbergKoekelbergSince the country's independence, Roman Catholicism, counterbalanced by strong freethought movements, has had an important role in Belgium's politics.See for example s: entry of the Catholic Encyclopedia However Belgium is largely a secular country as the laicist constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respects this right in practice. During the reigns of Albert I and Baudouin, the Belgian royal family had a reputation of deeply rooted Catholicism.BOOK, Marshall Cavendish, 2009, Loopbuyck, P., Torfs, R., yes, 4, The world and its people – Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, 978-0-7614-7890-4, 499, Roman Catholicism has traditionally been Belgium's majority religion; being especially strong in Flanders. However, by 2009 Sunday church attendance was 5% for Belgium in total; 3% in Brussels,WEB,weblink Dutch, Churchgoers in Brussels threatened with extinction,, 30 November 2010, 4 September 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2012, live, and 5.4% in Flanders. Church attendance in 2009 in Belgium was roughly half of the Sunday church attendance in 1998 (11% for the total of Belgium in 1998).Kerken lopen zeer geleidelijk helemaal leeg – Dutch news article describing church attendance in Flanders {{Webarchive|url= |date=27 November 2010 }}. (25 November 2010). Retrieved 26 September 2011. Despite the drop in church attendance, Catholic identity nevertheless remains an important part of Belgium's culture.According to the Eurobarometer 2010,Eurobarometer Biotechnology report 2010 {{webarchive|url= |date=30 April 2011 }} p.381. 37% of Belgian citizens responded that they believe there is a God. 31% answered that they believe there is some sort of spirit or life-force. 27% answered that they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life-force. 5% did not respond. According to the Eurobarometer 2015, 60.7% of the total population of Belgium adhered to Christianity, with Roman Catholicism being the largest denomination with 52.9%. Protestants comprised 2.1% and Orthodox Christians were the 1.6% of the total. Non-religious people comprised the 32.0% of the population and were divided between atheists (14.9%) and agnostics (17.1%). A further 5.2% of the population was Muslim and 2.1% were believers in other religions.BOOK, Eurobarometer 437: Discrimination in the EU in 2015, European Commission,weblink 15 October 2017, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, GESIS,weblink" title="">weblink 15 October 2017, live, The same survey held in 2012 found that Christianity was the largest religion in Belgium accounting 65% of Belgians.{{citation|title=Discrimination in the EU in 2012 |work=Special Eurobarometer |year=2012 |series=383 |page=233 |url= |accessdate=14 August 2013 |publisher=European Commission |location=European Union |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=2 December 2012 }}Symbolically and materially, the Roman Catholic Church remains in a favorable position. Belgium officially recognizes three religions: Christianity (Catholic, Protestantism, Orthodox churches and Anglicanism), Islam and Judaism.WEB,weblink State and Church in BELGIUM,, 31 October 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 17 July 2010, dead, File:Syna_Bruxelles-2.JPG|thumb|upright=0.7|Interior of the Great Synagogue of BrusselsGreat Synagogue of BrusselsIn the early 2000s, there were approximately 42,000 Jews in Belgium. The Jewish Community of Antwerp (numbering some 18,000) is one of the largest in Europe, and one of the last places in the world where Yiddish is the primary language of a large Jewish community (mirroring certain Orthodox and Hasidic communities in New York, New Jersey, and Israel). In addition, most Jewish children in Antwerp receive a Jewish education.Ghiuzeli, Haim F. The Jewish Community of Antwerp, Belgium {{Webarchive|url= |date=29 October 2013 }}. Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People There are several Jewish newspapers and more than 45 active synagogues (30 of which are in Antwerp) in the country.A 2006 inquiry in Flanders, considered to be a more religious region than Wallonia, showed that 55% considered themselves religious and that 36% believed that God created the universe.Inquiry by 'Vepec', 'Vereniging voor Promotie en Communicatie' (Organization for Promotion and Communication), published in Knack magazine {{Nowrap|22 November}} 2006 p. 14 [The Dutch language term 'gelovig' is in the text translated as 'religious'. More precisely it is a very common word for believing in particular in any kind of God in a monotheistic sense or in some afterlife], or both. On the other hand, Wallonia has become one of Europe's most secular/least religious regions. Most of the French-speaking region's population does not consider religion an important part of their lives, and as much as 45% of the population identifies as irreligious. This is particularly the case in eastern Wallonia and areas along the French border.File:Brussel 052 Jubelpark.JPG|thumb|left|upright= 0.9|The Great Mosque of BrusselsGreat Mosque of BrusselsA 2008 estimate found that approximately 6% of the Belgian population (628,751 people) is Muslim.WEB,weblink In België wonen 650.000 muslims, Indy Media, 12 September 2008, 16 July 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 5 October 2016, live, Muslims constitute 23.6% of the population of Brussels, 4.9% of Wallonia and 5.1% of Flanders. The majority of Belgian Muslims live in the major cities, such as Antwerp, Brussels and Charleroi. The largest group of immigrants in Belgium are Moroccans, with 400,000 people. The Turks are the third largest group, and the second largest Muslim ethnic group, numbering 220,000.Voor het eerst meer Marokkaanse dan Italiaanse migranten {{Webarchive|url= |date=18 January 2014 }}. {{Nowrap|21 May}} 2007WEB,weblink, Moslims in België per gewest, provincie en gemeente, 18 September 2015, 9 March 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2016, live,


(File:UZA ziekenhuis.jpg|thumb|University Hospital of Antwerp)The Belgians enjoy good health. According to 2012 estimates, the average life expectancy is 79.65 years. Since 1960, life expectancy has, in line with the European average, grown by two months per year. Death in Belgium is mainly due to heart and vascular disorders, neoplasms, disorders of the respiratory system and unnatural causes of death (accidents, suicide). Non-natural causes of death and cancer are the most common causes of death for females up to age 24 and males up to age 44.JOURNAL, Health Systems in Transition, 9, 2007, Belgium, health system review, Corens, Dirk,weblink 2, 23 May 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 23 May 2011, live, Healthcare in Belgium is financed through both social security contributions and taxation. Health insurance is compulsory. Health care is delivered by a mixed public and private system of independent medical practitioners and public, university and semi-private hospitals. Health care service are payable by the patient and reimbursed later by health insurance institutions, but for ineligible categories (of patients and services) so-called 3rd party payment systems exist. The Belgian health care system is supervised and financed by the federal government, the Flemish and Walloon Regional governments; and the German Community also has (indirect) oversight and responsibilities.For the first time in Belgian history, the first child was euthanized following the 2 year mark of the removal of the euthanization age restrictions. The child had been euthanized due to an incurable disease that was inflicted upon the child. Although there may have been some support for the euthanization there is a possibility of controversy due to the issue revolving around the subject of assisted suicide.WEB,weblink, Belgium euthanasia: First child dies -, 6 January 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 10 February 2017, live, WEB,weblink Santa Clara University,, Assisted Suicide: A Right or a Wrong? – Resources – Bioethics – Focus Areas – Markkula Center for Applied Ethics – Santa Clara University, 6 January 2017,weblink 10 February 2017, live,


File:2011-09-24 17.42 Leuven, universiteitsbibliotheek ceg74154 foto4.jpg|thumb|The Central Library of the KU LeuvenKU LeuvenEducation is compulsory from 6 to 18 years of age for Belgians.BOOK, Institutional context of education systems in Europe: a cross-country comparison on quality and equity, Roelande H., Hofman, W. H. A., Hofman, J. M., Gray, P., Daly, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004, 978-1-4020-2744-4,weblink 97, 105, 11 October 2015,weblink 12 April 2016, live, Extracts:
p. 97 {{Webarchive|url= |date=12 April 2016 }},
p. 105 {{Webarchive|url= |date=12 April 2016 }}
Among OECD countries in 2002, Belgium had the third highest proportion of 18- to 21-year-olds enrolled in postsecondary education, at 42%.WEB, Table 388. Percentage of population enrolled in secondary and postsecondary institutions, by age group and country – Chapter 6. International Comparisons of Education, data: 2002, Digest of Education Statistics—Tables and Figures, 2005, National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences (IES), US Department of Education,weblink 6 June 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 5 June 2007, live, Though an estimated 99% of the adult population is literate, concern is rising over functional illiteracy.WEB, I. Monitoring Human Development: Enlarging peoples's choices ... —5. Human poverty in OECD, Eastern Europe and the CIS, Human Development Indicators, 172–173, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2000,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 14 June 2007, 6 June 2007, live, The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Belgium's education as the 19th best in the world, being significantly higher than the OECD average.WEB, Range of rank on the PISA 2006 science scale, OECD,weblink 27 February 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 29 December 2009, live, Education being organized separately by each, the Flemish Community scores noticeably above the French and German-speaking Communities.WEB, Learning for Tomorrow's Problems – First Results from PISA2003, 52, Ministry of the Flemish Community – Education Department; University of Ghent – Department of Education, Ghent, Belgium (Online by OECD), 27 February 2011, 2005,weblink De Meyer, Inge, Pauly, Jan, Van de Poele, Luc,weblink" title="">weblink 28 April 2011, live,
Mirroring the dual structure of the 19th-century Belgian political landscape, characterized by the Liberal and the Catholic parties, the educational system is segregated within a secular and a religious segment. The secular branch of schooling is controlled by the communities, the provinces, or the municipalities, while religious, mainly Catholic branch education, is organized by religious authorities, although subsidized and supervised by the communities.WEB, Humanists and Muslims in Belgian Secular Society (Draft version), De Ley, Herman, Centrum voor Islam in Europe (Center for Islam in Europe), Ghent University, 2000,weblink 7 June 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2007,


Despite its political and linguistic divisions, the region corresponding to today's Belgium has seen the flourishing of major artistic movements that have had tremendous influence on European art and culture. Nowadays, to a certain extent, cultural life is concentrated within each language Community, and a variety of barriers have made a shared cultural sphere less pronounced.WEB, Belgium—Arts and cultural education, Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 8th edition, Council of Europe / ERICarts, 2007,weblink 8 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 31 August 2007, live, WEB, Belgique, European Culture Portal, European Commission, 2007,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 24 December 2007, 10 May 2007, dead, Since the 1970s, there are no bilingual universities or colleges in the country except the Royal Military Academy and the Antwerp Maritime Academy, no common mediaWEB, Frontière linguistique, frontière politique, une presse en crise, French, Gonthier, Adrien, Le Monde diplomatique, 2003,weblink 17 June 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 27 March 2008, live,
and no single large cultural or scientific organization in which both main communities are represented.BOOK, Mumford, David, David Mumford, The World Today Series, The New York Times, Western Europe/2007, 2008, 978-1-887985-89-5,weblink

Fine arts

{{See also|List of Belgian painters|Architecture of Belgium|Music of Belgium}}File:eyck.hubert.lamb.750pix.jpg|thumb|The Ghent Altarpiece: The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (interior view), painted 1432 by van Eyckvan EyckContributions to painting and architecture have been especially rich. The Mosan art, the Early Netherlandish,WEB, Low Countries, 1000–1400 AD, Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007,weblink 10 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 15 April 2007, live, the Flemish Renaissance and Baroque paintingWEB, Low Countries, 1400–1600 AD, Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007,weblink 10 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2007, live, and major examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectureSeveral examples of major architectural realizations in Belgium belong to UNESCO's World Heritage List:WEB, Belgium, Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, UNESCO,weblink 15 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 28 April 2007, live, are milestones in the history of art. While the 15th century's art in the Low Countries is dominated by the religious paintings of Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, the 16th century is characterized by a broader panel of styles such as Peter Breughel's landscape paintings and Lambert Lombard's representation of the antique.BOOK, French, Jacques, Hendrick, La peinture au pays de Liège, 1987, Liège, Editions du Perron, 978-2-87114-026-9, 24, Though the Baroque style of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck flourished in the early 17th century in the Southern Netherlands,BOOK, German, Herwig, Guratzsch, Die große Zeit der niederländische Malerei, 1979, Verlag Herder, Freiburg im Beisgau, 7, it gradually declined thereafter.WEB, Low Countries, 1600–1800 AD, Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007,weblink 10 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2007, live, WEB, Art History: Flemish School: (1600–1800)—Artists: (biography & artworks),weblink 5 February 2006, World Wide Arts Resources, 10 May 2007, dead,weblink 13 October 2009, —A general presentation of the Flemish artistic movement with a list of its artists, linking to their biographies and artworksDuring the 19th and 20th centuries many original romantic, expressionist and surrealist Belgian painters emerged, including James Ensor and other artists belonging to the Les XX group, Constant Permeke, Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. The avant-garde CoBrA movement appeared in the 1950s, while the sculptor Panamarenko remains a remarkable figure in contemporary art.WEB,weblink Belgian Artists: (biographies & artworks), 5 February 2006, World Wide Arts Resources, 10 May 2007, dead,weblink 15 May 2016, —List of Belgian painters, linking to their biographies and artworksWEB, Baudson, Michel, Panamarenko, Flammarion (Paris), quoted at presentation of the XXIII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 7 February 2007, 10 May 2007, 1996, dead, Multidisciplinary artists Jan Fabre, Wim Delvoye and the painter Luc Tuymans are other internationally renowned figures on the contemporary art scene.Belgian contributions to architecture also continued into the 19th and 20th centuries, including the work of Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde, who were major initiators of the Art Nouveau style.Brussels, capital of Art Nouveau (page 1) {{Webarchive|url= |date=9 May 2007 }}, WEB, (page 2), 2007, Senses Art Nouveau Shop, Brussels,weblink 11 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2007, live, (for example)WEB, Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels), UNESCO's World Heritage List, UNESCO,weblink The appearance of Art Nouveau in the closing years of the 19th century marked a decisive stage in the evolution of architecture, making possible subsequent developments, and the Town Houses of Victor Horta in Brussels bear exceptional witness to its radical new approach., 16 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2013, live, File:TV-uitzending Domino Jacques Brel tijdens de opname in Amsterdam, Marcanti, Bestanddeelnr 914-8399.jpg|thumb|right|Jacques BrelJacques BrelThe vocal music of the Franco-Flemish School developed in the southern part of the Low Countries and was an important contribution to Renaissance culture.WEB, Western music, the Franco-Flemish school, Most significant musically was the pervasive influence of musicians from the Low Countries, whose domination of the music scene during the last half of the 15th century is reflected in the period designations the Netherlands school and the Franco-Flemish school., Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007,weblink 15 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 8 December 2006, live, In the 19th and 20th centuries, there was an emergence of major violinists, such as Henri Vieuxtemps, Eugène Ysaÿe and Arthur Grumiaux, while Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in 1846. The composer César Franck was born in Liège in 1822. Contemporary popular music in Belgium is also of repute. Jazz musician Toots Thielemans and singer Jacques Brel have achieved global fame. Nowadays, singer Stromae has been a musical revelation in Europe and beyond, having great success. In rock/pop music, Telex, Front 242, K's Choice, Hooverphonic, Zap Mama, Soulwax and dEUS are well known. In the heavy metal scene, bands like Machiavel, Channel Zero and Enthroned have a worldwide fan-base.Two comprehensive discussions of rock and pop music in Belgium since the 1950s:WEB, The Timeline—A brief history of Belgian Pop Music, March 2007, The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives, Flanders Music Centre, Brussels,weblink 7 June 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 12 July 2007, live, WEB, Belgian Culture—Rock, 2006, Vanberg & DeWulf Importing,weblink 11 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 7 June 2007, dead, Belgium has produced several well-known authors, including the poets Emile Verhaeren, Robert Goffin and novelists Hendrik Conscience, Georges Simenon, Suzanne Lilar, Hugo Claus and Amélie Nothomb. The poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1911. The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé is the best known of Franco-Belgian comics, but many other major authors, including Peyo (The Smurfs), André Franquin (Gaston Lagaffe), Dupa (Cubitus), Morris (Lucky Luke), Greg (Achille Talon), Lambil (Les Tuniques Bleues), Edgar P. Jacobs and Willy Vandersteen brought the Belgian cartoon strip industry a worldwide fame.BOOK, Comics in French: the European bande dessinée in context, Grove, Laurence, Berghahn Books, 2010, 978-1-84545-588-0, Additionally, famous crime author Agatha Christie created the character Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective, who has served as a protagonist in a number of her acclaimed mystery novels.Belgian cinema has brought a number of mainly Flemish novels to life on-screen.{{efn-ua|Notable Belgian films based on works by Flemish authors include: De Witte (author Ernest Claes) movie by Jan Vanderheyden and Edith Kiel in 1934, remake as De Witte van Sichem directed by Robbe De Hert in 1980; De man die zijn haar kort liet knippen (Johan Daisne) André Delvaux 1965; Mira ('De teleurgang van de Waterhoek' by Stijn Streuvels) Fons Rademakers 1971; Malpertuis (aka The Legend of Doom House) (Jean Ray [pen name of Flemish author who mainly wrote in French, or as John Flanders in Dutch]) Harry Kümel 1971; De loteling (Hendrik Conscience) Roland Verhavert 1974; Dood van een non (Maria Rosseels) Paul Collet and Pierre Drouot 1975; Pallieter (Felix Timmermans) Roland Verhavert 1976; De komst van Joachim Stiller (Hubert Lampo) Harry Kümel 1976; De Leeuw van Vlaanderen (Hendrik Conscience) Hugo Claus (a famous author himself) 1985; Daens ('Pieter Daens' by Louis Paul Boon) Stijn Coninx 1992; see also weblink" title="">Filmarchief les DVD!s de la cinémathèque (in Dutch). Retrieved on {{Nowrap|7 June}} 2007.}} Other Belgian directors include André Delvaux, Stijn Coninx, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne; well-known actors include Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jan Decleir and Marie Gillain; and successful films include Bullhead, Man Bites Dog and The Alzheimer Affair.A review of the Belgian cinema till about 2000 can be found atWEB, History of Cinema in Belgium, Film Birth, 2007,weblink 26 June 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 14 September 2011, dead, In the 1980s, Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts produced important fashion trendsetters, known as the Antwerp Six.WEB, Fashion and the 'Antwerp Six', 2004,weblink Fashion Worlds, Dorset, UK, 13 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 19 April 2007, live,


{{Further|Folklore of Belgium}}File:Binche - Les Gilles.jpg|thumb|right|The Gilles of BincheBincheFolklore plays a major role in Belgium's cultural life: the country has a comparatively high number of processions, cavalcades, parades, 'ommegangs' and 'ducasses',{{efn-ua|The Dutch word 'ommegang' is here used in the sense of an entirely or mainly non-religious procession, or the non-religious part thereof—see also (:nl:Ommegang|its article on the Dutch-language Wikipedia); the Processional Giants of Brussels, Dendermonde and Mechelen mentioned in this paragraph are part of each city's 'ommegang'. The French word 'ducasse' refers also to a procession; the mentioned Processional Giants of Ath and Mons are part of each city's 'ducasse'.}} 'kermesse' and other local festivals, nearly always with an originally religious or mythological background. The Carnival of Binche with its famous Gilles and the 'Processional Giants and Dragons' of Ath, Brussels, Dendermonde, Mechelen and Mons are recognized by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.WEB, Processional Giants and Dragons in Belgium and France, UNESCO,weblink 15 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2007, live, Other examples are the Carnival of Aalst; the still very religious processions of the Holy Blood in Bruges, Virga Jesse Basilica in Hasselt and Basilica of Our Lady of Hanswijk in Mechelen; {{Nowrap|15 August}} festival in Liège; and the Walloon festival in Namur. Originated in 1832 and revived in the 1960s, the Gentse Feesten have become a modern tradition. A major non-official holiday is the Saint Nicholas Day, a festivity for children and, in Liège, for students.WEB, Folklore estudiantin liégeois, University of Liège,weblink French, 17 June 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 June 2010,


File:Moules Frites.jpg|thumb|leftMany highly ranked Belgian restaurants can be found in the most influential restaurant guides, such as the Michelin Guide.WEB, The Michelin stars 2007 in Belgium, TM Dreaminvest, 2007,weblink 15 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 9 October 2008, dead, Belgium is famous for beer, chocolate, waffles and french fries with mayonnaise. Contrary to their name, french fries are claimed to have originated in Belgium, although their exact place of origin is uncertain. The national dishes are "steak and fries with salad", and "mussels with fries".WEB,weblink 12 August 2007, Steak-frites, Epicurious, 20 August 2004,weblink" title="">weblink 8 August 2007, live, Republished fromBOOK, Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook, October 1996, Van Waerebeek, Ruth, Robbins, Maria, Workman Publishing, 978-1-56305-411-2, WEB, Belgium, Global Gourmet,weblink 12 August 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 September 2007, Republished fromBOOK, Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook, October 1996, Van Waerebeek, Ruth, Robbins, Maria, Workman Publishing, 978-1-56305-411-2, WEB, Mussels, 2005, Visit Belgium, Official Site of the Belgian Tourist Office in the Americas,weblink 12 August 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 10 February 2007, dead, {{efn-ua|Contrarily to what the text suggests, the season starts as early as July and lasts through April.}}Brands of Belgian chocolate and pralines, like Côte d'Or, Neuhaus, Leonidas and Godiva are famous, as well as independent producers such as Burie and Del Rey in Antwerp and Mary's in Brussels.BOOK, Belgium and Luxembourg, Elliott, Mark, Cole, Geert, yes, Lonely Planet, 2000, 53, 978-1-86450-245-9,weblink Belgium produces over 1100 varieties of beer.NEWS,weblink Nieuwe bierbijbel bundelt alle 1.132 Belgische bieren, Chris, Snick, 18 October 2011, Dutch, Het Nieuwsblad, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 June 2012, NEWS,weblink Nieuwe bierbijbel met 1.132 Belgische bieren voorgesteld in Brugge, 18 October 2011, Dutch, Krant van West-Vlaanderen, 17 February 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 31 May 2012, live, The Trappist beer of the Abbey of Westvleteren has repeatedly been rated the world's best beer.NEWS, Ames, Paul, Buying the World's Best Beer,weblink 19 November 2010, Global Post, 30 August 2009,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2010, live, NEWS, Guthrie, Tyler, Day trip to the best beer in the world,weblink 19 November 2010, Chicago Tribune, 11 August 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 4 December 2010, live, NEWS, Monks run short of 'world's best' beer,weblink 19 November 2010, ABC, 12 August 2005, Reuters,weblink" title="">weblink 10 March 2009, dead, The biggest brewer in the world by volume is Anheuser-Busch InBev, based in Leuven.PRESS RELEASE, InBev dividend 2006: 0.72 euro per share—infobox: About InBev, InBev is a publicly traded company (Euronext: INB) based in Leuven, Belgium. The company's origins date back to 1366, and today it is the leading global brewer by volume., 24 April 2007, InBev,weblink 31 May 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 September 2007,


File:Eddy Merckx Molteni 1973.jpg|thumb|upright|Eddy MerckxEddy MerckxSince the 1970s, sports clubs and federations are organized separately within each language community.BOOK, Organised sport in transition: development, structures and trends of sports clubs in Belgium, Task, Marijke, Renson, Roland, van Reusel, Bart, yes, Sport clubs in various European countries, Klaus Heinemann, Schattauer Verlag, 1999, 978-3-7945-2038-1, 183–229, Association football is the most popular sport in both parts of Belgium; also very popular are cycling, tennis, swimming, judoBOOK, Belgium, Wingfield, George, Infobase Publishing, Charles F. Gritzner, 2008, 978-0-7910-9670-3, 94–95,weblink and basketball.NEWS, Belgium's 10 most popular sports, Hendricks, Kelly, The Bulletin, 20 June 2014,weblink 26 October 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2014, live, Belgians hold the most Tour de France victories of any country except France. They have also the most victories on the UCI Road World Championships. Philippe Gilbert is the 2012 world champion. Another modern well-known Belgian cyclist is Tom Boonen. With five victories in the Tour de France and numerous other cycling records, Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx is regarded as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.NEWS, Great, but there are greater, Majendie, Matt, BBC Sport, 18 April 2005, [the Author's] top five [cyclists] of all time: 1 Eddy Merckx, 2 Bernard Hinault, 3 Lance Armstrong, 4 Miguel Indurain, 5 Jacques Anquetil,weblink 20 September 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 24 August 2007, live, Jean-Marie Pfaff, a former Belgian goalkeeper, is considered one of the greatest in the history of association football."Goalkeeping Greats {{Webarchive|url= |date=30 June 2008 }}" Retrieved on 29 June 2008.Belgium hosted the 1972 European Football Championships, and co-hosted the 2000 European Championships with the Netherlands. The Belgium national football team reached first place in the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in November 2015.NEWS, Belgium go top, Chile and Austria soar,weblink 30 March 2016, FIFA, 5 November 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 June 2016, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin both were Player of the Year in the Women's Tennis Association as they were ranked the number one female tennis player.The Spa-Francorchamps motor-racing circuit hosts the Formula One World Championship Belgian Grand Prix. The Belgian driver, Jacky Ickx, won eight Grands Prix and six 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished twice as runner-up in the Formula One World Championship. Belgium also has a strong reputation in, motocross with the rider Stefan Everts.BOOK, Motocross History: From Local Scrambling to World Championship MX to Freestyle, Woods, Bob, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2008, 978-0-7787-3987-6, 19, Sporting events annually held in Belgium include the Memorial Van Damme athletics competition, the Belgian Grand Prix Formula One, and a number of classic cycle races such as the Tour of Flanders and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The 1920 Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp. The 1977 European Basketball Championship was held in Liège and Ostend.{{clear}}

See also

{{Wikipedia books|Belgium}}




Online sources
  • WEB, Belgium, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Chicago, Illinois, USA,weblink 7 June 2007,
  • WEB, Boordtabel, 2007, Dutch, Centre for Information, Documentation and Research on Brussels (BRIO),weblink 2 June 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 29 May 2007, dead, (mentioning other original sources)
  • {{CIA World Factbook link|be|Belgium}} Retrieved on 7 June 2007.
  • WEB, The Constitution, 21 January 1997, Federal Parliament Belgium,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 7 June 2007, 7 June 2007, dead,
  • WEB, Country Portal – Europe—Belgium, Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Economy—Directorate-general Statistics Belgium,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 1 July 2007, 7 June 2007, dead,
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  • BOOK, A History of Belgium from the Roman Invasion to the Present Day, Cammaerts, Émile L., 1913, 357pp, 1921, D. Appleton and Co, New York, 1525559, B00085PM0A, [Also editions [1913], London, {{OCLC|29072911}}; (1921) D. Unwin and Co., New York {{OCLC|9625246}} also published (1921) as Belgium from the Roman invasion to the present day, The Story of the nations, 67, T. Fisher Unwin, London, {{OCLC|2986704}}]
  • BOOK, The History of Belgium: Part 1. Cæsar to Waterloo,weblink de Kavanagh Boulger, Demetrius C., Paperback 493pp, 1902, 28 June 2001, Elibron Classics, Adamant Media (Delaware corporation), Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 978-1-4021-6714-0, Facsimile reprint of a 1902 edition by the author, LondonBOOK, Ib. Part 2. 1815–1865. Waterloo to the Death of Leopold I, Ib., Paperback 462pp, 1909, June 2001, Ib., Ib, 978-1-4021-6713-3, Facsimile reprint of a 1909 edition by the author, London
  • BOOK, Fitzmaurice, The Politics of Belgium: A Unique Federalism, Fitzmaurice, John, John Fitzmaurice, Paperback 284pp, 1996, Nations of the modern world, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, USA, 978-0-8133-2386-2, 30112536,
  • BOOK, The Low Countries: History of the Northern and Southern Netherlands, Kossmann-Putto, Johanna A., Ernst Kossmann, Kossmann Ernst H., Deleu Jozef H. M., Fenoulhet Jane, De Lage Landen: geschiedenis van de Noordelijke en Zuidelijke Nederlanden. Vlaams-Nederlandse Stichting Ons Erfdeel, Rekkem, 3rd Rev. edition Paperback 64ppdate=January 1993
isbn=978-90-70831-20-2, (Several editions in English, incl. (1997) 7th ed.)

External links

{{Sister project links|voy=Belgium}}

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