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General information
Common nameBelgium
Local name 
MottoEendracht maakt macht (Dutch)
L'union fait la force (French)
Einigkeit macht stark (German)
"Strength through Unity" (lit. "Unity makes strength")
AnthemThe "Brabançonne"
instrumental version:
Largest citymetropolitan area
Official languagesDutch
Ethnic groupssee Demographics
GovernmentFederal parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
KingAlbert II
Prime MinisterYves Leterme
LegislatureFederal Parliament
Upper HouseSenate
Lower HouseChamber of Representatives
Declared from the Netherlands4 October 1830
Recognised19 April 1839
EU accession25 March 1957
Total Area11787 sq mi (30528.3 km2) (139th)
Water %6.4
Population Est.11007020 (76th)
Population census10296350 (2001)
Density (pop.)354.6/km2 (33rd) (918.6/sq mi)
GDP PPP$394.346 billion (2010)
GDP (PPP) per capita$36,100
GDP (nominal)$465.676 billion (2010)
GDP (nominal) per capita$42,630
Other information
Gini28 (2005) (low)
HDI(+) 0.867 (2010) (very high) (18th)
CurrencyEuro (-)1 (EUR)
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on theright
Internet TLD.be2
Calling code32

     Home | Country | Belgium

Belgium (c-enaudio=en-us-Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.

Belgium covers an area of 30528 km2 (11786.9 sqmi), and it has a population of about 11 million people. Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups, the Dutch-speakers, mostly Flemish, and the French-speakers, mostly Walloons, plus a small group of German-speakers. Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region.

A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia.

Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.

Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, which used to cover a somewhat larger area than the current Benelux group of states. The region was called Belgica in Latin because of the Roman province Gallia Belgica which covered more or less the same area. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, it was a prosperous centre of commerce and culture. From the 16th century until the Belgian Revolution in 1830, when Belgium seceded from the Netherlands, many battles between European powers were fought in the area of Belgium, causing it to be dubbed the battleground of Europe,

a reputation strengthened by both World Wars.

Upon its independence, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution

and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.

The second half of the 20th century was marked by the rise of non-violent conflicts between the Flemings and the Francophones fuelled by cultural differences on the one hand and an asymmetrical economic evolution of Flanders and Wallonia on the other hand. These still-active conflicts have caused far-reaching reforms of the formerly unitary Belgian state into a federal state which may lead to a complete partition of the country in the future.

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