Dxpat.com

Overview website for Belgium

pespmc1.vub.ac.be/BELGCUL.html

map of Belgium Clickable Map: Belgium with major cities; …

including All about Belgium: history, people, arts, science, education, sports …

an excellent site with plenty of information on Belgian culture, statistics, political …

www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/999709.stm

Overview ?: For such a small country, Belgium has been a major European battleground over the centuries. Occupied by Germany during …

geography.about.com

An overview of Belgium featuring information on the Belgium’s geography, history, government, demographic and economic facts. Learn important facts about …

www.letsgo.com

Belgium may not rank near the top of most people’s lists of must-see European vacation spots. Next to the Netherlands or Greece, Belgium doesn’t scream party …

www.belgium.be/en/about_belgium/country/Population/

On 1 January 2010, the population of Belgium was 10,839,905. That number is fairly evenly distributed between the sexes, although women outnumber men by …

Belgium with major cities; thick black lines denote the language border separating the 3 regions: Brussels in the center, Flanders in the Northern half, Wallonia in the Southern half; thin lines delimit provinces

Belgium is a small, highly developed and densely populated country (10 million of inhabitants) at the cross-roads of Western Europe. Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Community, and its capital, Brussels, is also the capital of the European Union. It is a federal state, with 3 relatively autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, where the language is Dutch (“Flemish”), Wallonia in the south, where the language is French, and the centrally located Brussels, which is officially bilingual. Belgium’s rich history has left impressive churches, town halls, castles and works of art, dating back to the early Middle Ages, spread around the cities and country-side.

Belgium has possibly the highest “quality of life” in the world, as testified by its excellent food, housing, health care, education and infrastructure, its world records for high productivity and low poverty, and the appreciation of foreigners residing in Belgium. For a personal view on what distinguishes Belgium and the Belgian character (good living, pragmatism, food and drink, open-mindedness, compromise, privacy …), check my “Essay on Belgian Culture”.

Belgium is an important country to both Europe and the rest of the world as its capital, Brussels, is the headquarters the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. In addition, that city is the home of many worldwide banking and insurance firms, leading some to call Brussels the unofficial capital of Europe.

History of Belgium

Like many of the world’s countries, Belgium has a long history. Its name is derived from the Belgae, a Celtic tribe that lived in the area in the first century B.C.E. Also, during the first century, the Romans invaded the area and Belgium was controlled as a Roman province for nearly 300 years. Around 300 C.E., Rome’s power began to diminish when Germanic tribes were pushed into the area and eventually the Franks, a German group, took control of the country.

After the arrival of the Germans, the northern part of Belgium became a German-speaking area, while the people in the south remained Roman and spoke Latin. Soon after, Belgium became controlled by the Dukes of Burgundy and was eventually taken over by the Hapsburgs. Belgium was then later occupied by Spain from 1519 to 1713 and Austria from 1713 to 1794.

In 1795, however, Belgium was annexed by Napoleonic France after the French Revolution. Shortly thereafter, Napoleon’s army was beaten during the Battle of Waterloo near Brussels and Belgium became a part of the Netherlands in 1815.

It was then not until 1830 that Belgium won its independence from the Dutch. In that year, there was an uprising by the Belgian people and in 1831, a constitutional monarchy was established and a monarch from the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha in Germany was invited to run the country.

Throughout the decades following its independence, Belgium was invaded several times by Germany. In 1944 though, British, Canadian and America armies formally liberated Belgium.

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