Europe: Belgium

About Belgium

Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. It has prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Brussels
Population: 10,258,762 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 4%
Language: Dutch 58%, French 32%, German 10%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
Date of independence: 21 July 1831 (from the Netherlands)
Form of government: federal parliamentary democracy und
Title of Leader: king heads state; prime minister is
Natural Resources: coal, natural gas
Environmental Issues: the environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, intense animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries; uncertain
Agricultural Products: sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Imports: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals and metal products
Exports: machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: EU 71% (Germany 18%, Netherlands 17%, France 14%, UK 9%) (1999)
EXPORTS: EU 76% (Germany 18%, France 18%, Netherlands 12%, UK 10%) (1999)


Belgium Headlines


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