|Koninkrijk België (Dutch)|
Royaume de Belgique (French)
Königreich Belgien (German)
Kingdom of Belgium
|Motto: Eendracht maakt macht (Dutch)|
L'union fait la force (French)
Einigkeit macht stark (German)
"Strength through Unity" (lit. Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. The national Flag of Belgium contains three equal vertical bands of Black (hoist side Yellow, and Red; the vertical design was based The Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Belgium bears a lion called the Belgian Lion or Leo Belgicus. A motto (from the Italian word motto, meaning witticism sentence is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. "Unity creates Strength", "Unity makes one strong")
|Anthem: The "Brabançonne"|
|Largest metropolitan area||Brussels Capital Region|
|Official languages||Dutch, French, German|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy|
|-||Prime Minister||Yves Leterme|
|-||Declared||4 October 1830|
|-||Recognized||19 April 1839|
|EU accession||25 March 1957|
|-||Total||30,528 km² (139th)|
11,787 sq mi
|-||Water (%)||6. A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history traditions and struggles of its people recognized either by a nation's The Brabançonne ( Song of Brabant) is the National anthem of Belgium. The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in Brussels (Bruxelles pronounced; Brussel pronounced) officially the Brussels Capital-Region, is Belgium has a population of about 10666866 citizens as of January 2008 An official language is a Language that is given a special legal status in a particular Country, State, or other territory Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. A demonym or gentilic is a word that denotes the members of a People or the inhabitants of a place Belgium has a population of about 10666866 citizens as of January 2008 For the government of parliamentary systems see Executive (government. A parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarianism (and parliamentarism in American English) is a System of government in which A constitutional monarchy, or a limited monarchy, is a form of Constitutional Government, wherein either an elected or hereditary Monarch is Monarchy in Belgium is Constitutional and popular in nature The hereditary Monarch Life Prince Albert was sent to the Swiss private school Institut Le Rosey for his pre-university education This is a list of Prime Ministers of Belgium, known regionally as Premier Ministre in French, Eerste Minister in Dutch, Yves Camille Désiré Leterme (born 6 October 1960 is a Belgian politician a leader of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party ( CD&V) The Belgian Revolution was a conflict in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands that began with a riot in Brussels in August 1830 and eventually led to the Events 610 - Heraclius arrives by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrows Byzantine Emperor Phocas For the game see 1830 (board game. Year 1830 ( MDCCCXXX) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display The Treaty of London, also called the First Treaty of London or the Convention of 1839, was a Treaty signed on 19 April 1839 between Events 1012 - Martyrdom of Alphege in Greenwich London. 1529 - At the Second Diet of Speyer Year 1839 ( MDCCCXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Common The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in A Member State of the European Union is any one of the twenty-seven sovereign Nation states that have acceded the European Union (EU since its De facto Events 1199 - Richard I is wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting France which leads to his death on April 6. Year 1957 ( MCMLVII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar) Area is a Quantity expressing the two- Dimensional size of a defined part of a Surface, typically a region bounded by a closed Curve. To help compare Orders of magnitude of different geographical regions  Areas between 10000 km² and 100000 km² are listed here This is a list of the countries of the world sorted by total area. The square mile is an imperial and US unit of Area equal the area of a square of one statute mile. Water is a common Chemical substance that is essential for the survival of all known forms of Life. In Mathematics, a percentage is a way of expressing a number as a Fraction of 100 ( per cent meaning "per hundred" 4|
|-||Density||344. In Biology a population is the collection of inter-breeding organisms of a particular Species; in Sociology List of countries by population in 2005|List of countries by population in 1907This is a list of countries ordered according to Population. Population density (in agriculture standing stock and Standing crop) is a measurement of Population per unit area or unit volume 32/km² (2006) (29th )|
|GDP (PPP)||2004 estimate|
|-||Total||$316. List of countries and dependencies by Population density in inhabitants/km² The purchasing power parity ( PPP) theory uses the long-term equilibrium Exchange rate of two currencies to equalize their Purchasing power. 2 billion (30th)|
|-||Per capita||$31,400 (13th)|
|Gini (2000)||33 (medium) (33rd)|
|HDI (2005)||▲ 0. This list compares various sizes of positive Numbers including counts of things Dimensionless quantity and probabilities. There are three lists of Countries of the world sorted by their Gross domestic product (GDP (the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation Per capita is a Latin phrase meaning for each head with Per meaning 'through' or 'by' This article includes three lists of Countries of the world sorted by their Gross domestic product (GDP at Purchasing power parity (PPP Per capita The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion most prominently used as a measure of inequality of income distribution or inequality of wealth This is a list of countries or dependencies by Income inequality metrics, including Gini coefficients according to the United Nations (UN and the The Human Development Index ( HDI) is an index combining normalized measures of Life expectancy, Literacy, Educational attainment, and GDP 946 (high) (17th)|
|Currency||Euro (€)1 (|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|1||Before 1999: Belgian franc. This is a list of countries by Human Development Index as included in the United Nations Development Program 's Human Development Report 2007 A currency is a unit of exchange, facilitating the transfer of Goods and/or services It is one form of Money, where money is Please update other articles as well to avoid contradiction within Wikipedia e The euro sign (€ is the Currency sign used for the Euro, the official currency of the European Union (EU ISO 4217 is the International standard describing three-letter codes (also known as the currency code) to define the names of currencies established Central European Time ( CET) is one of the names of the Time zone that is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time. Daylight saving time ( DST Central European Summer Time ( CEST) is one of the names of UTC+2 Time zone, 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time. A country This is a list of country calling codes defined by ITU-T recommendation E The franc ( Dutch: frank - French: franc - German: Franken) was the currency of Belgium until 2002 when the|
|2||The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states. The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in|
The Kingdom of Belgium is a country in northwest Europe. In Political geography and International politics, a country is a Political division of a geographical entity Western Europe at its most general meaning means 'all the countries in the West of Europe ' It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts its headquarters, as well as those of other major international organizations, including NATO. The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in International Organization is a peer-reviewed Academic journal that covers the entire field of International affairs. The North Atlantic Treaty  Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometers (11,787 square miles) and has a population of about 10. Square Kilometre ( US spelling square kilometer) symbol km2, is a decimal multiple of the SI unit of 5 million.
Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north, with 58% of the population, and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia, inhabited by 32%. Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname The Flemish Region ( Dutch: Vlaams Gewest) is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium alongside the Walloon Region French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people The Walloon Region, commonly called Wallonia, is one of the three Regions of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region, although officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region and near the Walloon Region, and has 10% of the population. In Political geography, an enclave is a piece of land which is totally surrounded by a foreign territory and an exclave is one which is politically attached to a The Flemish Region ( Dutch: Vlaams Gewest) is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium alongside the Walloon Region The Walloon Region, commonly called Wallonia, is one of the three Regions of Belgium.  A small German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. The German-speaking Community of Belgium (Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens DGB) is one of the three federal communities in Belgium.  Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government. The history of Belgium, from pre-history to the present day is intertwined with the histories of its European neighbours in particular those of the Netherlands Belgium is a federal state comprising three communities, three regions, and four language areas. 
The name 'Belgium' is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. Gallia Belgica was a Roman province located in what is now the southern part of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, northeastern In Ancient Rome, a province (Latin provincia, pl provinciae) was the basic and until the Tetrarchy (circa Gaul (Gallia was the Roman name for the region of Western Europe comprising present day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western The Belgae were a group of tribes living in northern Gaul in the 1st century BC and later also attested in Britain. Celts (ˈkɛlts or /ˈsɛlts/, see Names of the Celts The Germanic peoples are a historical group of Indo-European -speaking peoples originating in Northern Europe and identified by their use of the Germanic  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 Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands Luxembourg (Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small Landlocked country in Western Europe, bordered by The Low Countries, the historical region of de Nederlanden, are the countries on low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt The Benelux is an economic union in Western Europe that includes three neighboring monarchies, '''Be'''lgium, the '''Ne'''therlands, and 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, many battles between European powers were fought in the area of Belgium, causing it to be dubbed "the battlefield of Europe" and "the cockpit of Europe" — a reputation strengthened by both World Wars. Upon its independence, Belgium eagerly participated in the Industrial Revolution, generating wealth and also a demand for raw materials; the latter was a factor during the era of its African colonies. The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture manufacturing and transportation had a profound effect on the The Belgian colonial empire consisted of three colonies possessed by Belgium between 1901 to 1962 
The area of present-day Belgium has seen significant demographic, political and cultural upheavals over the course of two millennia. The history of Belgium, from pre-history to the present day is intertwined with the histories of its European neighbours in particular those of the Netherlands The Seventeen Provinces were a Personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century roughly covering the current Netherlands The Bishopric of Liège or Prince-Bishopric of Liège was a state of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries in present Belgium In the first century, the Romans, after defeating the local tribes, created the province of Gallia Belgica. The Roman Republic was the phase of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a Republican form of government a period which began with the overthrow of the A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century, brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kingdom, which evolved into the Carolingian Empire in the 8th century. The Migration Period, also called Barbarian Invasions, or sometimes Völkerwanderung ( German for "wandering of peoples" is the English name The Franks or Frankish people (Franci or gens Francorum) were West Germanic tribes first identified in the 3rd century as an Ethnic group The Merovingians (also Merovings) were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in a region (known as Francia in Latin Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term sometimes used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty. During the Middle Ages small feudal states emerged, many of which rejoined as the Burgundian Netherlands in the 14th and 15th centuries. Under the system of Feudalism, a fiefdom, fief, feud, feoff, or fee, often consisted of inheritable lands or revenue-producing In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands refers to the period when the dukes of Burgundy ruled the area as well as Luxembourg and parts of Emperor Charles V completed the union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, and unofficially also controlled the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. Charles V (24 February 1500 &ndash 21 September 1558 was The Seventeen Provinces were a Personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century roughly covering the current Netherlands The Bishopric of Liège or Prince-Bishopric of Liège was a state of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries in present Belgium 
The Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) divided the area into the northern United Provinces ('federate' Belgica Foederata in Latin) and the Southern Netherlands ('royal' Belgica Regia). The Dutch Revolt, Eighty Years' War or the Revolt of the Netherlands (1568—1648 was the revolt of the Seventeen Provinces in the Low Countries "United Netherlands" redirects here For the "Kingdom of the United Netherlands" see United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. The Southern Netherlands (Zuidelijke Nederlanden Países Bajos del Sur Pays-Bas du sud were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain ( Spanish The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries (1516-1700 when this country was ruled by the Habsburg dynasty (also associated to This is the history of Austria. See also the History of Europe and History of present-day nations and states. Until independence the area was sought after by numerous French conquerors and was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Franco-Spanish War was a military conflict between France and Spain. The War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748 involved nearly all the powers of Europe  Following the 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 Spanish-Austrian rule in the region. The French Revolutionary Wars continued from 1793 with few immediate changes in the diplomatic situation as France fought the First coalition. The First Republic in France, officially the French Republic (République française was proclaimed on 21 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815. United Kingdom of the Netherlands (or Kingdom of the United Netherlands) (1815 - 1830 (1839 (Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden Royaume-Uni des Pays-Bas was the unofficial The Empire of the French (1804-1814 also known as the Empire of France, Greater French Empire, First French Empire, French Empire, or
The 1830 Belgian Revolution led to the establishment of an independent, Catholic, and neutral Belgium under a provisional government and a national congress. The Belgian Revolution was a conflict in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands that began with a riot in Brussels in August 1830 and eventually led to the The Provisional Government (Voorlopig Bewind Gouvernement provisoire was formed as a revolutionary committee of notables during the Belgian Revolution on September The Belgian National Congress was a temporary legislative assembly in 1830 established shortly after the Provisional Government of Belgium had proclaimed Belgian Since the installation of Leopold I as king in 1831, Belgium has been a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. Leopold I ( Leopold George Christian Frederick (in German Leopold Georg Christian Friedrich) Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, later A constitutional monarchy, or a limited monarchy, is a form of Constitutional Government, wherein either an elected or hereditary Monarch is A parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarianism (and parliamentarism in American English) is a System of government in which Initially an oligarchy ruled mainly by the Catholic Party and the Liberals, the country had evolved towards universal suffrage by World War II with the rise of the Belgian Labour Party and trade unions playing a strong role. Oligarchy' ( Greek, Oligarkhía) is a Form of government where Political power effectively rests with a small elite segment The first Catholic Party in Belgium was established in 1884 as the Confessional Catholic Party (Confessionele Katholieke Partij The Liberal Party was a Belgian political party that existed from 1846 until 1961 when it became the Party for Freedom and Progress, Partij voor Vrijheid en Universal suffrage (also universal adult suffrage, general suffrage or common suffrage) consists of the extension of the right to vote to World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including The Belgian Labour Party, called Belgische Werkliedenpartij (BWP in Dutch (English translation Belgian Workers' Party and Parti Ouvrier Belge (POB in A trade union or labour union is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals in key areas such as wages hours and working conditions forming French, once the single official language and adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie, had by then lost its overall importance as Dutch, the language of the majority of the population, had become recognized as well, be it only in 1898. French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people Nobility is a government-privileged title which may be either hereditary (see Hereditary titles) or for a lifetime Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname However, it was not until 1967 that an official Dutch version of the Constitution was accepted. The Constitution of Belgium dates back to 1831 Since then Belgium has been a Parliamentary monarchy that applies the principles of Ministerial 
The Berlin Conference of 1885 gave the Congo Free State to King Leopold II as his private possession. See also Congress of Berlin (1878 and Berlin Conference of 1954 (Cold War The Congo Free State was a Corporate state privately controlled by Leopold II King of the Belgians through a dummy non-governmental organization the Leopold II (Léopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor Leopold Lodewijk Filips Maria Victor (9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909 was King of the Belgians. In 1908, it was ceded to Belgium as a colony, henceforth called the Belgian Congo. The Belgian Congo ( Dutch: Belgisch Kongo French: Congo Belge German: Belgisch Kongo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic Belgian control of the Congolese population, particularly under Leopold II, was savage, and the country was plundered of resources such as ivory and rubber. 
Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 as part of the Schlieffen Plan, and much of the Western Front fighting of World War I occurred in western parts of the country. For the French counter-plan see Plan XVII The Schlieffen Plan was the German General Staff 's early 20th century overall strategic Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914 the German army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All Belgium took over the German colonies of Ruanda-Urundi (modern day Rwanda and Burundi) during the war, and they were mandated to Belgium in 1924 by the League of Nations, of which it was a founding member. This is a list of former German Empire colonies and Protectorates (Schutzgebiete the German colonial empire. Ruanda-Urundi was a Belgian Suzerainty from 1916 to 1924 a League of Nations Class B Mandate from 1924 to 1945 and then a UN trust territory The Republic of Rwanda (ruːˈændə or /rəˈwɑːndə/ in English ɾwanda or in Kinyarwanda is a small Landlocked country in the Burundi (buˈɾundi officially the Republic of Burundi, is a small country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda The League of Nations was an International organization founded as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919–1920 The Treaty of Versailles had subjected several German border towns, most notably Eupen and Malmedy, to a controversial plebiscite, which led to their annexation by Belgium in 1925, thereby causing the presence of a small German community. The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. Eupen is a Municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège, 15 km from the German border ( Aachen) from the Dutch Malmedy is a Municipality of Belgium. It lies in the country's Walloon Region and Province of Liege. A referendum (plural referendums or referenda) ballot question, or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita Belgium was again invaded by Germany in 1940 during the Blitzkrieg offensive, and occupied until its liberation by Allied troops in the winter of 1944–1945. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Blitzkrieg (German for "lightning war" is a popular name for an Offensive operational-level Military doctrine which involves an initial In general allies are people groups or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose The Belgian Congo gained independence in 1960 during the Congo Crisis; Ruanda-Urundi followed two years later. The Belgian Congo ( Dutch: Belgisch Kongo French: Congo Belge German: Belgisch Kongo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic The Congo Crisis (1960-1965 was a period of turmoil in the First Republic of the Congo that began with national independence Ruanda-Urundi was a Belgian Suzerainty from 1916 to 1924 a League of Nations Class B Mandate from 1924 to 1945 and then a UN trust territory
After World War II, Belgium joined NATO as a founder member, headquartered at Brussels, and formed the Benelux group of nations with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including The North Atlantic Treaty Brussels (Bruxelles pronounced; Brussel pronounced) officially the Brussels Capital-Region, is The Benelux is an economic union in Western Europe that includes three neighboring monarchies, '''Be'''lgium, the '''Ne'''therlands, and The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands Luxembourg (Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small Landlocked country in Western Europe, bordered by 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 European Coal and Steel Community ( ECSC) was a six-nation International organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and creating The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom is an international organisation which is semi-independent of but completely controlled by the European Community The European Community (EC is one of the Three pillars of the European Union (EU created under the Maastricht Treaty (1992 The latter is now 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. The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in The European Commission (formally the Commission of the European Communities) is the executive branch of the European Union. The Council of the European Union is the principal decision making institution in the European Union (EU The European Parliament ( Europarl or EP) is the only directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU
Belgium is a constitutional, popular monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Politics of Belgium takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic Constitutional monarchy, whereby the The Belgian Federal Parliament is a bicameral parliament It consists of the Chamber of Representatives (Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers la Chambre des Représentants The executive branch of the Belgian federal government consists of ministers and secretaries of state ("junior" ministers or smaller departments Belgium is a federation with a Multi-party political system with numerous parties who factually have no chance of gaining power alone and therefore must work with each other to form Monarchy in Belgium is Constitutional and popular in nature The hereditary Monarch This is a list of Prime Ministers of Belgium, known regionally as Premier Ministre in French, Eerste Minister in Dutch, Initial neutrality Because of its location at the crossroads of Western Europe, Belgium has historically been the route of invading armies from its larger neighbours A constitutional monarchy, or a limited monarchy, is a form of Constitutional Government, wherein either an elected or hereditary Monarch is Popular Monarchy is a system of monarchical governance in which the monarch's title is linked with the people rather than a unitary state A parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarianism (and parliamentarism in American English) is a System of government in which
In the 19th century, the Francophile political and economic elite treated the Dutch-speaking population as second class citizens. A Francophile is a non- French person who has a strong interest in or admiration for French culture. At the end of the 19th century, and during much of the 20th century, the Flemish movement evolved to counter this situation. The Flemish Movement (Vlaamse Beweging is a popular term used to describe the political movement for emancipation and greater autonomy of the Belgian region of Flanders Following World War II, Belgian politics became increasingly dominated by the autonomy of its two main language communities. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including Intercommunal tensions rose and even the unity of the Belgian state became scrutinized. The partition of Belgium, or the dissolution of the Belgian State through the separation of the Dutch-speaking peoples of the Flanders region from the  Through constitutional reforms in the 1970s and 1980s, regionalization of the unitary state led to a three-tiered federation: federal, regional, and community governments were created, a compromise designed to minimize linguistic, cultural, social and economic tensions. In Politics, regionalism is a Political ideology that focuses on the interests of a particular Region or group of regions whether traditional or formal A unitary state is a State whose three Organs of state are governed Constitutionally as one single unit with one Constitutionally created A federation ( Latin: foedus, covenant is a union comprising a number of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central ("federal" Political federalism is a Political philosophy in which a group of members are bound together (Latin foedus, covenant) with a governing 
The federal bicameral parliament is composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Representatives. Yves Camille Désiré Leterme (born 6 October 1960 is a Belgian politician a leader of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party ( CD&V) In Government, bicameralism (bi + Latin la ''camera'' chamber is the practice of having two legislative or Parliamentary chambers Thus a bicameral The Belgian Senate (de Senaat le Sénat der Senat is one of the two chambers of the bicameral Federal Parliament of Belgium, the other being the The Belgian Chamber of Representatives ( Dutch: de Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers, French: la Chambre des Représentants, German The former is made up of 40 directly elected politicians and 21 representatives appointed by the 3 community parliaments, 10 coopted senators and as senators by Right who in practice do not cast their vote, currently Prince Philippe, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent, children of the King. Belgium is a federal state comprising three communities, three regions, and four language areas. The Belgian Senate (de Senaat le Sénat der Senat is one of the two chambers of the bicameral Federal Parliament of Belgium, the other being the The Belgian Senate (de Senaat le Sénat der Senat is one of the two chambers of the bicameral Federal Parliament of Belgium, the other being the Biography Prince Philippe was educated at the Belgian Royal Military School Ancestry Place in succession Prince Laurent used to be third in line to the throne but this changed when the constitution was altered so that women would enjoy the same succession rights A king is a male Monarch, or a Head of state, who may or may not depending on the style of government of a nation exercise monarchal powers over a territory usually The Chamber's 150 representatives are elected under a proportional voting system from 11 electoral districts. Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation or PR is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes The federalized country Belgium geographically consists of 3 regions of which only Flemish Region and Walloon Region are subdivided into 5 provinces Belgium is one of the few countries that has compulsory voting, and thus holds one of the highest rates of voter turnout in the world. Compulsory voting requires electors to Vote in Elections or attend a polling place on voting day Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a Ballot in an Election. 
The King (currently Albert II) is the head of state, though with limited prerogatives. Monarchy in Belgium is Constitutional and popular in nature The hereditary Monarch Life Prince Albert was sent to the Swiss private school Institut Le Rosey for his pre-university education Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state The Royal Prerogative is a body of customary authority privilege and immunity recognised in Common law and sometimes in Civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy He appoints ministers, including a Prime Minister, that have the confidence of the Chamber of Representatives to form the federal government. This article is about the government position For other uses see Prime Minister (disambiguation. The numbers of Dutch- and French-speaking ministers are equal as prescribed by the Constitution. A constitution is a system for government often Codified as a written document that establishes the rules and principles of an autonomous political entity  The judicial system is based on civil law and originates from the Napoleonic code. Civil law or Romano-Germanic law or Continental law is the predominant system of law in the world. The Napoleonic Code, or Code Napoléon (originally called the Code civil des Français) is the French Civil code, established under The Court of Cassation is the court of last resort, with the Court of Appeal one level below. The Court of Cassation (Hof van Cassatie Cour de cassation Kassationshof is the main court of last resort in Belgium. Court of Appeal, Court of Appeals, and Appellate Division redirect here for a list of specific courts using those titles see Court of Appeal
Belgium's political institutions are complex; most political power is organized around the need to represent the main cultural communities. Since around 1970, the significant national Belgian political parties have split into distinct components that mainly represent the political and linguistic interests of these communities. A political party is a Political organization that seeks to attain and maintain political power within Government, usually by participating in electoral The major parties in each community, though close to the political centre, belong to three main groups: the right-wing Liberals, the socially conservative Christian Democrats, and the Socialists forming the left-wing. In Politics, centrism usually refers to the political ideal of promoting Moderate policies which land in the middle ground between different political extremes In Politics, right-wing, the political right, and the Right are positions that uphold traditional values and/or authorities Liberalism is a broad array of related ideas and theories of Government that consider individual Liberty to be the most important political goal Social conservatism is a political or moral ideology that affirms the government's role in encouraging or enforcing traditional values or behaviors in the belief that these are what Christian democracy is a political ideology that seeks to apply Christian (and often specifically Catholic) principles to public policy Social democracy is a Political ideology of the left and centre-left 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. Belgium is a federation with a Multi-party political system with numerous parties who factually have no chance of gaining power alone and therefore must work with each other to form The term nationalism can refer to an Ideology, a sentiment, a form of Culture, or a Social movement that focuses on the Nation A Green party' or ecologist party is a formally organized Political party based on the principles of Green politics. This article gives an overview of liberalism in Belgium. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support mainly proved by having had a representation
A string of Christian Democrat coalition governments from 1958 was broken in 1999 after the first dioxin crisis, a major food contamination scandal that led to the establishment of the Belgian Food Agency. The June 13 1999 Belgian general elections was a Belgian election for the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and Belgian Senate. Not to be confused with Dioxane or Digoxin. Dioxin is a heterocyclic, organic, antiaromatic compound  A 'rainbow coalition' emerged from six parties: the Flemish and the French-speaking Liberals, Social Democrats, Greens. A coalition is an alliance among individuals during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own Self-interest.  Later, a 'purple coalition' of Liberals and Social Democrats formed after the Greens lost most of their seats in the 2003 election. The May 18 2003 Belgian general elections were the first Belgian elections to be held under a new electoral code  The government led by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt from 1999 to 2007 achieved a balanced budget, some tax-reforms, a labour-market reform, scheduled nuclear phase-out, and instigated legislation allowing more stringent war crime and more lenient soft drug usage prosecution. This article is about the government position For other uses see Prime Minister (disambiguation. (ɣi vəɾˈɦɔfstɑt (b Guy Maurice Marie Louise Verhofstadt, 11 April 1953 in Dendermonde, Belgium) is a Belgian politician municipal See also Nuclear power Nuclear energy policy is a national and international Policy concerning some or all aspects of Nuclear energy, such as Belgium 's War Crimes Law invokes the concept of Universal jurisdiction to allow anyone to bring War crime charges in Belgian courts regardless of Hard and soft drugs are loose categories of non-prescription Psychoactive drugs This distinction is used in both official and casual discourse Restrictions on withholding euthanasia were reduced and same-sex marriage legalized. Euthanasia (literally "good death" in Ancient Greek) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner On January 30, 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognise Same-sex marriage, with some restrictions The government promoted active diplomacy in Africa and opposed the invasion of Iraq.  Verhofstadt's coalition fared badly in the June 2007 elections. The 2007 Belgian general election took place on Sunday June 10, 2007. Since then the country has been experiencing a long-lasting political crisis. The 2007–2008 Belgian government formation followed the general election of 10 June, 2007, and consisted of a period of negotiation in which the Flemish  This crisis is such that many observers have speculated on a possible partition of Belgium. The partition of Belgium, or the dissolution of the Belgian State through the separation of the Dutch-speaking peoples of the Flanders region from the Since December 21, 2007 the Verhofstadt III Government has been in office. The Verhofstadt III government was an interim Belgian government inaugurated on December 21, 2007 and lasting until 23 March, 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 20 March 2008. Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (CD&V (Christian Democratic and Flemish is a Flemish Community of Belgium Political party, formerly called Christian The Humanist Democratic Centre ( French: Centre démocrate humaniste or cdH) is a Belgian Francophone Christian democratic The Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten or OpenVLD ( Flemish Liberals and Democrats) is a Flemish liberal party, created in 1992 The Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur MR is a Belgian French-speaking liberal Political party. The Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste PS is a Francophone Social democratic political party in Belgium. On that day a new government, led by Flemish Christian Democrat Yves Leterme, the actual winner of the federal elections of June 2007, was sworn in by the King. Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (CD&V (Christian Democratic and Flemish is a Flemish Community of Belgium Political party, formerly called Christian Yves Camille Désiré Leterme (born 6 October 1960 is a Belgian politician a leader of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party ( CD&V)
In its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked Belgium (along with Finland and Sweden) 5th out of 169 countries. Finland, officially the Republic of Finland ( is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of northern Europe. "Sverige" redirects here For other uses see Sweden (disambiguation and Sverige (disambiguation. 
Based on the four language areas defined in 1962–63, consecutive revisions of the country's constitution in 1970, 1980, 1988 and 1993 established a unique federal state with segregated political power into three levels:
The constitutional language areas determine the official languages in their municipalities, as well as the geographical limits of the empowered institutions for specific matters:
|Public services rendered in the language of|
individuals expressing themselves…
|the Communities||the Regions (and their provinces)||the|
|…in Dutch||…in French||…in German|
|Dutch language area||in 12 municipalities|
(limited to 'facilities')
|French language area||in 4 municipalities|
(limited to 'facilities')
|in 2 municipalities|
(limited to 'facilities')
|Bilingual area Brussels-Capital||-||-||-||-|
|German language area||-||in all 9 municipalities|
(limited to 'facilities')
|By Law, inhabitants of 27 municipalities can ask limited services to be rendered in a neighbour language, forming 'facilities' for them. Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by Government to its Citizens, either directly (through the Public sector) or The municipalities with language facilities, occasionally called municipalities with linguistic facilities or shortly municipalities with facilities ( Dutch |
'Facilities' exist only in specific municipalities along the borders of the Flemish Region and the Walloon Regions.
Although this would allow for seven parliaments and governments, when the Communities and Regions were created in 1980, Flemish politicians decided to merge both; thus in the Flemish Region a single institutional body of parliament and government is empowered for all except federal and specific municipal matters. Flemish (Vlaams in Dutch) is a popular informal term to refer to Belgian Dutch ( Belgisch-Nederlands in Dutch Dutch as spoken in Belgium 
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. The Walloon Region, commonly called Wallonia, is one of the three Regions of Belgium.
Conflicts between the bodies are resolved by the Constitutional Court of Belgium. The Constitutional Court of Belgium (Grondwettelijk Hof Cour constitutionelle Verfassungsgerichtshof plays a central role within the federal Belgian state The structure is intended as a compromise to allow different cultures to live together peacefully. 
The Federal State retains a considerable "common heritage". Political federalism is a Political philosophy in which a group of members are bound together (Latin foedus, covenant) with a governing This includes justice, defence, federal police, social security, nuclear energy, monetary policy and public debt, and other aspects of public finances. State-owned companies include the Post Office and Belgian Railways. Belgium has an extensive Railroad network On May 5, 1835 the first railway in Continental Europe The Federal Government is responsible for the obligations of Belgium and its federalized institutions towards the European Union and NATO. The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in The North Atlantic Treaty It controls substantial parts of public health, home affairs and foreign affairs. 
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, etc. ). 
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. 
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. 
Belgium shares borders with France (620 km), Germany (167 km), Luxembourg (148 km) and the Netherlands (450 km). Belgium is located in Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands. This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Luxembourg (Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small Landlocked country in Western Europe, bordered by The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands Its total area, including surface water area, is 33,990 square kilometres; land area alone is 30,528 km². Square Kilometre ( US spelling square kilometer) symbol km2, is a decimal multiple of the SI unit of Belgium has three main geographical regions: the coastal plain in the north-west and the central plateau both belong to the Anglo-Belgian Basin; the Ardennes uplands in the south-east are part of the Hercynian orogenic belt. For the political subdivision of France see Ardennes (department. The Variscan (or Hercynian) orogeny is a geologic mountain-building event caused by Late Paleozoic Continental collision between Laurasia The Paris Basin reaches a small fourth area at Belgium's southernmost tip, Belgian Lorraine. The Paris Basin is one of the major geological regions of France having developed since the Triassic on a basement formed by the Variscan orogeny. Gaume is a region in the far south of Belgium. Situated at a lower altitude than the Ardennes, it is delineated by borders with France, Luxembourg 
The coastal plain consists mainly of sand dunes and polders. A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments known as dikes, that forms an artificial hydrological entity meaning it has no connection with Further inland lies a smooth, slowly rising landscape irrigated by numerous waterways, with fertile valleys and the northeastern sandy plain of the Campine (Kempen). Campine (Dutch Kempen) is a region which once consisted mainly of Moor or Swamp, heath and sandy Peat. The thickly forested hills and plateaus of the Ardennes are more rugged and rocky with caves and small gorges, and offer much of Belgium's wildlife but little agricultural capability. For the political subdivision of France see Ardennes (department. For the song see CANYONMID. For the band see Canyon (band. A canyon (rarely cañon) or gorge 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 694 metres (2,277 ft). The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germany. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia and northwestern Rhineland-Palatinate The High Fens are an upland area in the province of Liège, in Belgium and nearby parts of Germany, between the Ardennes and the Eifel The Signal de Botrange is the highest point in Belgium, located in the High Fens ( Hautes Fagnes in French) at. A foot (plural feet or foot; symbol or abbreviation ft or sometimes &prime – the prime symbol) is a non-SI unit 
The climate is maritime temperate, with significant precipitation in all seasons (Köppen climate classification: Cfb). An oceanic climate (also called marine west coast climate and maritime climate) is the Climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems It was developed by Wladimir Köppen, a German climatologist The average temperature is lowest in January at 3 °C (37 °F), and highest in July at 18 °C (64 °F). The Celsius Temperature scale was previously known as the centigrade scale. Fahrenheit is a temperature scale named after Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736 a German Physicist who proposed it in 1724 The average precipitation per month varies between 54 millimetres (2. 1 in) in February or April, to 78 millimetres (3. Inches redirects here To see the Les Savy Fav album see Inches. 1 in) in July.  Averages for the years 2000 to 2006 show daily temperature minimums of 7 °C (45 °F) and maximums of 14 °C (57 °F), and monthly rainfall of 74 millimetres (2. 9 in); these are about 1 degree Celsius and nearly 10 millimetres above last century's normal values, respectively. Inches redirects here To see the Les Savy Fav album see Inches. The Celsius Temperature scale was previously known as the centigrade scale. 
Phytogeographically, Belgium is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. Phytogeography, also called geobotany is the branch of Biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of Plant Species, or more generally Vaccinium vitis-idaea 20060824 003jpg|thumb|right| Vaccinium vitis-idaea ]]Alnus-viridis Rhododendron-palustreJPG|thumb|right| Rhododendron tomentosum ]]The Boreal Kingdom or Holarctic Kingdom ( Holarctis) is a Floristic kingdom  According to the WWF, the territory of Belgium belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests. An ecoregion ( ecological region) sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area smaller than a "realm" or " 
Because of its high population density, location in the centre of Western Europe, and inadequate political effort, Belgium faces serious environmental problems. Population density (in agriculture standing stock and Standing crop) is a measurement of Population per unit area or unit volume The environment of Belgium is affected by the high population density in most of the country A 2003 report suggested Belgian rivers to have the lowest water quality of the 122 countries studied.  In the 2006 pilot Environmental Performance Index, Belgium scored 75. The Environmental Performance Index (EPI is a method of quantifying and numerically benchmarking the environmental performance of a country's policies 9% for overall environmental performance and was ranked lowest of the EU member countries , though it was only 39th of 133 countries. 
Belgium's economy and its transportation infrastructure are integrated with the rest of Europe. Belgium belongs to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD and is one of the founding members of the European Community The Meuse (in Dutch and in German: "Maas" in Latin: "Mosa" in Celtic:"Mus" (the rootword presumingly Seraing is a Walloon Municipality of Belgium in Province of Liege. Liège (ljɛːʒ Older English: Luick, Walloon: Lidje, German: Lüttich; Latin: Leodium, Dutch This article is about transportation in Belgium. Railways Main article: Rail transport in Belgium Total of 3536 kilometres (2563 km Its location at the heart of a highly industrialized region helps make it one of the world's ten largest trading nations. The economy is characterized by a highly productive work force, high GNP, and high exports per capita. Per capita is a Latin phrase meaning for each head with Per meaning 'through' or 'by'  Belgium's main imports are food products, machinery, rough diamonds, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, clothing and accessories, and textiles. Its main exports are automobiles, food products, iron and steel, finished diamonds, textiles, plastics, petroleum products, and nonferrous metals. The Belgian economy is heavily service-oriented and shows a dual nature: a dynamic Flemish economy, with Brussels as its main multilingual and multi-ethnic centre, and a Walloon economy that lags behind. Flanders (Vlaanderen Flandre Flandern is a geographical region located in parts of present day Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Brussels (Bruxelles pronounced; Brussel pronounced) officially the Brussels Capital-Region, is Wallonia, or Wallonie, (Wallonie Wallonien Wallonië Waloneye is the Meridional part of Belgium belonging to the Romance linguistic field  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. An open economy is an Economy in which people, including Businesses can trade in goods and services with other people and businesses In 1999, Belgium adopted the Euro, the single European currency, which fully replaced the Belgian franc in 2002. Please update other articles as well to avoid contradiction within Wikipedia e The franc ( Dutch: frank - French: franc - German: Franken) was the currency of Belgium until 2002 when the Since 1922, Belgium and Luxembourg have been a single trade market within a customs and currency union: the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union. Luxembourg (Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small Landlocked country in Western Europe, bordered by A customs union is a Free trade area with a Common external tariff. In economics a monetary union is a situation where several countries have agreed to share a single currency (also known as a unitary or common currency The Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (Belgisch-Luxemburgse Economische Unie Union économique belgo-luxembourgeoise, Belsch-Lëtzebuerger Wirtschaftsunioun abbreviated to
Belgium was the first continental European country to undergo the Industrial Revolution, in the early 1800s. The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture manufacturing and transportation had a profound effect on the  Liège and Charleroi rapidly developed mining and steelmaking, which flourished until the mid-20th century in the Sambre-Meuse valley, the sillon industriel. Liège (ljɛːʒ Older English: Luick, Walloon: Lidje, German: Lüttich; Latin: Leodium, Dutch Charleroi (Tchålerwè is the largest city and municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. The Sambre is a River in northern France and southern Belgium, left tributary of the Meuse River. The Meuse (in Dutch and in German: "Maas" in Latin: "Mosa" in Celtic:"Mus" (the rootword presumingly The Wallonian sillon industriel or dorsale wallonne ( French for industrial valley or Wallonian backbone, respectively was an area However, by the 1840s the textile industry of Flanders was in severe crisis and the region experienced famine from 1846–50. Flanders (Vlaanderen Flandre Flandern is a geographical region located in parts of present day Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.
After World War II, Ghent and Antwerp experienced a rapid expansion of the chemical and petroleum industries. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including Ghent (ˈɡɛnt Gent ʝɛnt in Dutch, Gand in French, and formerly Gaunt in English) is a City and a ||-||-||-||} Antwerp ( Dutch:, French: Anvers) is a City and Municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Petroleum ( L petroleum, from Greek πετρέλαιον, lit 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 serious decline. The 1973 oil crisis began on October 17 1973 when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC consisting of the Arab members of The 1979 (or second) oil crisis in the United States occurred in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Wallonia, or Wallonie, (Wallonie Wallonien Wallonië Waloneye is the Meridional part of Belgium belonging to the Romance linguistic field Steel is an Alloy consisting mostly of Iron, with a Carbon content between 0  In the 1980s and 90s, the economic centre of the country continued to shift northwards and is now concentrated in the populous Flemish Diamond area. The Flemish Diamond (in Dutch: Vlaamse Ruit) is a name of an area consisting of the central provinces of Flanders, Belgium. 
By the end of the 1980s, Belgian macroeconomic policies had resulted in a cumulative government debt of about 120% of GDP. Macroeconomics is a branch of Economics that deals with the performance structure and behavior of a national or regional Economy as a whole As of 2006, the budget was balanced and public debt was equal to 90. 30% of GDP.  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. 
In Belgium, the euro was introduced in 2002. Belgian euro coins feature only a single design for all eight coins the portrait or Effigy of King Albert II of the Belgians and his royal Monogram. Euro gold and silver commemorative coins are special Euro coins minted and issued by member states of the Eurozone, mainly in Gold and However, the first sets of coins were minted, as preparation, in 1999. Hence the first euro coins of Belgium have minted the year 1999 instead of 2002 like other countries in the eurozone. In order to conform to the common guidelines on the design of national faces of coins, Belgium has updated the design of the Belgian national face of euro coins to be produced from 2008; also adopted the new common map like the rest of the eurozone countries.
Belgium has a rich collection of collectors' coins, with face value ranging from 10 to 100 euro. These coins are a legacy of an old national practice of minting of silver and gold commemorative coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender in all the eurozone. For instance, a €10 Belgian commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country.
While all Belgian coins designated for circulation show the portrait of King Albert II, this does not happen for commemorative coins, where designs are freely chosen.
At the start of 2007 nearly 92% of the Belgian population were national citizens, and around 6% were citizens from other European Union member countries. Belgium has a population of about 10666866 citizens as of January 2008 The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in The prevalent foreign nationals were Italian (171,918), French (125,061), Dutch (116,970), Moroccan (80,579), Spanish (42,765), Turkish (39,419), and German (37,621). The' Italian people' are a Southern European Ethnic group located primarily in Italy, Switzerland, France and by virtue of a wide-ranging Legal residents and citizens To be French according to the first article of the Constitution is to be a citizen of France regardless of one's origin race or religion ( The Dutch people ( Dutch:) are the dominant Ethnic group of the Netherlands. Morocco (المغرب "al-Maghrib" officially the Kingdom of Morocco (المملكة المغربية is a country located in North Africa The Turkish people (Türk Halkı also known as " Turks " ( Türkler) are defined mainly as being speakers of Turkish as a First language The German people (Deutsche are an Ethnic group, in the sense of sharing a common German culture, descent and speaking the German language as  
Almost all of the Belgian population is urban — 97% in 2004.  The population density of Belgium is 342 per square kilometre (886 per square mile) — one of the highest in Europe, after that of the Netherlands and some microstates such as Monaco. For other uses see Monaco (disambiguation Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco ( French: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque The most densely inhabited area is the Flemish Diamond, outlined by the Antwerp-Leuven-Brussels-Ghent agglomerations. The Flemish Diamond (in Dutch: Vlaamse Ruit) is a name of an area consisting of the central provinces of Flanders, Belgium. ||-||-||-||} Antwerp ( Dutch:, French: Anvers) is a City and Municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Leuven ( French: Louvain, often used in English German: Löwen) is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Brussels (Bruxelles pronounced; Brussel pronounced) officially the Brussels Capital-Region, is Ghent (ˈɡɛnt Gent ʝɛnt in Dutch, Gand in French, and formerly Gaunt in English) is a City and a The Ardennes have the lowest density. As of 2006, the Flemish Region had a population of about 6,078,600, with Antwerp (457,749), Ghent (230,951) and Bruges (117,251) its most populous cities; Wallonia had 3,413,978, with Charleroi (201,373), Liège (185,574) and Namur (107. The Flemish Region ( Dutch: Vlaams Gewest) is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium alongside the Walloon Region ||-||-||-||} Antwerp ( Dutch:, French: Anvers) is a City and Municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Bruges (Brugge is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. Charleroi (Tchålerwè is the largest city and municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. Liège (ljɛːʒ Older English: Luick, Walloon: Lidje, German: Lüttich; Latin: Leodium, Dutch Namur ( Namen in Dutch, Nameur in Walloon, Namurcum in Latin) is a City and municipality in 178) its most populous. Brussels houses 1,018,804 in the Capital Region's 19 municipalities, two of which have over 100,000 residents. Brussels (Bruxelles pronounced; Brussel pronounced) officially the Brussels Capital-Region, is Capital Region, also National Capital Region, is a common term for the region or district surrounding the Capital city a country or any other administrative division 
Both the Dutch spoken in Belgium and the Belgian French have minor differences in vocabulary and semantic nuances from the varieties spoken in the Netherlands and France. The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages which are in order from the greatest speaker population to the smallest Dutch (in a Belgian context often Belgian French (français de Belgique is the variety of French spoken mainly in the French Community of Belgium, alongside related minority Regional languages The vocabulary of a person is defined either as the set of all Words that are understood by that person or the set of all words likely to be used by that person when constructing Semantics is the study of meaning in communication The word derives from Greek σημαντικός ( semantikos) "significant" from The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Many Flemish people still speak dialects of Dutch in their local environment. Flemish (Vlaams in Dutch) is a popular informal term to refer to Belgian Dutch ( Belgisch-Nederlands in Dutch Dutch as spoken in Belgium A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος dialektos) is a variety of a Language that is characteristic of a particular group of Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname Walloon, once the main regional language of Wallonia, is now only understood and spoken occasionally, mostly by elderly people. Walloon ( Walon) is a Romance language spoken as a second language by some in Wallonia, Belgium. A regional language is a Language spoken in an area of a Nation state, whether it be a small area a federal State or Province, or Wallonia, or Wallonie, (Wallonie Wallonien Wallonië Waloneye is the Meridional part of Belgium belonging to the Romance linguistic field Its dialects, along with those of Picard, are not used in public life. A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος dialektos) is a variety of a Language that is characteristic of a particular group of Picard is a Language closely related to French, and as such is one of the larger group of Romance languages.
As no census exists, there are no official statistics on Belgium's three official languages or their dialects. A census is the procedure of acquiring information about every member of a given population A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος dialektos) is a variety of a Language that is characteristic of a particular group of Various criteria, including the language(s) of parents, of education, or the second-language status of foreign born, may affect suggested figures. An estimated 59% of the Belgian population speaks Dutch (often referred to as Flemish), and French is spoken by 40%. Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people Total Dutch speakers are 6. 23 million, concentrated in the northern Flanders region, while French speakers comprise 3. The Flemish Region ( Dutch: Vlaams Gewest) is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium alongside the Walloon Region 32 million in Wallonia and an estimated 0. The Walloon Region, commonly called Wallonia, is one of the three Regions of Belgium. 87 million or 85% of the officially bilingual Brussels-Capital Region.  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. The German-speaking Community of Belgium (Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens DGB) is one of the three federal communities in Belgium. The Walloon Region, commonly called Wallonia, is one of the three Regions of Belgium. The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. Roughly 23,000 more of German speakers live in municipalities near the official Community. 
The Capital Region having bilingual status obliges its authorities to attend to people and organisations in French or Dutch language as these prefer, and to show street names in both languages on the plates, but does not allow a bilingual school as education belongs to either the French Community or the Flemish one. Geographically, it is an enclave in the Flemish Region though near Wallonia. Constitutionally, it is a politically distinct Region, while within its boundaries both the Flemish and French Communities exercise their authority. Until the end of the 19th century the majority of the Capital Regions inhabitants spoke local Brabantian dialects of the Dutch language. Standardization The first attempts on standardizing the Dutch language in the 1540s were based on the Brabantian dialect specifically that of Antwerp and its surroundings Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname However a large-scale francization of Brussels started in 1880 as more and more Dutch-speaking people became bilingual, resulting in a rise of monolingual French-speakers after 1910. Halfway through the 20th century the number of monolingual French-speakers carried the day over bilingual people.  Today Dutch is spoken by approximately 150,000 residents of the Brussels-Capital Region, or a 15% minority.  Recent immigration has brought its population of foreign origin to 56%. The two largest foreign groups come from two francophone countries: France and Morocco. La Francophonie is an international organisation of French-speaking countries and governments and in French, the community of French-speaking peoples This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Morocco (المغرب "al-Maghrib" officially the Kingdom of Morocco (المملكة المغربية is a country located in North Africa  The first language of roughly half of the inhabitants is not an official one of the Capital Region. Nevertheless, about three out of four residents have the Belgian nationality.  In general the population of Brussels is younger and the gap between rich and poor is wider. Brussels also has a large concentration of Muslims, mostly of Turkish and Moroccan ancestry, and mainly French-speaking black Africans. Since Belgium does not collect statistics by ethnic background, exact figures are unknown.
In 2006, the Université Catholique de Louvain, the country's largest French-speaking university, published a report with the introduction (here translated): "This issue of Regards économiques is devoted to the demand for knowledge of languages in Belgium and in its three regions (Brussels, Flanders, Wallonia). The Université catholique de Louvain, sometimes known as UCL, is Belgium 's largest French -speaking University, and a successor institution The surveys show that Flanders is clearly more multilingual, which is without doubt a well known fact, but the difference is considerable : whereas 59% and 53% of the Flemings know French or English respectively, only 19% and 17% of the Walloons know Dutch or English. The measures advocated by the Marshall Plan go towards the proper direction, but are without doubt very insufficient to fully overcome the lag. " (This particular 2006–2009 'Marshall Plan' was devised in 2004 and published in 2005 to uplift the Walloon economy. ) Within the report, professors in economics Ginsburgh and Weber further show that of the Brussels' residents, 95% declared they can speak French, 59% Dutch, and 41% know the non-local English. Victor Alexandre Ginsburgh (born 1939 in Rwanda) is a Belgian Economist of Austrian origin Shlomo Weber was born on 1949-02-09 in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Moscow, where he held a degree of Master of Science Economically significant for a further globalizing future, among people under the age of forty, in Flanders 59%, in Wallonia 10%, and in Brussels 28% can speak all three forementioned languages. In each region, Belgium's third official language, German, is notably less known than those. 
Education is compulsory from six to eighteen for Belgians, but many continue to study until about 23 years of age. Education in Belgium is regulated and for the larger part financed by one of the three communities. Among OECD countries in 2002, Belgium had the third-highest proportion of 18–21-year-olds enrolled in postsecondary education, at 42%. Higher education is Education that is provided by universities, vocational universities, Community colleges Liberal arts colleges  Though an estimated 98% of the adult population is literate, concern is rising over functional illiteracy. traditional definition of literacy is considered to be the ability to read and write or the ability to use Language to read, write, listen, Functional illiteracy refers to the inability of an individual to use reading, Writing, and Computational skills efficiently in everyday life situations  The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Belgium's education as the 19th best in the world, being significantly higher than the OECD average. 
Highly politicized conflicts between freethought and Catholic segments of the population during the 1950s caused a split in educational organization. A secular branch of schooling is controlled by the Community, the province, or the municipality, while religious, mainly Catholic branch education, is organized by religious authorities, although subsidized and supervised by the Community. This article is about Catholic schools in general for specific schools named Catholic High School, see Catholic High School (disambiguation. In Economics, a subsidy (also known as a subvention is a form of financial assistance paid to a business or economic sector 
Since the country's independence, Roman Catholicism, counterbalanced by strong freethought movements, has had an important role in Belgium's politics. A 2006 inquiry in Flanders, long considered more religious than the Brussels or Wallonia regions in Belgium, showed 55% of its inhabitants calling Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that Beliefs should be formed on the basis of Science and Logic and should not be influenced  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. Secularity ( adjective form secular) is the state of being separate from Religion. Laïcité (laisiˈte is the French concept of a Secular society, connoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs The Constitution of Belgium dates back to 1831 Since then Belgium has been a Parliamentary monarchy that applies the principles of Ministerial Nevertheless, the monarchy has a reputation of deeply-rooted Catholicism. In 1990, for instance, as a King constitutionally obliged to sign a law legalizing abortion after it had been passed by both chambers, Baudouin asked the then Christian-Democrat Prime Minister Wilfried Martens to find a way out, causing the Parliament to declare him 'temporarily unfit to reign', with his consent. Baudouin I (Baudouin Albert Charles Léopold Axel Marie Gustave or Dutch: Boudewijn Albert Karel Leopold Axel Marie Gustaaf ( 7 September 1930 – ( ˈʋeɫfɾit ˈmɑɾtəns (born Wilfried Achiel Emma Martens, 19 April 1936 is a Belgian Politician.  On the yearly national holiday, the King and Queen and other members of the royal family officially attend Te Deum celebrations. 
Symbolically and materially, the Roman Catholic Church remains in a favourable position. Belgium's concept of 'recognized religions' set a path for Islam to follow to acquire the treatment of Jewish and Protestant religions. For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. PLEASE TAKE NOTE************ Protestantism refers to the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated in the 16th century Protestant Reformation. While other minority religions, such as Hinduism, do not yet have such status, Buddhism took the first steps toward legal recognition in 2007. Hinduism is a religious tradition that originated in the Indian subcontinent. Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices  According to the 2001 Survey and Study of Religion, about 47% of the population identify themselves as belonging to the Catholic Church, while Islam is the second-largest religion at 3. 5%. 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 world. 
According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 43% of Belgian citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 29% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 27% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force". Eurobarometer is a series of surveys regularly performed on behalf of the European Commission since 1973
There is also a tiny Hindu and Sikh population. A Hindu ( Devanagari: हिन्दू is an adherent of the philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, a set of religious, Philosophical Sikh (English or; ਸਿੱਖ sikkh, IPA) is the title and name given to an adherent of Sikhism. While there are around 8,000 Hindus mostly near Antwerp, most Sikhs (around 10,000) are either in Vilvoorde or Sint-Truiden (see Sikhism in Belgium). ||-||-||-||} Antwerp ( Dutch:, French: Anvers) is a City and Municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Sikh (English or; ਸਿੱਖ sikkh, IPA) is the title and name given to an adherent of Sikhism. Vilvoorde ( Vilvorde in French) is a Belgian municipality in the Flemish province Flemish Brabant. Sint-Truiden (Saint-Trond is a City and municipality located in the province of Limburg, Flemish Region, Belgium, Sikhism is a minority religion in Belgium. That said Sikhs play some role in Belgian history
Contributions to the development of science and technology have appeared throughout the country's history. The sixteenth century Early Modern flourishing of Western Europe included cartographer Gerardus Mercator, anatomist Andreas Vesalius, herbalist Rembert Dodoens, and mathematician Simon Stevin among the most influential scientists. The early modern period is a term initially used by historians to refer mainly to the period roughly from 1500 to 1800 in Western Europe ( Early modern Europe) A separate article is about the mathematician Nicholas Mercator. Anatomy (from the Greek anatomia, from ana separate apart from and temnein, to cut up cut open is a branch of Biology that is the consideration Andreas Vesalius ( Brussels, December 31, 1514 - Zakynthos, October 15, 1564) was an anatomist, Physician An herbalist is A person whose life is dedicated to the economic or medicinal uses of plants Rembert Dodoens ( Mechelen June 29, 1517 &ndash Leyden March 10, 1585) was a Flemish Physician and Mathematics is the body of Knowledge and Academic discipline that studies such concepts as Quantity, Structure, Space and Simon Stevin (1548/49 &ndash 1620 was a Flemish Mathematician and Engineer. In the first half of the seventeenth century, the Walloon method of making bar iron found its way to Sweden where it remained in use for more than two hundred and sixty years. QtubIronPillarJPG|thumb|right| Iron pillar at Delhi India containing 98% wrought iron]] Wrought iron is commercially pure Iron. "Sverige" redirects here For other uses see Sweden (disambiguation and Sverige (disambiguation.
The quickly developed and dense Belgian railroad system caused major companies like La Brugeoise et Nivelles (now the BN division of Bombardier Transportation) to develop specific technologies, and the economically important very deep coal mining in the course of the First Industrial Revolution has required highly reputed specialized studies for mine engineers. La Brugeoise et Nivelles SA (abbrev BN) is a former manufacturer of Railway Locomotives and other rolling stock in Bruges and Nivelles Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Bombardier group Large-scale coal mining developed during the Industrial Revolution, and coal provided the main source of Primary energy The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture manufacturing and transportation had a profound effect on the Mining engineering is an Engineering discipline that involves the practice the theory the science the technology and application of extracting and processing Minerals
The end of the nineteenth century and the twentieth saw important Belgian advances in applied and pure science. For the song by 311, see Grassroots. Applied science is the application of knowledge from one or more natural scientific Fundamental science is the part of Science that describes the most basic Objects Forces relations between them and laws governing them such that all other The chemist Ernest Solvay and the engineer Zenobe Gramme (École Industrielle de Liege) gave their names to the Solvay process and the Gramme dynamo, respectively, in the 1860s. Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay ( 16 April 1838 - 26 May 1922) was a Belgian Chemist, Industrialist and Philanthropist Zénobe Théophile Gramme ( April 4, 1826 - January 20, 1901) was a Belgian Electrical engineer. The Solvay process, also referred to as the ammonia-soda process is the major industrial process for the production of Soda ash ( Sodium carbonate A Gramme machine, Gramme ring, or Gramme dynamo is a type of dynamo, an Electrical generator which produces Direct current, named Georges Lemaître (Université Catholique de Louvain) is credited with proposing the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe in 1927. Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître ( July 17, 1894 &ndash June 20, 1966) was a Belgian Roman Catholic Priest The Big Bang is the cosmological model of the Universe that is best supported by all lines of scientific evidence and Observation. Three Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine were awarded to Belgians: Jules Bordet (Université Libre de Bruxelles) in 1919, Corneille Heymans (Universiteit Gent) in 1938, and Albert Claude (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Christian De Duve (Université Catholique de Louvain) in 1974. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Nobelpriset i fysiologi eller medicin is awarded once a year by the Swedish Karolinska Institute. Jules Jean Baptiste Vincent Bordet ( Soignies ( Belgium) 13 June, 1870 &ndash 6 April, 1961) was a Belgian The Université Libre de Bruxelles (or ULB) is a French -speaking University in Brussels Corneille Jean François Heymans ( March 28 1892, Ghent Belgium &ndash July 18 1968, Knokke, Belgium) was a Albert Claude ( August 24 1899 &ndash May 22 1983) was a Belgian Biologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Christian René de Duve (born October 2, 1917) is an internationally acclaimed Cytologist and Biochemist. Ilya Prigogine (Université Libre de Bruxelles) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977. Ilya Viscount Prigogine (Илья́ Рома́нович Приго́жин ( January 25, 1917 &ndash May 28, 2003) was a Russian The Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Nobelpriset i kemi is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of Chemistry. 
Belgian cultural life is concentrated within each language community, and a variety of barriers have made a shared cultural sphere less pronounced. A discussion of Belgian culture requires discussing both those aspects of Cultural life shared by 'all' or most of the Belgians, regardless of what language they speak There has been since the 1970s no bilingual universities except the Royal Military Academy, no common media, and no single large cultural or scientific organization in which both main communities are represented. The Royal Military Academy (RMA is the military University of Belgium. Despite its political and linguistic divisions that have been strongly changing during the centuries, 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.
Contributions to painting and architecture have been especially rich. The Mosan art, the Early Netherlandish, the Flemish Renaissance and Baroque painting, and major examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture are milestones in the history of art. Mosan art or Rheno-Mosan art is a regional style of Romanesque art from the valleys of the Meuse and Rhine, in present-day Belgium Early Netherlandish painting is the work of those painters who were active in the Low Countries during the 15th and early 16th century Northern renaissance Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting represents the sixteenth-century response to Italian Renaissance art in the Low Countries. Baroque painting is the Painting associated with the Baroque Cultural movement, a movement often identified with the existence of important Baroque Regional characteristics of Romanesque architecture|Romanesque art Romanesque architecture is the term that is used to describe the architecture of Middle Ages Europe which See also Gothic art Gothic architecture is a style of Architecture which flourished during the high and late medieval period. Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe in which there was a Baroque architecture, starting in the early 17th century in Italy, took the humanist Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical Famous names in this classic tradition include the Flemish artists Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and, Pieter Brueghel the Elder as well as Lambert Lombard and Theodore de Bry from Liège. Jan van Eyck or Johannes de Eyck (jɑn vɑn ɛik (before c 1395 &ndash before July 9, 1441) was an Early Netherlandish painter active Rogier van der Weyden, also known as Rogier de le Pasture (1399/1400 &ndash June 18, 1464) is with Jan van Eyck, considered one of the Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c 1525 &ndash September 9, 1569) was a Netherlandish Renaissance Lambert Lombard ( Liège, 1505 &ndash 1566 was a Renaissance painter architect and theorist for the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. Theodorus de Bry (1528 – 1598 was a Engraver, Goldsmith and editor who travelled around Europe starting from the City of Liège (where he The historical artistic production of the Flemish before the early seventeenth century Baroque style of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck is often not distinguished from that of the Dutch nor of the Walloons. Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century Flemish Baroque painting is the art produced in the Southern Netherlands between about 1585 when the Dutch Republic was split from the Habsburg Spain In the southern Netherlands it gradually declined thereafter, although high quality tapestry continued to be created until well into the eighteenth century. Tapestry is a form of Textile art. It is woven by hand on a vertical Loom. 
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries many original romantic, expressionist and surrealist Belgian painters emerged, including Egide Wappers, James Ensor, Constant Permeke and René Magritte. Romanticism is a complex artistic literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Western Europe, and gained strength during the Expressionism is the tendency of an artist to distort reality for an Emotional effect it is a subjective art form Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early-1920s and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members Egide Charles Gustave Baron Wappers ( 23 August 1803 - 6 December 1874) was a well-known Belgian painter. James Sidney Edouard Baron Ensor ( April 13, 1860 - November 19 1949) was a Belgian painter and Printmaker Constant Permeke ( July 31, 1886 &ndash January 4, 1952) was a Belgian painter and sculptor who is considered the leading figure René François Ghislain Magritte ( 21 November 1898 - 15 August 1967) was a Belgian Surrealist artist The avant-garde CoBrA movement appeared in the 1950s, while the sculptor Panamarenko remains a remarkable figure in contemporary art. COBRA (or CoBrA) was a European Avant-garde movement active from 1949 to 1952. Panamarenko (pseudonym of Henri Van Herwegen, born in Antwerp, February 5, 1940) is a prominent assemblagist in Flemish  The multidisciplinary artist Jan Fabre and the painter Luc Tuymans are other internationally renowned figures on the contemporary art scene. Jan Fabre (born 1958 Antwerp Belgium) is a Belgian multidisciplinary Artist, Playwright, Stage director, Choreographer Luc Tuymans (born 1958 is a Belgian Contemporary artist considered one of today's most influential painters Belgian contributions to architecture also continued into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the work of Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde, who were major initiators of the Art Nouveau style. Victor Baron Horta ( January 6 1861 - September 9 1947) was a Belgian Architect and designer Henry Van de Velde ( 3 April 1863 &ndash 25 October 1957) was a Belgian painter architect and interior designer Art Nouveau ( nu vo anglicised /ˈɑːt nuːvəu/ ( French for 'new art' also known as Jugendstil ( German for 'youth style' is an international 
The vocal music of the Franco-Flemish School developed in the southern part of the Low Countries and was an important contribution to Renaissance culture. Vocal music is Music performed by one or more Singers with or without non-vocal instrumental accompaniment In Music, the Franco-Flemish School refers somewhat imprecisely to the style of polyphonic Vocal music composition in Europe in the 15th  The nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed the appearance of major violinists, such as Henri Vieuxtemps, Eugène Ysaÿe and Arthur Grumiaux, while Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in 1846. Henri François Joseph Vieuxtemps ( February 17, 1820 &ndash June 6, 1881) was a Belgian Composer and violinist Eugène Ysaÿe ( July 16 1858 &ndash May 12 1931) was a Belgian Violinist, Composer and conductor Arthur Grumiaux ( March 21, 1921 &ndash October 16, 1986) was a Belgian Violinist who was also proficient in Piano. Antoine-Joseph 'Adolphe' Sax (November 6 1814 &ndash February 4 1894 was a Belgian Musical instrument designer and Musician ( Clarinetist The saxophone (commonly referred to simply as sax) is a conical- bored transposing Musical instrument considered a member of the Woodwind The composer César Franck was born in Liège in 1822. César Franck (December 10 1822 – November 8 1890 a Composer, Organist and music teacher of Belgian and German origin who lived in France Liège (ljɛːʒ Older English: Luick, Walloon: Lidje, German: Lüttich; Latin: Leodium, Dutch Belgium has also produced music of contemporary note. Belgium is a cultural crossroads where Flemish Dutch -speaking and Walloon French -speaking inhabitants mix with German minorities The first Belgian singer to successfully pursue an international career is Bobbejaan Schoepen, pioneer of varieté and pop music. Bobbejaan Schoepen ( Pseudonym of Modest Schoepen, 16 May 1925, Boom, Antwerp) is a Flemish pioneer in Belgian  Jazz musician Toots Thielemans has achieved global fame, as have the singers Jacques Brel and Italy-born Adamo. Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor Baron Thielemans (born Brussels, April 29 1922) known as Toots Thielemans, is a Belgian Jazz Jacques Romain Georges Brel (ʒak bʀɛl in French (8 April 1929 &ndash 9 October 1978 was a Belgian Singer-songwriter. Salvatore Knight Adamo, simply known as Adamo (born 1 November, 1943) is a Belgian composer and singer of Ballads, mainly in French  In rock/pop music, Telex, Front 242, K's Choice, Hooverphonic, Zap Mama, Soulwax and dEUS are well known. Front 242 is a pioneering Belgian Electronic music group that came into prominence during the 1980s K's Choice is a Belgian rock band from Antwerp, formed in the mid-1990s and touring as recently as 2006 Hooverphonic is a Belgian rock / pop group formed in 1995 Though early on categorized as a Trip hop group they quickly expanded their Zap Mama is a Belgian musical group founded and led by Marie Daulne. Soulwax, headed by David and Stephen Dewaele are an Alternative rock / electro band from Ghent, Belgium. Deus (stylized by the band as dEUS) is a rock band based in Antwerp, Belgium, currently consisting of Tom Barman (vocals and guitar 
Belgium has produced several well-known authors, including the poet Emile Verhaeren and novelists Hendrik Conscience, Georges Simenon, Suzanne Lilar and Amélie Nothomb. Because Belgium is a Bilingual country Belgian literature is divided into the two main languages spoken in the country - French and Dutch - Emile Verhaeren (21 May 1855 – 27 November 1916 was a Belgian poet who wrote in the French language, and one of the chief founders of the school of Henri "Hendrik" Conscience ( December 3, 1812 Antwerp - September 10, 1883 Antwerp) was a Flemish writer Georges Joseph Christian Simenon (ʒɔʀʒ simˈnɔ̃ in French ( February 13, 1903 &ndash September 4, 1989) was a Belgian writer Suzanne Baroness Lilar ( Née Suzanne Verbist (b Ghent, 21 May 1901 - d Amélie Nothomb (born August 13, 1967) is a Belgian Writer who writes in French. The poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1911. Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Count Maeterlinck ( August 29, 1862 - May 6, 1949) was a Belgian Poet, Playwright, The Nobel Prize in Literature (Nobelpriset i litteratur is awarded annually since 1901 to an author from any country who has in the words from the will of Alfred 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, Edgar P. Jacobs, and Willy Vandersteen brought the Belgian cartoon strip industry on a par with the U. The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin is a series of Comic strips created by Belgian artist Hergé, the pen name of Georges Remi Georges Prosper Remi ( May 22, 1907 - March 3, 1983) better known by the Pen name Hergé, was a Belgian Franco-Belgian comics are Comics that are created in Belgium and France. Pierre Culliford (25 June 1928 &ndash 24 December 1992 known as Peyo, was a Belgian comics artist perhaps best known for the creation of The Smurfs The Smurfs ( Les Schtroumpfs) are a fictional group of small Sky blue creatures who live in Smurf Village somewhere in the woods André Franquin ( January 3, 1924 &ndash January 5, 1997) was an influential Belgian Comics artist, whose best known Edgard Félix Pierre Jacobs, ( March 30, 1904 - February 20, 1987) better known under his Pen name Edgar P Willy Vandersteen (February 15 1913 - August 28 1990 was a Flemish creator of Comic books In a career spanning 50 years he created a large studio and published Belgian comics are a distinct subgroup in the comics history and played a major role in the development of European comics, alongside with France with who they share S. A. and Japan.
Belgian cinema, often influenced by the Dutch or French, has brought a number of mainly Flemish novels to life on-screen. The Cinema of Belgium can often be considered a blending of Dutch Cinema and French Cinema though with its own unique national qualities The Dutch film industry has long been renowned for its Documentaries. The cinema of France comprises the art of Film making within the nation of France or by French filmmakers abroad  The absence of a major Belgian cinema company, however, has forced several talented directors to emigrate, such as Carl Colpaert or participate in low-budget productions such as Marc Didden's Brussels by Night (1983). Marc Didden (born July 28 1949 in Hamont, Flanders) is a Belgian Film director.  Other Belgian directors include André Delvaux, Stijn Coninx, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne; well-known actors include Jan Decleir and Marie Gillain; and successful films include Man Bites Dog and The Alzheimer Affair. André Baron Delvaux was a Belgian Film director and widely regarded as the founder of the Belgian national cinema Stijn Baron Coninx (born February 21 1957 in Neerpelt, Belgium) is a Belgian film director best known for the movie Daens Jean-Pierre Dardenne (born April 21 1951 in Liège Belgium) and his younger brother Luc Dardenne (born March 10, 1954 Jean-Pierre Dardenne (born April 21 1951 in Liège Belgium) and his younger brother Luc Dardenne (born March 10, 1954 Jan Decleir (born February 14, 1946) is a prolific Flemish Movie and stage Actor born in Niel, Antwerp Marie Gillain is a Belgian Actress (born 18 June 1975 Liège, Belgium) Man Bites Dog is a satirical Belgian, Black comedy Mockumentary starring Benoît Poelvoorde. The Alzheimer Case (aka The Alzheimer Affair or The Memory of a Killer) ( Dutch title De Zaak Alzheimer  In the 1980s, Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts produced important fashion trendsetters, known as the Antwerp Six. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp ( Dutch: Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen) is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe The Antwerp Six refers to a group of influential avantgarde fashion designers graduating from Antwerp 's Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980-1981 
Folklore plays a major role in Belgium's cultural life: the country has a comparatively high number of processions, cavalcades, parades, 'ommegangs' and 'ducasses', 'kermesse', and other local festivals, nearly always with an originally religious background. The Gilles are the oldest and principal participants in the Carnival of Binche. Binche is a Walloon Municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. A procession (via Middle English processioun, French procession, derived from Latin processio, itself from procedere, to go forth advance A cavalcade is a Procession or Parade (of sorts on Horseback, or a mass Trail ride by a company of riders. A parade (also called march or marchpast) is a procession of people usually organized along a street often in Costume, and often accompanied by Fire Kermesse or kermis, is a Dutch language term derived from 'kerk' ( church) and 'mis' ( mass) that became borrowed in English and 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. The Carnival of Binche is an event that takes place each year in the Belgian town of Binche. The Gilles are the oldest and principal participants in the Carnival of Binche. Athe (Aat is a Belgian municipality located in the Walloon province of Hainaut. Brussels (Bruxelles pronounced; Brussel pronounced) officially the Brussels Capital-Region, is Dendermonde ( French: Termonde, German: Dendermünde) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish Mechelen ( Mechlin in English is a Dutch-speaking city and municipality in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. Mons ( Dutch: Bergen, Picard: Mont) is a Walloon City and municipality located in the Belgian United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established on November 16 The Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is a list maintained by UNESCO with pieces of Intangible culture considered relevant by that  Other examples are the Carnival of Aalst; the still very religious processions of the Holy Blood in Bruges, Virga Jesse in Hasselt, and Hanswijk in Mechelen; the August 15 festival in Liège; and the Walloon festival in Namur. Aalst can refer to Aalst Belgium, a city and municipality in Belgium Aalst (North Brabant, a village in the Netherlands in the province The Procession of the Holy Blood is a large religious Procession, dating back to the Middle Ages, which takes place each Ascension Day in Bruges Bruges (Brugge is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. ||-||-||} Hasselt is a Belgian City and municipality, and capital of the Flemish province of Limburg. A complete list of basilicas of the Roman Catholic Church outside Italy. Events 778 - The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, at which Roland is killed Liège (ljɛːʒ Older English: Luick, Walloon: Lidje, German: Lüttich; Latin: Leodium, Dutch Namur ( Namen in Dutch, Nameur in Walloon, Namurcum in Latin) is a City and municipality in Originated in 1832 and revived in the 1960s, the Gentse Feesten have become a modern tradition. The Gentse Feesten is a music and theatre festival in the city of Ghent ( Belgium) A major non-official holiday is the Saint Nicholas Day, a festivity for children and, in Liège, for students. Saint Nicholas (Άγιος Νικόλαος, Agios Nikolaos, "victory of the people" is the common name for Nicholas of Myra, a Christian Saint 
Football (soccer) and cycling are especially popular amongst Belgians. Football, a sport which has been played in Belgium since the end of the nineteenth century is that country's most popular Sport. Cycling is the use of Bicycles or - less commonly - Unicycles Tricycles Quadricycles and other similar wheeled Human powered vehicles Belgian keeper Jean-Marie Pfaff is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers (soccer) ever. Jean-Marie Pfaff (born December 4, 1953 in Lebbeke) is a Belgian former football Goalkeeper. Belgian Eddy Merckx is widely considered the greatest cyclist ever, given five victories of the Tour de France and numerous other bicycle races records; his hour speed record set in 1972 stood for twelve years. Edouard Louis Joseph Baron Merckx ('merks (born 17 June 1945 in Meensel-Kiezegem, Vlaams Brabant, Belgium) known as Eddy Merckx, is a former History See also:CategoryTour de France by year The dominant sports newspaper in France Belgium has produced two female tennis champions who repeatedly ranked number one of the world, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, and numerous other award-winning athletes. This is a list of WTA number 1 ranked players. That is players who have been or currently are ranked World Number 1 along with the dates of first reaching and losing that
The Spa-Francorchamps motor-racing circuit hosts the Formula One World Championship Belgian Grand Prix. The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix and the Spa 24 Hours endurance race The Belgian Grand Prix is an Automobile race, part of the Formula One World Championship The Belgian driver Jacky Ickx won eight Grands Prix and six 24 Hours of Le Mans, and twice finished as runner-up in the Formula One World Championship. Racing career Jacky Ickx was introduced to the sport when he was taken by his father motoring journalist Jacques Ickx, to races which he covered The 24 Hours of Le Mans ( 24 Heures du Mans) is a sports car endurance race held annually since near the town of Le Mans, Sarthe, Thierry Boutsen also won three races in 1989 and 1990. Thierry Marc Boutsen (born July 13 1957 in Brussels, Belgium) is a former Racing driver who raced for the Arrows, Belgium also has a strong reputation in motocross; world champions include Roger De Coster, Joël Robert, Georges Jobé, Eric Geboers, Joël Smets and Stefan Everts. Motocross is a form of Motorcycle sport or All-terrain vehicle racing held on enclosed Off road circuits Roger De Coster (born August 28, 1944 in Uccle) is a Belgian Motocross racer Joël Robert (Born November 26, 1943 in Chatelet, Belgium) is a legendary Belgian Motocross racer who won the 250cc Georges Jobé (born January 6, 1961) was a professional Motocross rider from Belgium who was crowned the FIM World Motocross Eric Geboers (born August 5, 1962 in Neerpelt, Limburg) was is a Motocross racer from Belgium. Joël Smets (born April 6, 1969 in Mol, Antwerp) is a former Motocross world champion from Belgium, who was Stefan Everts (born November 25, 1972 in Bree) is a Motocross racer from Belgium, who retired in 2006 after securing his record
The 1920 Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp, Belgium. The 1920 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VII Olympiad, were an International Multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1920
Belgium has played a major part in the promotion and development of Duathlon. Duathlon is an athletic event (not to be confused with Biathlon) that consists of a Running leg followed by a Cycling leg and then another More specifically Benny Vansteelant has made a lasting legacy conquering a stunning 8 World Champion titles and 5 European Champion titles. Benny Vansteelant ( November 19, 1976 &ndash September 14, 2007) was a Belgian duathlete.
Belgium is currently bidding with the Netherlands to host the 2018 World Cup. This article concerns the process for determining the site of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup.  Both countries previously hosted the UEFA European Football Championship in 2000. The UEFA European Football Championship is the main football competition of the men's national football teams governed by UEFA (the Union of European The 2000 UEFA European Football Championship, or Euro 2000, was the 11th UEFA European Football Championship, which is held every four years and organized by Belgium also hosted the European Football Championships in 1972. The 1972 UEFA European Football Championship final tournament was held in Belgium.
Belgium is well known for its cuisine. Belgium is the nation of Gourmands rather than Gourmets which translates into big Cuisine rather than fine cuisine.  Many highly ranked restaurants can be found in the high-impact gastronomic guides, such as the Michelin Guide. The Michelin Guide ( Le Guide Michelin) is a series of annual Guide books published by Michelin for over a dozen countries  Belgian food is, like the country itself, a mix of Germanic and Latin influences. Belgians have a reputation for loving waffles and French fries; contrary to the name of the latter, both dishes originated in Belgium. A waffle is a light batter cake cooked in a Waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape French fries ( North American English; sometimes not capitalized chips ( British English) fries or French-fried potatoes (formal The national dishes are steak-frites with salad, and moules-frites (mussels with frites). A steak (from Old Norse steik, "roast" is a slice of meat typically Beef. French fries ( North American English; sometimes not capitalized chips ( British English) fries or French-fried potatoes (formal Salad is a mixture of cold foods usually including vegetables and/or fruits often with a dressing occasionally nuts or Croutons, and sometimes with the addition of The common name mussel is used for members of several different families of Clams or Bivalve Molluscs, from both saltwater and freshwater habitats  A challenge for a television program caused no less than 307 different local or regional dishes to be presented on a 118-metre long table in Tivoli Park in Mechelen on 1 September 2007. Mechelen ( Mechlin in English is a Dutch-speaking city and municipality in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. Events 462 - Possible start of first Byzantine indiction cycle. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. 
Brands of Belgian chocolate and pralines, like Callebaut, Côte d'Or, Neuhaus, Leonidas, Guylian and Godiva, are world renowned and widely sold. Chocolate ( pronounced or /-ˈələt/ comprises a number of raw and processed foods that are produced from the seed of the tropical Cacao tree Praline is a family of Confections made from nuts and Sugar syrup. Callebaut was a Belgian company and a major producer of Chocolate for consumers and for professional Chocolatiers As of 1996 it is a part of Côte d'Or is a producer of Belgian Chocolate currently owned by Kraft Foods, the second largest food company in the world after Nestlé Neuhaus is a producer and retailer of Belgian Chocolates It was founded in Brussels in 1857 by Jean Neuhaus, a Swiss immigrant Leonidas Confisserie SA is a Chocolate producer based in Belgium, with an international presence Guylian is a Belgian Chocolate manufacturer formed by Guy Foubert in 1960. Godiva Chocolatier is a manufacturer of premium Chocolates and related products owned by Turkish company of Yildiz Holding S
Belgium produces over 500 varieties of beer. It is claimed that Belgian beer comprises the most diverse national collection of quality beer in the world and varies from the popular Pale lager to Lambic The biggest brewer in the world by volume is InBev based in Belgium. Brewing is the production of Alcoholic beverage and Alcohol fuel through fermentation. For the proposed merged company see Proposed merger of Anheuser-Busch and InBev. 
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