Belgium
Capital: Brussels
Area: 30 528 km²
Population: 11 035 948

Belgium

The northern neighbours of France are Belgium and Luxembourg. French is one of the different languages spoken in the two countries. Belgium is currently facing a bilingual problem, because the two main nations - Flemish and Walloons - are increasingly considering independence. On the other hand, the country is the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) headquarters in Europe.

Location

Belgium lies on the Atlantic coast. Most of the territory are lowlands and lower hills. In the East, on the border with Germany, lies the Ardennes mountain range. The climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, therefore the Maas and Scheldt Rivers are rich in water throughout the year.

Industry

The main square Grande Place in Brussels in summer The main square Grande Place in Brussels in summer

In the past, Belgium was involved in metallurgy and heavy engineering (for example weapons production), but after it stopped mining own mineral resources, these industries are no longer in the forefront. The electro-technical industry and consumer electronics stands out nowadays. Very well-known is the grinding of diamonds, production of quality chocolate, flowers and production of lace. In agriculture, livestock production is considerably larger than the country’s plant production.

Belgium never raised any significant wars on its own, but many battles took part on its territory. In 1815, one of the most well-known battles in the history took place near the city of Waterloo, about 20 km southeast of Brussels. The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte suffered a definitive defeat from Allied forces’ troops under the command of the English Duke of Wellington. Belgium was also hit by war conflicts during World War I and World War II. The city of Ypres is sadly known because of the year 1917 when in battles deadly poisonous nervous gas, yperite, was used. In December 1944, in the Ardennes, German troops attempted to counter-attack the Allied (US-British) troops advancing from the West. Many memorials of the war events can be found in Belgium.

Population

Flanders, which occupies the northern part of Belgium, is its wealthier region. The largest city in this area is the port of Antwerp - one of Europe's major ports. There are also well known old cities: Bruges and Ghent. Wallonia, in the south of the country, was mainly focused on heavy industry and after changes is more affected by economic issues. The largest city in the south of the state is Liége.

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The Atómium in Brussels shows the model of the iron atom and was built for the occasion of the World Expo 58 The Atómium in Brussels shows the model of the iron atom and was built for the occasion of the World Expo 58
What is Belgium known for? Headquarters of the European Union and NATO, chocolate and lace; Waterloo - the place of final defeat of Napoleon; cyclist Eddy Merckx; detective Hercule Poirot as a romantic character, Tintin as a comic hero; Les diables rouges is the Belgium National football team.
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The European Parliament Building in Brussels, Belgium The European Parliament Building in Brussels, Belgium