What is Belgium: Definition and 12 Discussions

Belgium (Dutch: België [ˈbɛlɣijə] (listen); French: Belgique [bɛlʒik] (listen); German: Belgien [ˈbɛlɡi̯ən] (listen)), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,689 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376 per square kilometre (970/sq mi). The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven.
Belgium is a sovereign state and a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions: the Flemish Region (Flanders) in the north, the Walloon Region (Wallonia) in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita.
Belgium is home to two main linguistic communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 60 percent of the population, and the French-speaking Community, which constitutes about 40 percent of the population. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons. The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
The country as it exists today was established following the 1830 Belgian Revolution, when it seceded from the Netherlands, which had itself only existed since 1815. The name chosen for the new state is derived from the Latin word Belgium, used in Julius Caesar's "Gallic Wars", to describe a nearby region in the period around 55 BCE. Belgium is part of an area known as the Low Countries, historically a somewhat larger region than the Benelux group of states, as it also included parts of northern France. Since the Middle Ages, its central location near several major rivers has meant that the area has been relatively prosperous, connected commercially and politically to its bigger neighbours. Belgium has unfortunately also been the battleground of European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened in the 20th century by both world wars.
Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. Between 1888 and 1908, Leopold II, king of Belgium, perpetrated one of the largest massacres in human history in Congo Free State, his private estate (and not a colony of Belgium at that time) causing the deaths of an estimated five to fifteen million Congolese people, during the production of massive amounts of rubber and ivory.The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fuelled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased; there is significant separatism particularly among the Flemish; controversial language laws exist such as the municipalities with language facilities; and the formation of a coalition government took 18 months following the June 2010 federal election, a world record. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders, which boomed after the war.Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and its capital, Brussels, hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Council, as well as one of two seats of the European Parliament (the other being Strasbourg). Belgium is also a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO, and a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has very high standards of living, quality of life, healthcare, education, and is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index. It also ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world.

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  1. Kun-Kun

    What are the differences between a ChemE and a ChemE Technology?

    What are the differences between a degree in chemical engineering and a degree in chemical engineering technology. I think that the main difference is that someone who studied ChemE Technology has more knowledge in chemistry than someone with a ChemE degree. Salary wise, which one pays the best...
  2. R

    Can Art Enhance Scientific Understanding?

    I am a retired architect with a big interest in physics and cosmology. I am living in Flanders (Belgium) and stumbled into this forum via a link on Bloomberg News. My background is philosophycal and technical, I have no degree in physics but several grades in other disciplines. I firmly believe...
  3. Alexswash

    Schools HS Senior seeking advice for university studies :)

    Well hello there, My name is Alex, I'm a belgian high school student (currently going to start my senior year), and I'm 17. I love this forum, it helps me a lot when I need an info about physics, the physics major and the jobs associated with physics. I joined this forum because I myself...
  4. Alexswash

    Young Belgian HS Student :-)

    Well hello there, My name is Alex, I'm a belgian high school student (currently going to start my senior year), and I'm 17. I love this forum, it helps me a lot when I need an info about physics, the physics major and the jobs associated with physics. I joined this forum because I myself have a...
  5. A

    PhD in Belgium or Neatherlands

    I'm Masters student from Baltic states. I'm currently 23 years old. Studied 2 years of Chinese language and culture, minored also in finno-ugric languages. Then did my Bsc in physics in 2 years and now my fist year of Masters studies are over. My academic life has been quite successful one, this...
  6. Math Is Hard

    Music Sound of Music | Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)

    More than 200 dancers perform their version of "Do Re Mi", in the Central Station of Antwerp. With just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k&annotation_id=annotation_72265&feature=iv
  7. M

    Programming a Small Car Simulator in Belgium

    Hi, I'm trying to program a sort of small car simulator, but I have a problem. I managed to calculate the force on the car, acceleration, speed, air ressistance etc... My theory: We've got a car at a certain speed (v) and I calculate the RPM: rpm = ( v * gear-ratio * current gear ratio...
  8. marlon

    Photos of Ghent, Belgium - Van Eyck's Agnus Dei

    I live in Ghent, Belgium...Here are some pics... http://img180.imageshack.us/img180/3958/ghentil1.th.jpg The Three Towers of Ghent (in the last building, the Sint Baafs, the famous Van Eyck painting "The Agnus Dei" is kept. One part of that paiting was stolen in the early 1930ties)...
  9. B

    Belgium: PA textbooks not anti-Semitic

    I wish this report is enough to show the reality of the Zionist propaganda about Palestinian education system. Currently Belgian government fund partially the Palestinian education system, so they sent several experts to investigate about the Zionists claims. *****************...
  10. marlon

    PF meeting in Leuven, Belgium ?

    PF meeting in Leuven, Belgium ? http://www.imec.be/infos/ I will be attending this conference so if you are around, we might meet :) regards marlon
  11. G

    News Why are Belgium's liberals facing legal challenges and being declared illegal?

    In Belgium, how do the liberals, aka socialists, compete with their right leaning political foes? They don’t worry about it; they simply have their Supreme Court declare them illegal. Now the largest and fastest growing political party in Belgium has been declared illegal. Among its sins is...
  12. A

    Antibubbles in Beer from Belgium

    Physicists from Belgium have published a theory that explains the formation and movement of antibubbles. http://physics.about.com/cs/bubles/g/antibubble.htm : where bubbles are thin surface of fluid in air surrounding a pocket of air, an antibubble is a thin surface of air in fluid...