+32 is the dialing code for Belgium.
Little Belgium plays a major role internationally with both the EU and NATO headquarters located in Brussels. But the nation is plagued by contradictions between the Flemish and French-speaking parts of the country. The threat of a division of land makes the federal state difficult to control.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Belgium, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Belgium is located in Western Europe and has a coast of almost seven miles to the North Sea. On the surface, it is about the same size as Småland. The country consists of three distinct geographical areas, from the coast via a small hilly plain landscape in the middle parts to the wooded mountain area of the Ardennes in the southeast.
Along the coast, which faces south-east England, there are dunes and marshlands that have previously been the seabed. Some land areas are below the current sea level and are protected by embankments. Flooding is common in low-lying parts of Flanders, the northern half of the country (see further Political system). Inside the coast, a fertile plateau landscape rises and in the south-east reaches the Ardennes almost 700 meters above sea level.
One fifth of Belgium is covered by forest. The deciduous forest that originally grew in large parts of the country is now only found in the mountains, but even there it has to a large extent given way to implanted coniferous forest.
|Cultivated land||44.1 %|
|Land area||30528 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||0.76 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||97.9 %|
|Death rate||9.63 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||83.58 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||78.3 years|
|Birth rate||11.41 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||3.41 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||76090 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per resident||5020.3 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||million tons|
|Internet users||84.7 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||113 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||559 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||8.6% of the workforce|
|GDP||43600 per resident|
|Primary occupations||2 %|
|Secondary profession||25 %|
|Tertiary professions||73 %|
The rivers Schelde (Escaut in French) and Maas (Meuse) flow through the country from France in the south to the Netherlands in the north. At Schelde lies Antwerp, Europe’s second largest port, well protected close to nine miles from the sea. There are also tributaries and a large number of channels.
The proximity to the Atlantic characterizes the climate, which is humid with cool summers and mild winters. The abundant rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. The Brussels region receives an average of 850 millimeters of precipitation per year, while the Ardennes can get up to 1,400 millimeters.
FACTS – GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
30 528 km2 (2018)
Adjacent country (s)
The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France
Capital with number of residents
Brussels 1.2 million
Other major cities
Antwerp (523,000 inv), Ghent (235,000), Charleroi (213,000), Liège (203,000), Bruges (118,000), Namur (102,000) (estimated 2018)
Botrange (694 m asl)
Schelde / Escaut, Meuse / Meuse
Average Precipitation / month
Brussels 94 mm (July), 53 mm (March)
Average / day
17.5 °C (July), 2 °C (Jan)
Violence in Liège
Belgium is shocked when a lone perpetrator kills four people, including an infant. The perpetrator uses hand grenades and automatic weapons and then takes his own life.
New government takes office
After 18 months of government crisis, the French-speaking socialist Elio Di Rupo finally has a majority government. Six parties are part of the coalition, which consists of Christian democrats, liberals and socialists from both language groups. The two environmental parties that have previously participated are not included. Elio Di Rupo becomes Belgium’s first socialist prime minister in almost four decades.
Breakthrough in government formation
The political parties that negotiate government formation manage to reach agreement on a budget and after a few days there is a government program. The budget settlement comes the day after Belgium’s credit rating was lowered.
Reduced credit rating
The credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s changes Belgium’s credit rating from AA + to AA, in the first reduction in 13 years.
Still deadlock on the government issue
After the two Liberal parties rejected Elio Di Rupo’s budget proposal for 2012, he again asks to be released from his assignment. However, he is urged to continue.
Settlement on decentralization
Eight parties conclude a deal to give the regions more power, a reform that can help to form a new government. The Flemish nationalist party N-VA stands outside the settlement.
The government crisis is getting worse
When Prime Minister Yves Leterme announces that he is resigning to start a new job for the OECD in Paris, the situation becomes acute. The message gets King Albert to return home early from a vacation trip. The next day, Socialist leader Elio Di Rupo warns of collapse in government negotiations. But shortly thereafter, he states that a breakthrough has been reached: the eight parties now participating in the negotiations must have agreed on the distribution of power between the language areas at the municipal level.
Veil prohibition comes into force
The ban on comprehensive clothing begins to apply (see April 2010). Belgium becomes the second country in Europe with such a ban, after France where it entered into force earlier in the year.
No compromise on government
The Flemish separatists say no to a governmental proposal from the French-speaking socialists. This means that Belgium will be closer to a new election. Governor Elio Di Rupo asks to leave, but King Albert does not agree.
Government assignment again to the socialist leader
The leader of the French-speaking socialists Elio Di Rupo is again commissioned to form a government.
World record in time without government
When Belgium has been without government for 249 days, a record is reached among the countries of the world. Protesters call for a “french fries revolution” against politicians.
Protest against government failure
When Belgium has been without a regular government for 208 days, more than 30,000 people take part in a protest against politicians’ conflicts and demand that a government be formed.