Belgium's three official languages are Dutch, spoken by 60 percent of the population, French, spoken by 40 percent, and German, spoken by less than one percent.
Belgium has a number of medium-size and small cities, centered on rows of terraced houses built among ancient churches and marketplaces.
Folklore plays a major role in Belgium's cultural life: the country has a comparatively high number of processions, cavalcades, 'kermesse', and other local festivals, nearly always with an originally religious background.
On May 10, 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, as well as Luxembourg, and The Netherlands during the Blitzkrieg offensive, which involved bombardment followed by a fast surprise attack by mobile forces.
Several great French authors went to Belgium for refuge (e.g.
Belgium was the first continental European country to undergo the Industrial Revolution, in the early 1800s.
After World War II, Belgium joined NATO, headquartered at Brussels, and formed the Benelux group of nations with the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The earliest named inhabitants of Belgium were the Belgae (after whom modern Belgium is named).
At the most basic level, the Dutch were for free trade, while less-developed local industries in Belgium called for the protection by way of tariffs.
The conference divided the provinces of Limburg and Luxembourg between Belgium and The Netherlands.
Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, was born in Belgium.
Many important classical composers were born in Belgium.
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 constitution is the primary source of law and the basis of the political system in Belgium.
Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, which once covered a somewhat larger area than the current Benelux group of states.
Belgium has also influenced electronic music with a.o.
Belgium is a highly unionized country, and organized labor is a powerful influence in politics.
Higher education in Belgium includes university and polytechnic.
The behavior of the Belgian colonists in Congo remains a conflict-laden topic in Belgium.
The first signs of Bronze Age activity in Belgium date from around 1750 B.C.E., with evidence of farmhouses, and stables.
In 1920, Belgium signed a treaty of military assistance with France, and in 1921, concluded an economic union with Luxembourg.
According to Belgium's concept of "recognized religions," about 47 percent of the population identify themselves with the Catholic Church.
Belgium had no army, so the London Conference agreed to intervention by the French army, forcing the Dutch to withdraw.
In 1999, Belgium adopted the euro, the single European currency, which fully replaced the Belgian franc in 2002.
The Industrial Revolution reached Belgium at the end of the eighteenth century.
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.
Much of the Western Front fighting of World War I occurred in western parts of Belgium.
King Albert I stayed in Belgium with his troops to lead the army while the government withdrew to Le Havre, France.
The population density of Belgium is 886 per square mile (342 per square kilometer) – one of the highest in Europe, after that of the Netherlands and some microstates such as Monaco.
On January 20, 1831, an international conference in London recognized an independent, Catholic, and neutral Belgium under a provisional government and a national congress.
Belgium became one of the six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, and of the 1957 established European Atomic Energy Community and European Economic Community.
The oldest primitive flint tools found on the area of today's Belgium date to about 250,000 before present (BP).
King Leopold III, as commander in chief of the army, remained in Belgium and was confined to his palace by the Germans, who remained there until Allied forces reached Belgium on September 3, 1944.
After the defeat of Germany, the two former German colonies, Rwanda and Burundi, were mandated to Belgium by the League of Nations, of which it was a founding member.
The Court of Cassation is the most important court in Belgium.
Napoleon knew that his only chance of remaining in power was to attack the existing Allied forces in Belgium before they were reinforced.
The people of Belgium enjoy a high standard of living.
Belgium has three main geographical regions: the coastal plain in the northwest, the central plateau, and the Ardennes uplands in the south-east.
Dutch William I made Dutch the official language, and promulgated a constitution that gave Belgium and Holland the same number of representatives in the assembly despite Belgium's population being twice that of the Dutch area.
Belgium is a constitutional, popular monarchy and a parliamentary democracy.
The Kingdom of Belgium is a country in northwest Europe bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and France, with a short coastline on the North Sea.
Belgium shares borders with France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, and covers an area of 11,787 square miles (30,528 square kilometers), which is about the size of the state of Maryland in the United States.
Christianity is traditionally seen as Belgium's majority religion, but by 2004 weekly Sunday church attendance had dropped to about 4 to 8 percent.
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, was founded around 979, when Duke Charles transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to the Saint Gaugericus chapel in Brussels.
Evidence of Mousterian culture (c. 80,000–35,000 BP) has been found in the Ardennes caves in southern Belgium and in Belgian Limburg.
The Constitution of Belgium was established in 1831, and revised in 1970 in response to conflict between the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities, to diffuse power to the communities and the regions.
Suzanne Lilar) and spent a large part of their lifes outside of Flanders or of Belgium.
The third area is the thickly forested hills and plateaus of the Ardennes, which are more rugged and rocky with caves and small gorges, and offer much of Belgium's wildlife but little agricultural capability.
War damage was limited, and Belgium showed an economic resurgence after the war.
The Treaty of London in 1839 recognized an independent and neutral Belgium in its borders of 1838.
Belgium is a country where language is a major political issue.
Belgium's flora includes digitalis, wild arum, hyacinth, strawberry, goldenrod, lily of the valley, and other plants common to temperate zones, while beech and oak are the predominant trees.
Belgium is a federation with a multi-party political system, with numerous parties have no chance of gaining power alone, and therefore must work with each other to form coalition governments.
In 1908, it was ceded to Belgium as a colony, henceforth called the Belgian Congo.
What is now Belgium flourished as a province of Rome, which was much larger than the modern Belgium and included five cities: Nemetacum (Arras), Divodurum (Metz), Bagacum (Bavay), Aduatuca (Tongeren), Durocorturum (Reims).
Belgium is a nation of Gourmands rather than Gourmets which translates into big cuisine rather than fine cuisine.
France and Britain sent troops into Belgium but French troops surrendered and British troops retreated from the continent via Dunkirk, in France.
The federal government is responsible for the obligations of Belgium and its federalized institutions towards the European Union and NATO.
Belgium operates a modern, private-enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base.
Napoleon was finally defeated by the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blьcher at Waterloo in present-day Belgium on June 18, 1815.
Boar, fox, badger, squirrel, weasel, marten, and hedgehog are still found in Belgium.
Among OECD countries in 2002, Belgium had the third-highest proportion of 18–21-year-olds enrolled in postsecondary education, at 42 percent.
Waffles, fries, chocolate, beer… Belgium may be famous for its junk food, but there's far more to its national cuisine than that. Ahead of the Eat! Brussels food festival, taking place in the capital September 11–14, we've picked 10 lesser-known Belgian dishes that are pleasure filled, not pound heavy.Sep 8, 2014
Belgians are made up of two main linguistic and ethnic groups; the Dutch-speakers (called the Flemish) and the French-speakers (mostly Walloons), as well as a third tiny but constitutionally recognized group from two small German-speaking areas.
After the Napoleonic wars, "Belgium" was briefly reunited with the "Netherlands" in a forced "merger" as part of the peace settlement. It was unhappy under Dutch rule, rebelled in 1830, and became an independent country in 1839. Belgium seceded from the Netherlands under treaty in 1830.Oct 12, 2011
Belgian culture involves both the aspects shared by all Belgians regardless of the language they speak, and the differences between the main cultural communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish and the French-speakers Walloons. Most Belgians view their culture as an integral part of European culture.
Outside the country, Belgium is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer. Though Belgium has many distinctive national dishes, many internationally popular foods like hamburgers and spaghetti bolognese are also popular in Belgium, and most of what Belgians eat is also eaten in neighbouring countries.
The Bulletin has put together a list of Belgium's top 10 most popular sports.Football. ... Cycling. ... Tennis. ... Athletics. ... Basketball. ... Field hockey. ... Swimming. ... Sailing.More items...
Belgium has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Since the country is small there is little variation in climate from region to region, although the marine influences are less inland.
Popular sports in Belgium are among others football, cycling, tennis, table tennis, athletics, swimming, basketball, badminton, judo, hockey, motocross, auto racing, volleyball and running.