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Belgium Country Guide

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Explore Belgium in Europe Belgium with the capital city Brussels is located in Europe (Western Europe, bordering the North Sea). It covers some 30,511 square kilometres (about the size of Maryland) with 10,403,000 citizens.

Map of the area of  in

The topography includes flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast. The average density of population is approximately 341 per km². The notable climate conditions in Belgium can be described as temperate with mild winters, cool summers, rainy, humid, cloudy. Possible natural disasters include flooding being a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes.

To reach someone in Belgium dial +32 prior to a number. There are 4,255,000 installed telephones. And there are 12,419,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900, 1800 MHz and 3G. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".be". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Belgium

Three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France; the colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field).

Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. Its capital, Brussels, is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

National administrative regions of Belgium


Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Europe
Neighbours: Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France
Capital: Brussels
Size 30,510 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 11,780 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
about the size of Maryland
Population 10,403,000
Currency Name: Euro, Currency Code: EUR
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .be
Telephone Country Prefix +32
Mobile Phone Connections 12,419,000
Landline Phone Connections 4,255,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).

Geography

Value name Value World Rank
Area 30,528 (sq km) 141

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 10,444,268 83
Population growth rate 0.05 (%) 187
Birth rate 10.00 (births/1,000 population) 194
Death rate 10.70 (deaths/1,000 population) 42
Net migration rate 1.22 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 53
Maternal mortality rate 8.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 158
Infant mortality rate 4.23 (deaths/1,000 live births) 194
Life expectancy at birth 79.78 (years) 38
Total fertility rate 1.65 (children born/woman) 176
Health expenditures 10.70 (% of GDP) 23
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.20 (%) 94
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 14,000 86
HIV/AIDS - deaths 100 123
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 22.10 (%) 83
Education expenditures 6.60 (% of GDP) 28
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 18.7 (%) 65

Economy

Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 427,200,000,000 33
GDP - real growth rate -0.20 (%) 185
GDP - per capita (PPP) 38,500 31
Labor force 5,055,000 74
Unemployment rate 7.60 (%) 85
Distribution of family income - Gini index 28 122
Investment (gross fixed) 22.10 (% of GDP) 70
Taxes and other revenues 46.9 (% of GDP) 21
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -3.30 (% of GDP) 120
Public debt 99.60 (% of GDP) 15
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.40 (%) 45
Central bank discount rate 1.75 (%) 121
Commercial bank prime lending rate 3.93 (%) 170
Stock of narrow money 168,400,000,000 23
Stock of broad money 543,200,000,000 21
Stock of domestic credit 542,400,000,000 25
Market value of publicly traded shares 269,300,000,000 29
Industrial production growth rate 5.60 (%) 55
Current account balance -4,800,000,000 165
Exports 314,600,000,000 17
Imports 325,200,000,000 17
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 29,430,000,000 49
Debt - external 1,424,000,000,000 13
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 1,184,000,000,000 5
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 999,800,000,000 7

Energy

Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 89,250,000,000 (kWh) 37
Electricity - consumption 78,530,000,000 (kWh) 36
Electricity - exports 11,840,000,000 (kWh) 17
Electricity - imports 12,410,000,000 (kWh) 15
Electricity - installed generating capacity 17500000 (kW) 41
Electricity - from fossil fuels 46.4 (% of total installed capacity) 164
Electricity - from nuclear fuels 33.7 (% of total installed capacity) 2
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 0.6 (% of total installed capacity) 143
Electricity - from other renewable sources 11.7 (% of total installed capacity) 21
Crude oil - imports 624,500 (bbl/day) 17
Refined petroleum products - production 693,500 (bbl/day) 26
Refined petroleum products - consumption 644,400 (bbl/day) 29
Refined petroleum products - exports 353,000 (bbl/day) 23
Refined petroleum products - imports 370,800 (bbl/day) 18
Natural gas - consumption 13,460,000,000 (cu m) 42
Natural gas - exports 2,511,000,000 (cu m) 38
Natural gas - imports 15,940,000,000 (cu m) 19
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 127,200,000 (Mt) 35

Communications

Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 4,631,000 33
Telephones - mobile cellular 12,541,000 62
Internet hosts 5,192,000 21
Internet users 8,113,000 36

Transportation

Value name Value World Rank
Airports 43 100
Railways 3,233 (km) 55
Roadways 154,012 (km) 31
Waterways 2,043 (km) 42
Merchant marine 87 56

Military

Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.30 (% of GDP) 109

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Belfries of Belgium and France
Twenty-three belfries in the north of France and the belfry of Gembloux in Belgium were inscribed as a group, an extension to the 32 Belgian belfries inscribed in 1999 as Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia. Built between the 11th and 17th centuries, t ...
1999
Flemish Béguinages
The Béguines were women who dedicated their lives to God without retiring from the world. In the 13th century they founded the béguinages , enclosed communities designed to meet their spiritual and material needs. The Flemish béguinages are archit ...
1998
Historic Centre of Brugge
Brugge is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town's identity. As one of the commercial an ...
2000
La Grand-Place, Brussels
La Grand-Place in Brussels is a remarkably homogeneous body of public and private buildings, dating mainly from the late 17th century. The architecture provides a vivid illustration of the level of social and cultural life of the period in this impor ...
1998
Major Mining Sites of Wallonia
The four sites of the property form a strip 170 km long by 3–15 km wide, crossing Belgium from east to west, consisting of the best-preserved 19th- and 20th-century coal-mining sites of the country. It features examples of the utopian architectur ...
2012
Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)
The four major town houses - Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde, and Maison & Atelier Horta - located in Brussels and designed by the architect Victor Horta, one of the earliest initiators of Art Nouveau, are some of the most remarkabl ...
2000
Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons)
The Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes, covering more than 100 ha, are the largest and earliest concentration of ancient mines in Europe. They are also remarkable for the diversity of technological solutions used for extraction and for the fact that t ...
2000
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Tournai was built in the first half of the 12th century. It is especially distinguished by a Romanesque nave of extraordinary dimensions, a wealth of sculpture on its capitals and a transept topped by five towers, all p ...
2000
Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a printing plant and publishing house dating from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Situated in Antwerp, one of the three leading cities of early European printing along with Paris and Venice, it is associated with th ...
2005
Stoclet House
When banker and art collector Adolphe Stoclet commissioned this house from one of the leading architects of the Vienna Secession movement, Josef Hoffmann, in 1905, he imposed neither aesthetic nor financial restrictions on the project. The house and ...
2009
The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut)
The four hydraulic boat-lifts on this short stretch of the historic Canal du Centre are industrial monuments of the highest quality. Together with the canal itself and its associated structures, they constitute a remarkably well-preserved and complet ...
1998