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Belgium: a state with three official languages

This article is also available in: Italian

Belgium is a small state in Western Europe, which is part of the European Union. The country is located along the shores of the North Sea and is bordered by France to the south, the Netherlands to the north, and Germany and Luxembourg to the east. The country, which has Brussels as its capital, is linguistically divided into two parts: French-speaking Wallonia and Dutch-speaking (Flemish) Flanders, German is also spoken on the border with Germany in a small area of Wallonia.


Ancient Roman province of northern Gaul, called Belgium. The area where Belgium is today was governed, after the fall of the Roman Empire, by the Frankish kings, then, starting from the 11th century, the control of the territory was followed by numerous powers. In the 14th century Belgium became part of the Duchy of Burgundy, and with Charles V it became part of the Spanish Netherlands which remained under Iberian control until 1713, when they were ceded to Austria. In 1791 it was occupied by the French and in 1815 by the Netherlands, Belgium only became an independent kingdom in 1830.

At the end of the 19th century, the country became the owner of vast territories in Central Africa, what was then called the Free State of the Congo and which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). With the end of the First World War, the adjacent colonies of Rwanda and Burundi were added to these domains, subtracted by the war from the Germans. In 1957 Belgium was one of the founding states of the European Economic Community, now the European Union.


Belgium is largely made up of plains, crossed by numerous rivers including the Scheldt and the Meuse. Only in its south-eastern part towards the border with France and Luxembourg are the hills of the Ardennes. While towards the border with Germany are the mountains of the Hautes Fagnes. Here is also the highest point in the country, the Signal de Botrange mountain (694 meters).

The climate of Belgium.

Area: 30,528 km²
Population: 10,827,519 (2010)
Capital: Brussels
Official language: Dutch (Flemish) (59%), French (40%), German (1%).
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time Zone: UTC +1 (Summer: UTC + 2)



This article is also available in: Italian

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