Last reviewed: 15 April 2009
Area: 30,520 sq km (Total: 30,510 sq km; land: 30,230 sq km; water: 280 sq km)
Capital City: Brussels (population: 970,000)
0-14 years: 16.5% (M 873,130; F 836,785)
15-64 years: 66.1% (M 3,467,044; F 3,406,030)
65 years and over: 17.4% (M 746,969; F 1,062,268) (2007 est.)
Languages: Dutch 58%, French 32%, German 10%
Religions: Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or Other 25%
Major political parties:
Dutch Speaking parties: CD&V (Flemish Christian Democrats); NVA (Flemish Nationalists); Open-VLD (Flemish Liberals and Democrats); sp.a/ (Flemish Socialists); Lijst Dedecker (right of centre); Vlaams Belang (far-right Flemish Nationalists); Groen! (Greens)
More information: Belgium Government website
Government: Federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch.
Head of State: King Albert II (since 9 August 1993) Heir Apparent: Prince Phillipe
Prime Minister: Herman Van Rompuy
Foreign Minister: Karel de Gucht
Parties forming the current Federal government: Open-VLD, CD&V, MR, PS, CDH.
Membership of international organisations: Benelux; Bank for International Settlements (BIS); European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN); Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC); European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); European Union (EU); International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU); International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRM); Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO); United Nations (UN); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK); World Health Organisation (WHO); World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO); World Meteorological Organisation (WMO); World Trade Organisation (WTO). Brussels is also home to many of the EU institutions and NATO HQ.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Naming 5 famous Belgians: tennis stars Kim Clijsters and Justin Henin, inventor of the saxophone Adolph Sax; artist Rene Magritte, 5-times Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx. And that's before mentioning Tintin, Poirot and the Smurfs!
- There are over 400 beers brewed in Belgium, ranging from lagers and pilsners through lambic, white and fruit beers, to Trappist monastery beers. Famous names include Stella Artois, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Duvel and Chimay.
- Belgium has dozens of carnivals during the year, including those in Binche and Stavelot in which local people dress in various traditional costumes and parade through the streets, and the CAT Festival in Ieper.
The Flemish Community: