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The Kingdom of Belgium is located in Western Europe and borders the North Sea coast. It is divided into the regions of Wallonia and Flanders and the so-called German-speaking community, which is located in the province of Liège. The official languages are Dutch, French and German. The capital Brussels is also the seat of the Belgian royal family. NATO and the European Union also have their headquarters here. Other important cities are Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Charleroi. Belgium is considered the country of origin of French fries and is known for a variety of chocolate, waffle and praline specialties.

The 10 largest cities in the country are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, the capital Brussels, Schaerbeek - Schaarbeek, Anderlecht, Bruges, Namur and Leuven.

Karte von Belgium

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Guide to Belgium

The small figure on the corner of Rue de l’Etuve/Stoofstraat, in the immediate vicinity of the Great Square in Brussels, is probably familiar to everyone – the “Manneken-Pis”. It is one of the landmarks of the Belgian capital and certainly the most photographed object in the city. The 61-centimetre-high fountain figure was created as early as 1619 and is dressed now and then by concerned fellow citizens. Belgium is a manageable kingdom in the west of Europe and enjoys numerous neighbours: Holland, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Slightly more than half of the inhabitants of Belgium are at home in the Dutch-Flemish language area. But people in this country also speak German and French. Almost all are members of the Roman Catholic Church and are in a country that professes to be a constitutional monarchy. In 1991 the Belgians voted for a change in the succession to the throne: now a female succession is also possible.

Belgium has three official languages: Dutch in large parts of Flanders, French in Wallonia and German in the east of the country and in parts of the Walloon region. The multicultural metropolis of Brussels is officially bilingual. Freedom of language is even enshrined in the Belgian constitution, allowing all citizens to express themselves as they see fit. The country claims to be multilingual and apparently does quite well with it.

Belgium is diverse, the people are almost always in a good mood, and if you look around the various territories, as a guest you won’t understand everything at first glance. But quite a few inhabitants are extremely creative and earn their living with a drawing pad. No fewer than seven universities in Belgium train artists, and there are seven hundred professional comic artists in the country. In the city of Brussels, in the Art Nouveau setting of the former “Waucquez” department store, a comic book museum has been established, and visitors enjoy the jokes of “Lucky Luke” and the “Smurfs” there.

In addition to the scenic beauty of the small country, it is the medieval-looking towns in particular that are always ready for a rush of visitors. In Ghent, the best way to get an overview is to board a small boat. It then chugs through the canals. Past the historic fish market and the Graslei with its guild houses. Most of the buildings in the old town are listed. Also the “Cour St.-Georges”, which can boast of being the oldest hotel in Europe. In the favour of guests from all over the world, Ghent competes with Bruges. Here the narrow streets are cobbled and the old houses along the canal ring are exceedingly photogenic. The entire centre of Bruges, with its town hall, Belfry and Church of Our Lady, is an impressive Gothic ensemble. The port city of Antwerp calls itself Belgium’s “gateway to the world” in the Scheldt Arc. This is connected to the Rhine and Meuse by various canals. And on a visit to the capital Brussels one thing must not be missed: A visit to the 110-metre-high Atomium. In the highest sphere there is a restaurant. This was one of the attractions at the 1958 World’s Fair.

Belgium at a glance

  • Population: 11.431.000
  • Area: 30510 km2
  • Continent: Europa
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)