Belgium is one of Europe’s smallest and most densely populated countries, and on the surface as large as Småland. It is a multifaceted country that has played an important role in European history. Both the EU and NATO are headquartered in Brussels.
|State:||monarchy within the EU|
|Language:||Flemish, French, German|
|Population:||11.2 million (2013)|
|Population density:||341 residents per km²|
|Life expectancy:||79 years|
1 euro = 9.76 kr
|GDP per capita:||$ 35,800 (2010)|
|Time difference:||+0 hours|
|Electricity:||220 V AC, 50Hz|
|National Day:||July 21st|
|Country area code:||32|
|2-Letter country abbreviation:||BE (See more abbreviations on Abbreviationfinder)|
|Business:||service sector 77%, industry 20%, agriculture 3%|
|Climate:||temperate; mild, humid winters and cool summers|
Belgium is a multilingual country where Flemish, French and German are the official languages. The country has significantly fewer tourists than its larger neighbors, but is still a classic tourist country, with medieval cities such as Brussels, Ghent and Bruges. The country has a rich comic book tradition, and among the comics that come from Belgium are, for example, Tintin, The Smurfs, Starke Staffan, Gaston and Lucky Luke. The Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art in Brussels is housed in an old textile factory, designed by the well-known art nouveau architect Victor Horta. Belgium is one of the world’s leading beer nations, with over 450 different beers. Belgian beer is characterized by diversity and quality rather than quantity. Here are local breweries, often with ancestry and recipes from the country’s many monasteries, which compete for the favor of the discerning Belgians. Beer is deeply rooted in Belgian culture, and it is said that beer is for the Belgian what wine is for the French. Belgium is also known for its chocolate, which is considered by many to be the best in the world. Here, chocolate is handled with the same care as an exclusive wine. In Brussels there is also a chocolate museum for the real enthusiasts. During the years 1908-1960, the Belgian Congo was a Belgian colony in Africa. The Belgian state took over the territory from King Leopold II of Belgium, who between 1885-1908 had the colony as his private property. The Belgian Congo became independent in 1960, and is now called the Congo-Kinshasa. The serial album Tintin in the Congo takes place in the Belgian Congo. Between 1922 and 1962, Belgium also administered the African region of Rwanda-Urundi. It was formerly part of German East Africa, and has been divided into the two independent states of Rwanda and Burundi since 1962.The 1956 film “He Who Loved Life” with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn, is a film adaptation of Irving Stone’s biography of van Gogh, and was partly shot in Belgium.
The following objects in Belgium are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The year in which the item was added to the list is indicated in parentheses.
- Flemish Béguinages (1998)
- Grand Place, Brussels (1998)
- The four hydraulic lifts on the Canal du Center in La Louvière and Le Roeulx (1998)
- Clock Tower in Flanders and Wallonia (1999)
- The Gothic cathedral of Notre-Dame in Tournai (2000)
- The Flint Mines in Spiennes (2000)
- City Hall, Brussels (2000)
- Bruges Historic Center (2000)
- Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp (2005)
- Palais Stoclet, Brussels (2009)
- Four major mines in Wallonia (2012)
Electricity and electrical outlets in Belgium
Voltage: 230 V
Frequency: 50 Hz
Type of plug: E
Need an adapter: Yes, Swedes need an adapter.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Weather in Brussels
|Average temperature °C||3||3||7||9||13||15||18||18||15||12||7||5|
|Soltim / day||5||6||6||6||6||5||6||5||5||4||5||6|
Antwerp is a port and industrial city in northern Belgium with around 450,000 residents. The city is the capital of the province of Antwerp. The river Schelde flows through the city.
The city is the center of diamond trade and diamond processing. The city has four diamond exchanges. Antwerp has also had a certain reputation as a fashion city since the 1990s. Attractions and tourist attractions include Antwerp Zoo, which is one of the oldest in the world. Antwerp was founded around the year 800. The city was the host of the 1920 Summer Olympics.
Bruges is a city in northwestern Belgium. Bruges is the largest city and capital of the province of West Flanders, located in the state of Flanders. Two of the city’s main attractions are the two Gothic brick churches Sint Salvator-kerk and Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe-kerk. In 2000, the medieval city center was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Bruges is one of Belgium’s biggest tourist attractions and in 2002 was the European Capital of Culture together with Salamanca. The first printed book in English was published in Bruges by Wiliam Caxton.
According to Countryaah, Brussels is the capital of Belgium. Together with Flanders and Wallonia, Brussels is also one of Belgium’s three regions. The region, which is completely enclosed by Flanders, was created in 1989 and consists of 19 municipalities. The city of Brussels, the municipality where the old city center is located, has 145,000 residents. The Brussels administrative region has a population of just over one million, and Greater Brussels, including suburbs in the regions of Flanders and Wallonia, has a population of about two million.
Brussels is the functional capital of the EU and the seat of the European Commission and the European Parliament (the latter together with Strasbourg). The city also has NATO headquarters.
In Brussels, the languages French and Dutch are legally equal, although French is completely dominant in the city and the mother tongue of just over 85-90 percent of the population. About 10-15 percent of the population has Dutch as their mother tongue. The dominance of the French language began in the 19th century, before that Dutch was the dominant language.
Brussels sprouts were first grown in Belgium and are named after the city. The most popular attraction in Brussels is Manneken Pis.
Ghent is a city in Flanders, Belgium; 230,951 residents (year 2005). Two of the city’s main sights are the castle Gravensteen, built in 1180, and the Gothic cathedral Sint-Baafs, in which one can view the Gental Tartar, made 1420-1432 by Jan van Eyck.
The city’s railway station is one of Belgium’s busiest and even though Ghent is inland, the city has a port, which is connected to the North Sea via the Ghent-Terneuzen canal. There is a well-developed tram traffic and local transport is generally cheap. As it is a university town, the number of cyclists is also quite large.
Every summer a festival called gentse feesten is organized.
Leuven is a university town in central Belgium with 91,400 residents (2004), located about 25 km from Brussels. The city is the capital of the province of Vlaams-Brabant. Leuven dates from the ninth century and became 1190 manor for the Duke of Brabant. The city hall and university are from the 15th century.
Liège is the capital of the province of Liège in eastern Belgium located on the river Meuse. The city, with an area of 69.39 km2 and a population of 187,086 residents (2006), is Wallonia’s largest metropolis and one of Belgium’s leading steel-producing towns. The city is home to Standard de Liège, the reigning champions of the Belgian football league.
The town is mentioned in writing only 558, but remains from much older settlements have been found. The city has been the episcopal see from around the year 720.
During the 17th century, many Walloon miners, blacksmiths, merchants and industrialists immigrated to Sweden from the area, including Louis De Geer, who was born in the city and has been called the father of Swedish industry.