Language: Dutch, French, German

Currency: Euro (EU)

Calling Code: 32


Description of Belgium

Belgium, officially Kingdom of Belgium (in Dutch: Koninkrijk België, in French: Royaume de Belgique and in German: Königreich Belgien), is a sovereign country, member of the European Union, located in northwestern Europe. The country covers an area of ​​30,528 square kilometers and has a population of 11,409,077 inhabitants according to the estimate of 2016. Its capital and most populated city is Brussels. It is a multilingual state with three official languages: 57% of its population, in the Flanders region mainly, speaks Dutch, while about 42% speaks French (in the Wallonia region, to the south, and in the Brussels Region -Capital, an officially bilingual region that hosts a majority of French speakers). Less than 1% of Belgians live in the German-speaking Community, where they speak German, next to the eastern border of the country. Often, this linguistic diversity leads to severe political and cultural conflicts, very similar to those of other bilingual countries, reflected in the complex system of government of Belgium and in its political history.

Belgium receives its name from the Latin name of the northernmost part of Gaul, Gallia Belgica, which, in turn, comes from a group of Celtic tribes, the Belgians. Historically, Belgium has been part of the Netherlands of the Habsburgs, which included the current Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, occupying a region somewhat larger than the modern Benelux. From the late Middle Ages to the 17th century, it was a flourishing center of commerce and culture. From the 18th century until the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Belgium, at that time called the Southern Netherlands, was the site of many battles between the European powers and that is why it has earned the nickname of "the battlefield of Europe" or "Europe's cabin".

It is one of the founding members of the European Union, whose main institutions are located in the country, as well as a significant number of other international organizations, such as NATO.


Travel Destinations in Belgium













Other destinations

Cortewalle Castle

Hoge Kempen National Park

Reinhardstein Castle

Wissekerke Castle

Wolfsschlucht I


Geography of Belgium

The territory of Belgium is divided into three geographical regions: the coastal plain (low Belgium, up to 100 m above sea level) in the northwest, the central plateau (middle Belgium, 100-200 meters above sea level) and the Ardennes highlands in the southeast (high Belgium , 200-500 meters above sea level).

Low Belgium is mostly sand dunes and polders. Polders are low-lying areas of land (not necessarily below sea level) that are at risk of flooding and are protected from floods by dams or, further from the sea, fields with drainage channels. Polders are distinguished by soil fertility. Between the western polders, the Lys and the Scheldt lies the Flemish Lowland, a hilly area with sandy soil in places. Beyond the Flemish Lowlands lies the geographic region of Kempen. The Kempen landscape mainly consists of coniferous forests, meadows and cornfields.

Central Belgium is the area between Kempen and the Sambre and Meuse valleys. This is an area of ​​clay plains, gradually rising towards the Sambre and Meuse. Here are the most fertile soils in Belgium. Due to the developed urbanization of the area, natural landscapes are rare, but south of Brussels there is still a beech forest with an area of ​​five thousand hectares (Dutch Zoniënwoud, French Forêt de Soignes). Central Belgium includes the territory of the province of Hainaut and the geographical region of the netherl. Haspengouw, fr. La Hesbaye (south of the province of Limburg and north of the province of Liege). These fertile lands are mainly occupied by arable lands and meadows, between which lie large rural estates (farms).

High Belgium is characterized primarily by low population density and an abundance of forests. Due to the mountainous terrain, agriculture is not developed here, but this region attracts many tourists. High Belgium begins south of the valleys of the rivers Sambre and Meuse. Immediately beyond the valleys of these rivers, the geographical region of Condroz (fr. Condroz) begins - low hills 200-300 meters high. This area includes parts of the provinces of Hainaut, Liège and Namur. Next are the Ardennes - high hills (or even low mountains). The Ardennes are mostly covered with forest, and winding serpentine roads connect small villages, the inhabitants of which still use the Walloon dialect. The highest point of the Ardennes (and all of Belgium) is Mount Botrange (fr. Botrange), 694 meters above sea level.

In the northern part of Belgium, under a thick Meso-Cenozoic sedimentary cover, there is a Precambrian crystalline basement. When moving south, the foundation is exposed in places along the river valleys, and in the south of the country it emerges in the form of Hercynian folded structures, which have undergone strong denudation. In the north of Belgium, as a result of repeated exposure to glacial melt waters, loess is widespread.

Minerals: coal (in Campina and along the valleys of the rivers Meuse and Sambre); lead, zinc, copper, antimony (Ardennes); granite, sandstone, marble.


Politics of Belgium

Belgium is a constitutional monarchy and the federal government. Officially the head of the state is the king, while actual head of a state is the Prime Minister.


Weather of Belgium

The climate of Belgium is a temperate maritime, oceanic climate, characteristic of the whole of Western Europe. The climate of Belgium is characterized by mild and rainy winters and cool, rainy summers. The weather is usually cloudy. Snow is rare in Belgium, in some years it does not fall at all, sometimes there are frosts in winter. Summers are cool; Belgium is characterized by cyclonic weather. Heat is rare and short-lived.


Animal world

Boars, fallow deer, roe deer, hares, squirrels, wood mice are found mainly in the Ardennes. Partridges, woodcocks, pheasants, ducks are found in swampy thickets.



Belgium is a highly developed post-industrial state. The basis of the economy is the service sector (primarily transport and trade) and industry.

Advantages: one of the most significant manufacturers of metal products and textiles. Flanders is a leading region in the high-tech industry, Antwerp is the world center for the diamond trade. Highly developed chemical industry. Well educated and highly motivated multilingual workforce with high productivity. Attractive location for American TNCs. Good water transport network across the North Sea, access to the Rhine from Antwerp to Ghent.

Weaknesses: public debt of about 87.7% of GNP far exceeds the maximum allowable level in the Eurozone of 60% (2006 data). In some regions, a large number of chronic and unskilled unemployed. Frequent early retirement of employees, which results in a high level of state pension payments. More bureaucracy than the EU average.

Belgium is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD), the European Union (EU), the country became the first member of the European Monetary Union in 1999.

The production of steel, cement and chemical products is mainly concentrated in the valley of the rivers Sambre and Meuse. The largest industrial cities are Mons, Charleroi, Namur and Liège. Previously, coal mining was also carried out in this area, but in the 1980s. the last mines were closed. The center of the steel industry is Liege. Products of the chemical industry - fertilizers, dyes, pharmaceuticals, as well as various plastics. The center of the petrochemical industry is located in Antwerp, the headquarters of the large chemical and pharmaceutical company Solvay is located in Brussels.

The textile industry, which originated in the Middle Ages, includes the processing of cotton, linen, wool, and synthetic fabrics. One of the most important products of the textile industry is carpets and blankets. The main centers of the textile industry are Ghent, Kortrijk, Tournai, and Verviers. Brussels, Bruges and Mechelen are known as the ancient centers of lace production (see Flemish lace).

Other industries are diamond processing (primarily in Antwerp), cement and glass production, woodworking, and the food industry. There are several automotive industries.

The Belgian economy is strongly oriented towards the international market.

The main imports are food, machinery, rough diamonds, oil and petroleum products, chemical products, clothing, and textiles. The main export commodities are automobiles, foodstuffs, iron and steel, polished diamonds, textiles, plastics, petroleum products and non-ferrous metals.

In 1970 - 80 years. The economic center of the country moved from Wallonia to Flanders. This is due to the decline of the traditional sectors of the Walloon economy - coal mining and ferrous metallurgy. At present, coal mining has been completely stopped, while metallurgy remains an important branch of the economy, although its importance has greatly decreased. The Flanders economy is now receiving more investment. In Flanders, much attention is paid to applied research and development. The unemployment rate in Wallonia is twice that of Flanders.

The main branch of energy is nuclear. Belgium has two nuclear power plants, one near Antwerp and the other in the Huy region. Currently, 75% of the electricity in the country is produced by nuclear power plants.

Belgium has a developed transport system. The port of Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe. Internal transport is also well developed.

Agricultural production accounts for only 1.4% of GDP (according to 2006 data), however, such a low indicator does not indicate a weak development of agriculture, but a strong development of other sectors of the economy. The most important plants are wheat, oats, rye, barley, sugar beets, potatoes and flax. Animal husbandry is mainly the breeding of cattle and pigs. Closely related to agriculture are traditional food industries such as brewing and cheese production.

According to 2006 data, per capita income was $31,800. Despite a significant share of heavy industry in the structure of the economy, the service sector accounted for 72.5% of GDP. As of May 2017, the average wage in Belgium is €3401 ($3821.72 gross) and €2170 ($2438.35 net) per month. As of January 1, 2019, the minimum wage in Belgium is €1562.59 per month (gross) and €1472 (net) per month.


Science and technology

The contribution to the development of science and technology in Belgium can be traced throughout the history of this country. In the sixteenth century, the Southern Netherlands became famous for its scientists, such as the cartographer Gerardus Mercator, the anatomist Andreas Vesalius, the herbalist Rembert Doduns, and the mathematician and engineer Simon Stevin, among the most influential in the scientific community.

In the first half of the 17th century, the Walloon method of making bar iron spread to Sweden and was used there for 260 years.

The economically important underground coal mining during the Great Industrial Revolution required highly specialized mining research.

The end of the 19th century and the 20th century were marked by significant achievements of Belgium in applied science and theoretical fundamental research. Industrial chemist Ernest Gaston Solvay and engineer Zenob Theophilus Gramm gave their names to scientific concepts: the Solvay process and Gramm's dynamo in the 1860s. Georges Lemaitre is credited with the authorship (along with other scientists) of the theory of the expanding universe.

Three Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine, one Nobel Prize in Chemistry and one Nobel Prize in Physics have been awarded to Belgians:
Jules Bordet, "For discoveries connected with immunity" (1919);
Korney Heymans, "for their discovery of the role of the sinus and aortic mechanisms in the regulation of respiration" (1938);
Albert Claude, Christian de Duve, George Palade, "for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell" (1974);
Ilya Prigogine, "for his work on the thermodynamics of irreversible processes, especially for the theory of dissipative structures" (1977);
François Engleroux, "For the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that helps us understand the origin of the mass of subatomic particles, recently confirmed by the discovery of the predicted elementary particle in the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN" (2013).



Almost the entire population of Belgium is urban - 98.1% in 2021.

Belgium has a high population density (376 people per km²), yielding in this parameter in Europe only to the Netherlands and some dwarf states, such as Monaco. The highest population density in the country is observed in the area bounded by the cities of Brussels-Antwerp-Ghent-Leuven (the so-called "Flemish diamond"). The lowest population density is in the Ardennes (Province of Luxembourg).

In 2010, the population of the Flemish Region was about 6,251,983, including the most populous cities of Antwerp (483,505), Ghent (243,366) and Bruges (116,741). The population of Wallonia was 3,498,384, including the most populous cities of Charleroi (202,598), Liège (192,504) and Namur (108,950). Brussels has a population of 1,089,538 in 19 metropolitan district municipalities, three of which, Anderlecht, Brussels and Schaarbeek, have over 100,000 inhabitants.

Age and sex structure of the Belgian population
0-14 years old: 17.22% (boys 1,033,383 / girls 984,624);
15-24 years old: 11.2% (men 670,724 / women 642,145);
25-54 years old: 39.23% (men 2,319,777 / women 2,278,450);
55-64 years old: 13.14% (men 764,902 / women 775,454);
65 years and over: 19.21% (male 988,148 / female 1,263,109) (2020 figures)

Average age
Overall indicator: 41.6 years
Men: 40.4 years
Women: 42.8 years (2020 figures)

Population growth
The population from 2020 to 2021 increased by 0.59%.
Birth rate: 11.03
Death rate: 9.71.
Net migration in Belgium is 4.58 migrants per 1,000 inhabitants (25th in the world, as of 2021)

Gender composition of the population
At birth: 1.05 males / female
0-14 years old: 1.05 men / female
15-24 years old: 1.04 men / female
25-54 years old: 1.02 men / female
55-64 years old: 0.99 male / female
65 years and over: 0.78 male / female
The ratio of the total number: 0.97 male / female. (as of 2020)

Child mortality rates
Overall rate: 3.24 deaths/1000 births
Male: 3.68 deaths/1000 births
Female: 2.78 deaths/1000 births (as of 2021)

Average life expectancy
Overall indicator: 81.65 years
Men: 79.02 years
Women: 84.4 years (as of 2021)

Total fertility rate
According to the data for 2021, on average, one resident of Belgium has 1.77 children. The same indicator for 1994 was 1.50 children.


Language of Belgium

The two main groups that make up the country's population are the Flemings (about 60% of the population) and the Walloons (about 40% of the population). The Flemings live in the five northern provinces of Belgium (see Flanders) and speak Dutch and its many dialects. The Walloons live in the five southern provinces that make up Wallonia and speak French, Walloon and some other languages. According to The World Factbook, the ethnic composition of the population of Belgium as of 2012: 75.2% Belgians, 4.1% Italians, 3.7% Moroccans, 2.4% French, 2% Turkish, 2% - Dutch, 10.6% - other ethnic groups. Belgian languages ​​by number of speakers: Dutch - 60%, French - 40%, German - less than 1%. As of 2021, 67.3% of the Belgian population was indigenous, 20.1% foreign-born Belgians and 12.6% immigrants.

After gaining independence, Belgium was a French-oriented state, and the only official language at first was French, although the Flemings always made up the majority of the population. Even in Flanders, French remained for a long time the only language of secondary and higher education.

After the end of World War I, a movement began in Belgium for the emancipation of the Dutch-speaking population. As a result, the so-called "language struggle" (Dutch. taalstrijd) arose. The struggle began to bear fruit by the year 1960. In 1963, a package of laws was adopted to regulate the use of languages ​​in official situations. In 1967, an official translation of the Belgian constitution into Dutch was published for the first time. By 1980, both main languages ​​of the country were actually equal in rights. In 1993, Belgium was divided into regions that are federal subjects. The only official language in the Flemish region is Dutch.

Despite the successes achieved, language problems still lead to an escalation of tensions between the two main groups of the country's population. Thus, in 2005, the problem of dividing the bilingual electoral district of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde almost led to the resignation of the government and a political crisis.


Immigrants and ethnic minorities

The most important ethnic minority in Belgium is the Germans. Their number is approximately 70,000 people. The places of compact residence of Germans (in the east of Wallonia) are part of the German-speaking community, which has great autonomy, especially in matters of culture.

The largest groups of migrants are Italians, people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the former Belgian Congo), people from Turkey, as well as from Morocco and other Arab countries.

According to various sources, between 150,000 and 200,000 migrants from Turkey live in Belgium, including both ethnic Turks and members of the Kurdish minority. Clashes and conflicts arise between representatives of the two ethnic communities from time to time. Thus, in April 2006, an anti-Turkish demonstration took place in the center of Brussels on the initiative of the Kurds. On the night of April 2, 2007, clashes broke out between ethnic Turks and representatives of the Kurdish immigrant community in the capital of Belgium, not far from the headquarters of NATO and the EU. As a result, seven people were arrested and several others were injured. "It all started with an attack by Turkish teenagers on a small group of Kurdish youth," Brussels police spokesman Johan Verleien said. Aggression was also directed against the policemen who tried to restore order. According to law enforcement agencies, about 250 people, mostly young people, took part in street clashes. During the pogroms, unknown people set fire to a cafe, which was considered the center of the Kurdish community, after which spontaneous rallies were organized. Conflict situations in Belgium related to interethnic confrontation are an acute political problem, a solution to which has not yet been found.

Spaniards, Greeks, Poles and people of other nationalities also live in Brussels. As of 2016, 69.8% of the Belgian population was indigenous, 16.5% were first-generation immigrants, and 13.7% were second-generation immigrants. As of 2019, the United Nations estimated that there were 2 million immigrants living in Belgium, representing 17.2% of the country's population.


Crime and tension over race

19% of allegations brought before the courts and 24% of juvenile offenses involve people of non-European origin. There was some controversy on this issue in 2002 when a Muslim teenager was found guilty of robbery and murder, but received only a warning from the court. This judgment was overturned and the protests subsided.


Terrorism and crime

Brussels, according to various sources such as Interpol and local newspapers, is considered one of the centers for the radicalization of the population and the recruitment of people to terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda. Recruitment usually takes place in mosques, followed by basic training in Afghanistan. In 2005, a suicide bomber in Iraq, Muriel Degauque, became known as the first Western-born terrorist in the history of modern terrorism. She did not train in Brussels, but in Charleroi, the Belgian city with one of the highest crime rates.

Belgium has also seen racially motivated crimes against minorities, including the Hans Van Themsche case and other racially motivated acts, highlighting the urgency of the issue and Belgian concerns about the racial issue.

French police believe that at least 3 of the 11 main suspects involved in the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris come from or lived in Belgium.

On the morning of March 22, 2016, a series of terrorist attacks took place in Brussels. Three explosions thundered at the airport and the subway. As a result, at least 34 people were killed and more than 250 were injured.


Religion of Belgium

According to The World Factbook, the composition of the population of Belgium by religion as of 2009: 50% Catholics, 2.5% Protestants and other Christians, 5.1% Muslims, 0.4 Jews, 0.3 Buddhists, 9.2% are atheists, 32.6% are the rest. The Belgian constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

The composition of the population of Belgium by religion as of 2019: 54% - Catholics, 31% - irreligious, 5% - Muslims, 3% - Protestants, 1% - Orthodox, 2% - other Christians, 0.3% - Buddhists, 0 3% Jews, 4% other religions.

Teaching religion (or substitute courses) in general education schools takes up about 7% of all school hours. The set of religions offered varies depending on the preferences of the students. If there are seven or more students in a school who want to study a particular religion, the school is required to provide the required teacher or provide a replacement course. The content of the course largely depends on the preference of a particular teacher, but some denominations standardize their courses. For example, the program of "orthodox Christianity" includes the basics of Orthodoxy taught by the Orthodox Church. As in other compulsory subjects, students take an exam on the basics of religion, and a mark is placed in the certificate based on the results of the training. If you do not want to study religion, you can choose a course in morality or a course in philosophy and civic responsibility (philosophie et citoyenneté).



A feature of the cultural life of Belgium is the lack of a single cultural field. In fact, cultural life is concentrated within linguistic communities. There is no nationwide television, newspapers or other media in Belgium. There are also no bilingual universities (with the exception of the royal military school) and major scientific or cultural organizations.

Even in the Renaissance, Flanders became famous for its painting (Flemish primitivists). Later, Rubens lived and worked in Flanders (in Belgium, Antwerp is still often called the city of Rubens). By the second half of the 17th century, however, Flemish art had gradually declined. Later in Belgium, painting developed in the styles of romanticism, expressionism and surrealism. Famous Belgian artists are James Ensor (expressionism and surrealism), Constant Permeke (expressionism), Leon Spilliart (symbolism), Franz Richard Unterberger (romanticism), Guy Huygens, Rene Magritte (considered one of the most important representatives of surrealism).

On June 2, 2009, the new museum of the Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte (1898-1967) opened in Brussels. The exhibition includes approximately 250 works - thus, it has become the most representative in the world. The museum is housed in the complex of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts.

In literature, the division according to the linguistic principle is noticeably strongest. Francophone literature tends to the French tradition, which is due in particular to the fact that many French writers worked in Belgium (for example, Baudelaire).

The situation with the literature of Flanders is more complicated. In the 19th century, the literature of Flanders split into two currents: representatives of one wrote in French, the second in Dutch. The works of the representatives of the first current can be called typically Belgian literature, since the appearance of such literature would not have been possible in a monolingual country. The most famous work of this group is The Legend of Thiel Ulenspiegel and Lamm Gudzak, written by the Flemish Charles de Coster. Now this book has been translated into many languages ​​and has received the nickname "The Bible of Flanders". However, most of the Francophone Flemish literature is now forgotten: the Walloons, and even more so the French, are not interested in it, and the Flemings do not read it due to the reduced level of knowledge of the French language (previously, when French was the only official language, its knowledge was necessary; now the Dutch language equal rights with French).

Representatives of the second group were mainly supporters of the emancipation of Flanders and were often nationalists. The most famous representative of this group is the poet Guido Geselle. He opposed not only the French language, but also the variant of the Dutch language adopted in the Netherlands. His poems are written in the West Flemish dialect and are not always well understood by today's Flemings. Some famous Belgian poets: Guido Geselle (wrote in West Flemish), Emile Verhaern (Flemish, wrote in French), Maurice Maeterlinck (Flemish, wrote in French).

Flemish literature of the 20th century developed in parallel and was influenced by international literary processes: for example, Cyril Beuysse was a naturalist, while Stein Streuvels and Felix Timmermans are close to neo-romanticism.

Significant authors of the period between the First and Second World Wars were the expressionist poet Paul Van Ostyen, the writers Gerard Walschap, Willem Elsshot and Marnix Geissen. During the Second World War, the first novels of magical realists by Johan Dehne and Huber Lampo were published. The period after its completion was marked by the poems of Anton van Wilderode and Christine D'Han and the novels of Louis-Paul Boon. The most prominent figure of this time is the poet and writer Hugo Klaus, who was repeatedly included in the lists of contenders for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Eddie Van Vliet and Herman de Koninck made their debuts in the 1960s, and Ivo Michils and Paul de Vispelare wrote. In the 1980s, the Louis-Paul Boon tradition was continued by Monica van Pamel and Walter van den Broek. New names of the time included Christine Hemmerechts and Erik de Kuyper, Paul Hoste and Anne Provost, Zeph Gerarts and Stefan Hertmans. The generation of the 1990s includes Tom Lanois and Herman Brusselmans.

Belgium is one of the largest centers of French-language comics (bande dessinée). At the beginning of the 20th century, it was here that the most intensive development of this genre took place. The artist and screenwriter Hergé gained worldwide fame, having created a series of comics about the travel reporter Tintin. In the post-war years, France became the center of the industry, but in Belgium, major publishers such as Le Lombard and Dupuis continue to release the popular BD series. Among the most famous are the Smurfs, Torgal, Lucky Luke.



Many outstanding examples of architecture have been preserved in Belgium, ranging from the Romanesque style (XI century) to Art Nouveau (early XX century). The most famous Belgian architect is Victor Horta (1861-1947), one of the most important architects of Art Nouveau.

The most architecturally interesting cities are Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Mechelen. In Wallonia there are many interesting examples of extra-urban architecture - castles, rural estates.


Belgian cuisine

Belgium is famous for its cuisine. Many highly ranked restaurants can be found in highly influential food guides such as the Michelin Red Guide. Belgian food, like Belgium itself, is a mixture of Germanic and Latin influences. The Belgians have a reputation for waffles and fried potatoes. Both of these dishes originated in Belgium. National dishes: fried meat with salad and fried mussels.

Belgian chocolate and praline brands such as Callebaut, Côte d'Or, Neuhaus, Leonidas, Guylian and Godiva are world famous and widely sold.

The country produces over 500 brands of beer, some of which have a history of 400-500 years. The Confederation of Belgian Brewers has existed since the 16th century. For more than 300 years, its headquarters has been located in an old mansion on the Grand Place in Brussels, here is a museum with detailed expositions. In November 2016, UNESCO inscribed the Belgian brewing culture as a World Heritage Site.

Telecommunications in Belgium
Telecommunications in Belgium are at a very high level. The infrastructure of mobile communication, television, Internet, radio is developed. Belgium's Internet domain is ".be".

There are 61 ISPs in Belgium. They serve 5.1 million Internet users (data for 2004).

In 1998 Belgium had 79 FM radio stations, 7 AM stations and 1 shortwave station. Served 8.075 million radio listeners. In 1997, there were 25 television stations and 10 repeaters. So far, 4.72 million TVs have been purchased nationwide.



The level of functional literacy has been overcome, the proportion of literates among the adult population is 98%.

In Belgium, education falls within the competence of the Communities. The Flemish Community is responsible for education in the Dutch-speaking part of the country, while the French Community is responsible for education in the French-speaking part of Belgium. The number of vocational education institutions (secondary and higher) is about 380.

Higher educational institutions and universities in Belgium introduced the bachelor-master system from the 2004-2005 academic year. Before that, there was a system of higher education, namely the basic course of one cycle, the basic course of two cycles and the academic course, but it was abolished. Higher education, organized according to the bachelor-master type, is divided into two types:

Higher professional education
Academic education
Higher professional education is limited to bachelor's and master's courses and is offered in 22 higher schools.

Academic education consists of bachelor's and master's courses. Academic education can be obtained at universities and institutes/colleges.

Catholic University of Leuven, Ghent University.



Health care costs account for 9.6% of GDP, of which 71.4% are from public sources, 28.6% from private sources (2005).

Social protection
Social protection of the population is handled by the Belgian Ministry of Social Welfare. The standard retirement age is 65 years. From 2025, it is planned to increase it to 66, and from 2030 to 67 years.


Belgian Armed Forces

Main article: Belgian Armed Forces
The Belgian Armed Forces were formed in 1830. The total number of active military personnel for 2012 is 34,000 people (32,000 military and 2,000 civil servants). The Commander-in-Chief is King Philip I (since July 21, 2013). The draft age is 18 years. The budget of the Armed Forces is 3.4 billion € (2008). The share of the sun is 1.3% of Belgian GDP.

The armed forces are organized into one unified structure, which consists of four main components:

Ground Troops, or Army
Air Force, or Air Force
Troop medical component
The operational command of the military components reports to the Personnel Department for Operations and Training under the Ministry of Defense, which is headed by the Assistant Chiefs of Departments Committee for Operations and Training, and the Minister of Defense.


Emergency Numbers

Fire 100

Police 101

Ambulance 100



Historically, Belgium was part of the area known as the Low Countries, a region somewhat larger than the modern Benelux, which also included parts of northern France and western Germany. The name of the country comes from the ethnonym of the Celtic tribe - Belgi, which gave the name to the Roman province of Belgica (lat. Gallia Belgica), formed in 16 BC.


History of Belgium

The name of the state comes from the name of the Belga tribe, of Celtic origin, who inhabited this territory at the beginning of our era. In 54 BC e. the region in northern Gaul, corresponding to modern Belgium, was conquered by the troops of Julius Caesar (from the notes of the consul about the Gallic war: “half of the Belgians were killed, the rest became slaves ...”). After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the V century, the Roman province of Gaul was conquered by the Germanic tribes of the Franks, who created their kingdom here.

In the Middle Ages, Belgium was part of the Duchy of Burgundy.

1477-1556 - the dynastic marriage of Mary of Burgundy introduced Burgundy into the Holy Roman Empire.
1556-1713 - as part of Spain. The eighty-year war marked the beginning of the separation of Belgium from the Protestant Netherlands.
1713-1792 - as part of the Holy Roman Empire as the Austrian Netherlands.
1792-1815 - as part of France.
1815-1830 - as part of the Netherlands according to the decision of the Vienna Congress. However, many in Belgium were unhappy with the forcible unification with the Netherlands (primarily the French-speaking population and the Catholic clergy, who were afraid of the increasing role of the Dutch language and the Protestant denomination, respectively).
September 23, 1830 - the Belgian revolution, and in the same year, Belgium withdrew from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and gained independence. Belgium becomes a neutral kingdom led by Leopold I (king since 1831).
In the XIX century, the country's economy developed very intensively. Belgium became the first country in continental Europe to build a railway (Mechelen-Brussels, 1835).

At the end of the 19th century, Belgium became a colonial power. In 1885-1908, the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) was the property of the Belgian King Leopold II (under the name "Independent State of the Congo").

At the end of the 19th century, Belgium became a colonial power. In 1885-1908, the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) was the property of the Belgian King Leopold II (under the name "Independent State of the Congo"). The exploitation of the colony was one of the significant sources of capital accumulation and the development of industry in Belgium. Since 1908, the colony has received the name Belgian Congo (the King transfers his possession to Belgium).

Belgium suffered greatly during the First World War, which is still called the “Great War” in this country. Although most of the country was occupied, throughout the war, Belgian and English troops held a small part of the country, sandwiched between the North Sea and the Isère River.

The history of the city of Ypres is tragic - during the war it was almost completely destroyed, for the first time in the history of wars, poisonous gas (chlorine) was used. Applied two years later, mustard gas was named after this city.

On April 3, 1925, an agreement was concluded between Belgium and the Netherlands on the revision of the 1839 agreement. The abolition of the long neutrality of Belgium and the demilitarization of the port of Antwerp.

1940-1944 During the Second World War, the Germans occupied Belgium. The government flees to England, King Leopold III is deported to Germany, he signed the act of surrender on May 28, 1940. The introduction of Belgian German military command under the command of General von Falkenhausen. On September 3, 1944, British troops liberated Brussels. On February 11, 1945, a government was formed, led by the right-wing socialist van Acker.

April 4, 1949 - Belgium joins NATO.

1957 - Belgium joins the European Economic Community (EEC).

July 31, 1993 - King Baudouin passed away; his younger brother, Albert II, inherited the throne.

2001 - the birth of the first child at the Crown Prince Philip and his wife Matilda, a continuation of the dynasty.

2003 - as a result of the parliamentary elections, Guy Verhofstadt becomes Prime Minister again.

In 2003, Belgium became the second state in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (after the Netherlands).

January 12, 2006 - Belgium is chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme resigned on December 19, 2008 due to a scandal over the sale of Fortis, the largest Belgian financial company. Herman van Rompuy, leader of the Flemish Christian Democratic Party, took over as prime minister. The new government of Herman van Rompuy included representatives of the same five political parties led by his predecessor. On June 13, 2010, early parliamentary elections were held, but the formation of the government did not happen. Belgium celebrated 540 days without a government, thus setting a world record. On December 6, 2011, a new cabinet headed by Elio di Rupo took the oath to the king.


Foreign relations of Belgium

On July 25, 1921, the Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Union was created. The Netherlands later joined the union. In 1932, the countries entered into a tripartite agreement on the gradual reduction of economic and customs barriers.

The Treaty Establishing the Benelux Customs Union was signed on 5 September 1944 by the deported governments of the three countries in London and entered into force in 1948. The union lasted until November 1, 1960, when it was replaced by the Benelux Economic Union as a result of the signing of the treaty in The Hague on February 3, 1958.

On April 4, 1949, Belgium became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), headquartered in Brussels.

On April 18, 1951, Belgium, together with five European countries, signed the Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

In 1957, six states, including Belgium, established the European Economic Community (EEC, Common Market), officially renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993, and the European Atomic Energy Community.

In 1964 Belgium joined the Group of Ten.

The Schengen Agreement was originally signed on June 14, 1985 by five European states (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany), it entered into force on March 26, 1995.

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) supervisory body and the European Commission are headquartered in Brussels. The European Parliament holds plenary sessions in Strasbourg and Brussels. The Economic and Social Committee, an advisory body of the EU, meets once a month in Brussels. Plenary sessions of the EU Committee of the Regions are held in Brussels 5 times a year.

Belgium joined the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in June 2007.


Public holidays

Belgium has 12 official public holidays. Two of them always fall on a Sunday.

New Year January 1
Easter is changing
Easter Monday 1st Monday after Easter
Labor Day May 1
Ascension of the Lord 6th Thursday after Easter
Holy Trinity Day 7th Sunday after Easter
Holy Spirit Day 8th Monday after Easter
Belgian National Day 21 July
Ascension of Our Lady 15 August
All Saints Day November 1
Armistice Day November 11
Christmas December 25

July 21 is the National Day of Belgium, the main holiday of the country. It was on this day in 1831 that Leopold I swore an oath to the Belgian parliament of loyalty to the constitution. On this day, a military parade (Grand Place) is held in Brussels, and a major street dance and music festival is held in Ghent.


Unofficial holidays celebrated in Belgium

Epiphany January 6
Valentine's Day February 14
Day of the Flemish Community in Belgium 11 July
French Community Day in Belgium 27 September
Day of All the Faithful Departed November 2
Day of the German Community in Belgium 15 November
Feast of the King November 15
Saint Nicholas Day December 6


Sports in Belgium

Football and cycling are the most popular sports among Belgians. Belgian goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff is recognized as one of the greatest goalkeepers in football history. Belgian Eddy Merckx is considered one of the world's greatest cyclists. He has 5 Tour de France victories to his credit and a large number of other cycling awards. His hourly speed record was set in 1972 and held the top spot for 12 years. Belgium has given the sport two tennis players who quickly took first place in the world, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, and many other medal-winning athletes.

Belgium hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix in the town of Spa, the Belgian circuit is one of the most famous in the world and is liked by both racers and fans. Belgian racing drivers are also known: Jacky Ickx, Thierry Boutsen, Bertrand Gachot, Francois Duval, Olivier Gendebian and many others.

In 1920, the Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp.

Belgium hosts many famous international cycling competitions such as:
Ronde van Vlaanderen
La Fleche Wallonne
Gent Wevelgem
In 2000, the European Football Championship was held in Belgium and the Netherlands.

In 2018, at the World Cup in Russia, the Belgian team took 3rd place. At the European Championships in 2021 (Euro 2020), Belgium lost in the quarterfinals to Italy, the eventual winners of the tournament.