Belgium - Unraveling the Charms of Medieval Towns and Exquisite Delights
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country located in Western Europe and is a member of the European Union. It is home to the headquarters of the European Union and some other international organizations like NATO. The country covers an area of 30,528 square kilometers, with a population of approximately 11.4 million people.
Dutch-speaking Flemings, who make up the majority, reside in the northern region of Belgium, bordering the Germanic world, while French-speaking Walloons and a small German-speaking community live in the country.
Belgium has a federal state structure, consisting of the Flemish Region where Dutch is the official language, the Walloon Region where French is used, and the Brussels-Capital Region where both languages are official.
The Walloon Region enjoys self-governance in some areas, and the linguistic diversity and associated political and cultural conflicts have influenced Belgian history and its administrative system.
Naming and History of Belgium
The name "Belgium" originated from Gallia Belgica in the far north of the Roman province of Gaul, where the Belgae people, a mix of Celtic and Germanic tribes, lived. Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, covering a significant portion of the Benelux region.
Belgium was a center of commercial and cultural prosperity from the late Middle Ages until the early 17th century, witnessing numerous battles in Europe from the 16th century until the Belgian Revolution in 1830. It was then affected by both World Wars and experienced a resurgence after World War II.
Upon independence, Belgium actively participated in the Industrial Revolution and established several colonies in Africa during the 20th century. The second half of the 20th century saw tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemish and French-speaking Walloons, along with uneven economic development between the Flemish and Wallonia regions, leading to a series of reforms from a unitary state to a federal state.
Geography and Regions
Belgium shares borders with France (620 km), Germany (167 km), Luxembourg (148 km), and the Netherlands (450 km), covering an area of 33,990 square kilometers with inland waterways and 30,528 square kilometers excluding inland waters.
The country is divided into three main geographical regions: the coastal plains in the northwest forming the Anglo-Belgian Basin, the Ardennes terrain forming part of the South East Herve Hill region, and the Central Plateau. The third geographical region lies in the southern tip of the country, known as Belgian Lorraine.
Belgium has a temperate maritime climate with rainfall throughout the year. The average minimum temperature in January is 3 degrees Celsius, while the average maximum temperature in June is 19 degrees Celsius. Average rainfall ranges from 54 mm in February and April to 78 mm in July.
Tourism in Belgium and Top Tourist Attractions
Grand Place (Grote Markt):
The Grand Place gained its importance from the surrounding buildings with remarkable architectural designs. Read more
Mini-Europe Park showcases historical landmarks of Europe in miniature form. Read more
Cinquantenaire Park is known for its distinctive arch and fountain, allowing visitors to climb up and enjoy panoramic views. Read more
Royal Palace of Brussels:
The Royal Palace houses separate libraries for the King and Queen and an office for government officials. Read more
Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries:
This is a collection of interconnected commercial shopping arcades with glass paneling. Read more
Royal Greenhouses of Laeken:
The Royal Greenhouses gather a beautiful and rare variety of plants that may not grow in any other place. Read more
Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral:
Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral, established in the 15th century AD, was named after the patron saints. Read more
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium:
The museum is divided into four sections: National Archaeology, Ancient Civilizations, European Arts and Decorative Arts. Read more
Bois de la Cambre:
Bois de la Cambre is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike due to its scenic views. Read more
Choco-Story - The Chocolate Museum and Cocoa:
The unique museum idea was initiated by the wife of the famous Belgian chocolatier Joseph Draps, the founder of Godiva. Read more
|Binary code||Triple code||Phone code||Population|
|name||native name||Binary code||Triple code|