One of the founding members of the European Union, Belgium hosts the Union’s central bodies in its capital, Brussels. About one third of the country’s population lives in the capital’s metropolitan area, which is also one of three largely autonomous regions of the country. The other two are Flanders and Wallonia. Along with the political divisions, there are also clear language barriers discernible in Belgium. The majority of the populations speaks Dutch, some 40% speak French and there is a German-speaking minority in the country’s East. However, in most cases conversations can be led bilingually everywhere in the country.

Being one of the smallest countries in Europe, Belgium is a country that can easily be explored. Bordering Germany, France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and drawing influences from all of these places, Belgium is a multicultural country with a rich history in literature, architecture, music and particularly in painting. Hosting both the NATO headquarters as well as the seat of the EU commission and European Council as well as other multinational institutions, Belgium has a steady presence in international politics.

The country’s capital Brussels is the major tourist draw. Museums, restaurants, cultural events and historic buildings attract many visitors, while others come to see the Royal Palace, the EU institutions in the European quarter or famous landmarks such as the Grand Place or the Atomium sculpture.

Apart from the region around the capital, Belgium has a range of other popular spot which thanks to the country’s location are easily accessible to large parts of the Central European population. Bruges with its outstanding historical town center is popular with visitors and Antwerp draws tourists with the bustling atmosphere of an important port town as well as with a rich cultural program.

In addition to the cities, Belgium is home to the biggest share of the Ardennes, a green region of rolling hills and dense forests that offer an abundance of outdoor opportunities for hikers, climbers, nature lovers ad many others. Moreover, Belgium has a rather short but well developed coastal line along the North Sea. Several seaside towns offer various accommodation options and access to sandy beaches.

PopulationAreaCurrencyEU memberSchengen area
11,600,00030,688 kmĀ²Euroyesyes

List of articles on Belgium:

Cities and townsSights and attractionsBackground