Flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Population: 10,449,361 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%
This modern, open, and private enterprise-based economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the more heavily-populated region of Flanders in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium imports substantial quantities of raw materials and exports a large volume of manufactures, making its economy vulnerable to volatility in world markets.
Belgium has no significant housing shortage and few slums. In many Belgian homes, part of the first floor is used for the family business. Common terms for this arrangement include winkelshuis (shop house) and handelshuis (business residence). Many houses have large kitchens in which closely knit Belgian families can gather.
Federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
POLITICS & NATIONAL IDENTITY (:57)
US Military Presence/Support
Belgium and the United States have been long-term allies, dating back to the mid 1800’s when the country was established. American military troops were key players in Allied victories during World War I and II, including the liberation of Belgium from Nazi German occupation in 1944. The two countries work together on economic and political issues and provide assistance to developing nations.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (1:07)
NATO and US Presence (Post WWII) (:57)