Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Political divisions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. Its capital, Brussels, is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

Other Information

Natural Resources

construction materials, silica sand, carbonates

Land Use

arable land: 27.06%
permanent crops: 0.72%
other: 72.22%
note: includes Luxembourg (2011)


10,449,361 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84

Ethnic Groups

Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%


Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%


Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)



Government Type

federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy


4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)

National Holiday

21 July (1831) ascension to the Throne of King LEOPOLD I