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Belgium

Belgium
2008 estimated population: 10,666,866. with a area of roughly 11,787 square miles (30,528 km2)
The Kingdom of Belgium is the founding member of the European Union and the host of its headquarters, and is a small northwestern European country that straddles the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe. “Belgium” is derived from “Gallia Belgica” – a Roman province in northwestern Gaul that was inhabited by the Belgae, a blend of Celtic and Germanic peoples. Belgium hosts two main linguistic groups, the Flemings and the French, with a very minute group of German speakers. It is also the host country to many major international organizations including NATO and the OECD. The two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north that hosts 59% of the population, and the French speaking southern region of Wallonia which is populated by 31%. The Capital region is Brussels, though bilingual, is mostly French speaking. Belgium’s linguistic diversity and related political/cultural conflicts are reflected in their complex system of government. Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg were all known as the Low Countries that were once a larger landmass than the current Benelux (Be=Belgium, NE=Netherlands, LUX=Luxembourg) group of states. Belgium prospered greatly from the end of the Middle Ages to the 17th century with commerce and culture. Continue reading Belgium

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