belgium castle

Flag of Belgium

Country Kingdom of Belgium                Link to map of Belgium
Continent Europe
Capital Brussels
Population 11,323,973 (July, 2015 est.) with area about the size of Maryland
Language Brussels is officially bilingual (Dutch and French), with Flanders speaking Dutch and Wallonia mostly speaking French.  A small area of Wallonia officially speaks German.  Several other languages, including Belgian dialects of French and Dutch, are also spoken but are not official.
Religion Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%
Terrain flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Sports Football (Soccer), golf, track and field, basketball, swimming, volleyball, table tennis, tennis, badminton, hockey, judo, and motor sports are the popular sports.

Krachtbal – a team sport from Flanders, where points are scored by throwing the ball using a neck or back throw into the opponent’s goal area, is a traditional sport.

The Belgian football team placed 4th in the 1986 FIFA World Cup

Animals Most animals can be found in the Ardennes, which consists of a mix of deciduous and coniferous forest. Animals commonly found in the Ardennes include wild boars, deer, wildcats, and pheasants.

Elsewhere in Belgium, several bird species can be found, such as sandpipers and snipes, along with muskrats and hamsters.

Facts of Interest Voting is compulsory.

Brussels is the seat of the European Union and NATO.

Brussels is within 1,000 km (~620 miles) of most West European capitals

Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830.

Flanders is the northern, Dutch speaking area populated by Flemings.

Wallonia is the southern, French speaking area populated by Walloons.

“Belgium” derives from Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribal confederation that inhabited an area between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine in the first centuries, B.C.

Belgium has hundreds of castles (“château” or “kasteel”)

Belgian chocolate and beer!  Delicious!

Concerns Leaders of the Paris terrorist attack came from Molenbeek, a city in Belgium

Some believe that the disassociation of immigrants in Molenbeek is partially a result of lack of assimilation into Belgian society.  Belgium has a word, “allochtonen”, which means “originating from another country” and can be a label given to a person generations after the first immigrants.

Sources,, “The Near=Impossibility of Assimilation in Belgium” (by Chika Unigwe, The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 23, 2015),,,