is situated in the west of Europe, bordered to the north by the
Netherlands, to the east by Germany and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
and to the south and the west by France. Although its surface
area of 32,545 km2 makes it a small country, its location has
made it the economic and urban centre of Europe."
currency was the Belgium franc, until the beginning of 2002,
now it is the Euro. Twelve Member States of the European Union
are participating in the common currency. They are: Belgium,
Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The
Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland.
geography of Belgium shows it to have three major areas: lower
Belgium (up to 100m above sea level), central Belgium (between
100 and 200m above sea level) and upper Belgium (from 200 to
over 500m above sea level).
Belgium begins in the west at the coast, with beaches and dunes
which extends in a straight line for 65 km. Inland from the coast
lie the "polders". This flat and fertile land used
to suffer from flooding by the sea in the past but is now totally
dry, thanks to the sluices which protect it from tidal erosion.
Between the western polders, the Leie and the Scheldt, are the
Flemish lowlands, a sandy region which is hilly in places such
as the Kemmelberg and the Kluisberg. The Kempen lie in the east
of the country. The soil in the Kempen is poor and the landscape
comprises conifer woods, heathlands, ponds, marshes, pastures
and corn fields.
the Flemish lowlands and the Kempen, gradually rising to the
Sambre and Meuse valleys, lies central Belgium, with its low
and very fertile clay plateaus. The heavily urbanised Brabant
has its own lush green carpet, the forest of Soignes, a forest
area and a remnant of the earlier Forest of Cologne, which covered
a large part of the country in Roman times. Furthermore, central
Belgium boasts Hainaut in the west and Hesbaye in the east, both
fertile areas with large farms and extensive fields and pastures.
Belgium, the most sparsely populated and densely wooded part
of the country, begins south of the Sambre and the Meuse at the
Condroz plateau, a fertile area which is regarded primarily as
a tourist attraction on account of the beautiful valleys of the
Meuse and the Ourthe and its numerous historical monuments. Between
the Vesder and the Meuse lies the Country of Herve which due
to its rich clay soil is suitable for grazing and cattle rearing.
To the south of the Condroz lies the area of Fagnes and Famenne,
which, although a poor agricultural region, is well known for
its many mysterious caves, the most interesting examples being
those at Han-sur-Lesse and Remouchamps. Further to the south
are the Ardennes, a region alternating between a magnificent,
wooded area with natural beech forests and specially grown fir
trees, and plateaus and deep valleys. The Ardennes are a natural
tourist attraction, and its southernmost part, Belgian Lorraine,
has a milder climate than the rest of the country
Brussels Capital Region: 959.318 (jan 2000)
is not only the capital of Belgium but also the seat of the European
Commission and the administrative capital of Europe. However,
the city has retained its typical character, a sort of individuality
resulting from it being a melting pot of cultures over the past
centuries. The legendary "Mannekin Pis" stands as a
symbol of the roguish nature of the Brussels city dweller, a
mixture of the French 'savoir vivre' and the Flemish good-naturedness.
streets around the "Grand Place" abound with typical
Brussels bonhomie, and the restaurants offer delicacies that
will please even the most discriminating gourmet. One can breathe
in the effervescent Brussels atmosphere in all kinds of market
places, such as the famous bird market at the Grand Place, the
flea market in the popular Marolles area and the antiques market
at the Grand Sablon.
houses which surround the Brussels' Grand Place are known as
some of the most beautiful baroque facades in Europe, reminding
one of the power of the earlier guilds. Brussels has more than
a hundred museums, amongst them the Museum of Ancient Art where
the works of Rubens and Van Dijck are exhibited, and the Museum
of Modern Art containing 19th and 20th century paintings and
sculptures. Brussels is above all the mecca of Art Nouveau and
© All about Belgium
me at the Grand Place, in Bruxelles (Brussels), capital of Belgium.
A very beautiful place with many ancient buildings and churches
with beautiful baroque facades. A place everyone should visit
of a church at La Grand Place.
of the entrance of the church.
Pis, in Brussels. I often saw it on postcards and thought it
was a large statue. I was surprised to see it`s a very small