* Irene's Country Corner * - Around the World - Belgium


 © Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic.


© Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic. 


© Irene. Not for download.


"Belgium 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."

The national 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.

"The 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).

Lower 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.

Behind 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.

Upper 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

Population Brussels Capital Region: 959.318 (jan 2000)

Brussels 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.

The small 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.

The guild 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 Art Deco."

Text © All about Belgium

© Irene. Not for download.

That's 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 in Brussels.

In front of a church at La Grand Place.

© Irene. Not for download.

© Irene. Not for download.

Details of the entrance of the church.

At the Grand Place

© Irene. Not for download.

© Irene. Not for download.

The Mannekin 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 one. :o)




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This page was created on: February 28, 2002.
Last updated on: July 8, 2008.
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Midi: Michel Fugain's "Je n'aurai pas le temps" from Miditext. Information about Brussels from All about Belgium.
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