Belgian way of life, the formidable beer, the extraordinary cuisine are
features that immediately come to mind when thinking of this country. Belgium
has many other facets to offer.
The four cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent are downright
exciting, and each in its own way. Bruges, for example, is one of the most
beautiful medieval cities in Europe. Not to forget the Brussels lace and the
wonderful chocolate products and delicious pralines.
As the cradle of the European unification process and above all as the seat
of international institutions, the country, particularly noticeable in its
capital Brussels, plays in the top league of political processes, especially of
course the EU. Belgian personalities of the 20th century, under the impression
of two world wars that hit the small country hard, had a decisive influence on
the pursuit of peace. Nevertheless, the country was also torn apart by internal
political disputes, such as the language dispute between Walloons and
Flemings. In the recent past, the citizens' trust in their state has been
severely damaged by allegations of corruption and the interdependence of
politics, business and crime. The trial of the child murderer Dutroux showed
this very clearly.
But the language dispute between the Walloon part in the south and the Flemish
part in the north is increasingly paralyzing and dividing the country. The
Flemish part includes the cities of Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Leuven and Hasselt,
with Brussels taking a special position. In the French-speaking Walloon part
there are Mons, Wavre, Liège, Namur and Arlon, among others. Unemployment in the
Walloon part is twice as high at 10.7% compared to Flanders at 5%.
At the end of April 2010, Belgium became the first EU country to pass a law that
makes wearing the burqa - i.e. a full body covering - in public and in public
buildings a criminal offense.
On July 31, 1917, a battle began in Belgium in the region around the village
of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres. It ended on November
6, 1917 with the capture of Passchendaele and was one of the bloodiest fighting
of the entire First World War. The British alone complained about 250,000 deaths
and 40,000 soldiers died on the German side.
On the 100th anniversary of the fighting, Prince Charles, William and Kate from
Great Britain as well as Federal Foreign Minister Gabriel from Germany and
Belgium's King Philip met with Queen Mathilde in a nearby military cemetery to
commemorate the dead.
As a sign of reconciliation, Kate and Queen Mathilde also laid flowers on the
graves of German fallen soldiers.
|Name of the country
||Kingdom of Belgium (Koninkrijk België - Royaume de Belgique)
|Form of government
||Western Europe, with access to the North Sea
|Head of state
||King Philippe (since July 21, 2013)
||approx. 11 million (Credit:
||Flemings around 58%, Walloons 40% and around 60,000 German speakers
||Catholics (approx. 8 million), Protestants (approx. 75,000),
Orthodox (approx. 40,000),
Muslims (approx. 400,000), Jews (approx. 35,000)
||French (40%), Flemish (49%) and German (1%)
||Signal de Botrange with a height of 694 m
||Meuse with a length of 933 km
|International license plate
|Time difference to CET
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||230 volts, 50 hertz
|Internet Top Level Domain (TLD)
Actually, the history of Belgium in the narrower sense only begins with the
foundation of the state in 1830. In the centuries before that one can only speak
of provinces that can be understood as parts of the Netherlands. These provinces
have a long political tradition on which the state of Belgium is based. It was
not without reason that the establishment of a federal state in 1993 was able to
pacify the long-lasting conflicts between Walloons and Flemings.
Before the year 1000
Abbreviationfinder website, in the centuries before the turn of the times, a Germanic-Celtic mixed
population settled in the northeastern part of Gaul, who Julius Caesar in the
course of the conquest in 57 BC. Chr. The term Belgae summarized. The
area became the Roman province "gallia belgica" and over time it was
romanised. Everyone who has learned Latin in school will certainly remember the
beginning of Julius Caesar's "De bello Gallico":
"Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae,
aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli Appellantur. Hi
omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt. Gallos from Aquitanis
Garumna flumen, a BelgisMatrona et Sequana dividit. Horum
omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae,... "
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the region developed from the Lower
Rhine after the immigration of the Franks (West Germanic peoples) from the Lower
Rhine to the core area of the emerging Franconian Empire. Chlodio, the founder
of the Merovingian dynasty, made 440 AD. Tournay became the capital of his
empire, from where the development of the Frankish Empire began, which in its
heyday under Charlemagne, who was born near Liège, encompassed large parts of
Western and Central Europe Christianization began in the 5th century and was
completed in the 7th century
After the fall of the Franconian Empire, numerous counties, bishoprics and
abbeys were formed.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
In the aftermath of the High Middle Ages, the region became part of Burgundy
until the Habsburgs took over the area in 1477. From the area, Charles V formed
the "Burgundian Circle", one of 10 districts of the German Empire. It concerns a
total of 17 new provinces from former German and French fiefs, which received
their own parliament in the district and were no longer responsible to the
Reichstag. They were only liable for taxes to the emperor.
As a result of the Eighty Years' War that broke out in 1568, the region was
divided. The cause was the brutal repressive regime that the son of Charles V
(1500-1558), Phillip II (1527-1598) of Spain, by his administrator Fernando
Álvarez de Toledo, known as the Duke of Alba (1507-1582), in the Netherlands
installed. With the help of the Inquisition, the prevailing Protestantism should
be suppressed, which the provinces resisted. One of the deciding factors was
that the arch-Catholic Phillip II was a thorn in the side of the Flemish cities'
relative independence in the face of emerging absolutism. In 1581 the northern
provinces declared themselves independent as the "Republic of the Seven United
Netherlands". This gave rise to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The southern
provinces continued to be part of the country".
In the 18th and 19th centuries
In 1780 the "United Belgian States" declared themselves independent. In 1794
they were annexed by France. The region was assigned to the Netherlands after
Napoleon's defeat at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. This caused considerable
unrest within the Belgian provinces. In 1830, after an opera performance - in
the homeland and the freedom of the Neapolitans from Spain played a role - an
uprising broke out in Brussels, which led to the declaration of independence on
October 4, 1830. The newly formed kingdom elected Leopold von Sachsen-Coburg as
King Leopold I (1790-1865). he ruled as the first Belgian king from 1831 to
1865. He had to take an oath on the constitution and accept the parliamentary
system, the sovereignty of the people and the fundamental rights of the
As the cradle of industrialization in Wallonia, the strength of the Flemish
trading cities and territorial possessions in Africa (Belgian Congo), the
country developed into a prosperous nation.
In the 20th century, Belgium became the scene of two world wars. In 1914,
during World War I, German troops marched into neutral Belgium
without a declaration of war in order to bypass the strong French border
fortifications. However, the "Schlieffenplan" of the German generals failed, so
that Flanders became the site of the brutal positional war. Many cities were
destroyed in the process. As compensation after Germany's defeat in 1918,
Belgium annexed the Eupen-Malmedy area from the German Empire.
In World War IIthe process repeated. German troops occupied
Belgium on May 10, 1940 in order to bypass the French fortifications (Maginot
Line). The so-called "sickle cut" (similar to the "Schlieffen Plan"), which also
succeeded through technical advances in the area of mobility. 1944/45, during
the reconquest by the Allies in the "Battle of the Ardennes", the decisive blow
on the western front against the German troops took place instead of.
After the extremely cruel war in Belgian Congo, which led to the colony's
independence in 1960, Belgium moved its foreign policy to the headquarters of
NATO and the EU. The role of Belgium, the USA (CIA) and the Belgian royal family
under Bauduin in the murder of the Congolese freedom fighter Patrice
Lumumba1960, which then became the idol of the African striving for
independence, has not yet been fully clarified. Domestically, the post-war
period was marked by great tensions between the French-speaking Walloons and the
Flemings. The Walloons initially set the tone due to the industrial strength of
their region through mining. The decline of the mining industry and the
strengthening of Flanders with Brussels (development of the tertiary economic
sector) are the main reasons for the disagreement. Only the constitutional
reform of 1993 was able to bring about a certain calm.
The royal house has a stabilizing and unifying effect. With Albert II as king,
the competing forces have held together since 1993.
Another domestic political problem is the strong interdependence of politics
within the federal government. The scandal surrounding child abuse, which was
heavily featured in the media, should also not be underestimated.