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Belgium profile
crossroads of Western Europe;

most West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
Belgium history
Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. Its capital, Brussels, is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.
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Conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium

Conventional short form: Belgium

Local long form: Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie

Local short form: Belgique/Belgie
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Belgium's capital city is Brussels
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Belgium Constitution:

drafted 25 November 1830;

approved by a Belgium National Congress 7 February 1831;

entered into force 26 July 1831;

amended many times;

revised 14 July 1993 to create a federal state;

in 1967 an official Dutch version of the constitution was adopted;

in 1991 an official German version of the constitution was adopted;

in 1993 an official consolidated version of the constitution was adopted
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Belgium population growth rate: 0.061%
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Belgium highest point: Botrange 694 m
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Belgium lowest point: North Sea 0 m
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About 27% of Belgium's land is arable.
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Scheldt River is the Longest River in Belgium
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Belgium birth rate is 10 births/1,000 population
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Belgium infant mortality rate is 4 deaths/1,000 live births
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Belgium fertility rate is 1.65 children born/woman
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Belgium climate:

temperate;

mild winters, cool summers;

rainy, humid, cloudy
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Top 10 cities of Belgium with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Antwerp: 502,604
2. Ghent: 248,242
3. Charleroi: 203,871
4. Li├Ęge: 195,576
5. Brussels: 166,647
6. Schaerbeek: 127,747
7. Bruges: 117,170
8. Anderlecht: 111,279
9. Namur: 110,096
10. Leuven: 97,656
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Belgium ethnic groups:

Fleming - 58%
Walloon - 31%
mixed or other - 11%
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Belgium Exports:

machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
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Belgium Imports:

raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
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bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate or Senaat in Dutch, Senat in French (71 seats; 40 members directly elected by popular vote, 31 indirectly elected; members serve four-year terms) and a Chamber of Deputies or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers in Dutch, Chambre des Representants in French (150 seats; members directly elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
3 regions (French: regions, singular - region; Dutch: gewesten, singular - gewest)

1. Brussels-Capital Region, also known as Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Dutch), Region de Bruxelles-Capitale (French long form), Bruxelles-Capitale (French short form)

2. Flemish Region (Flanders), also known as Vlaams Gewest (Dutch long form), Vlaanderen (Dutch short form), Region Flamande (French long form), Flandre (French short form)

3. Walloon Region (Wallonia), also known as Region Wallone (French long form), Wallonie (French short form), Waals Gewest (Dutch long form), Wallonie (Dutch short form)
Political parties and leaders:
Flemish parties:

Christian Democratic and Flemish (CDV) - Wouter BEKE
Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD) - Alexander DE CROO
Groen! - Wouter VAN BESIEN (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens)
Libertarian, Direct, Democratic (LDD) (formerly Dedecker's List) - Jean-Marie DEDECKER
New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) - Bart DE WEVER
Social Progressive Alternative (SP.A) - Bruno TOBBACK
Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) (VB) - Gerolf ANNEMANS

Francophone parties:

Ecolo (Francophone Greens) - Olivier DELEUZE, Emily HOYOS
Humanist and Democratic Center (CDH) - Benoit LUTGEN
Popular Party (PP) - Mischael MODRIKAMEN
Reform Movement (MR) - Charles MICHEL
Socialist Party (PS) - Thierry GIET

other minor parties