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Belgium - Introduction


Introduction to Belgium

The Medieval houses of Markt, Bruges

If Belgium's spotlight on the European stage is a little dim, it's only because its people are rarely boastful. This slow-burning country has more history, art, food and architecture packed into its tiny self than many of its bigger, louder neighbours.

Full country name: Kingdom of Belgium
Area: 30,510 sq km
Population: 10.3 million
Capital City: Brussels (pop: 970,000)
People: 55% Flemish, 33% Walloons (French Latin) and about 10% foreigners.
Language: Dutch, French, German
Religion: 75% Roman Catholic
Government: federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch
Head of State: King Albert II
Head of Government: Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt
GDP: US$299.7 billion
GDP per capita: US$29,000
Annual Growth: 2.8%
Inflation: 2.2%
Major Industries: Services, agriculture, chemicals, engineering, metal products, car manufacturing, iron and steel, textiles and food
Major Trading Partners: EU (esp. Germany, France, Netherlands, UK), USA
Member of EU: yes

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