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The Kingdom of Belgium is located in Western Europe. It is bordered by the North Sea in the north. Like the neighboring Netherlands and Luxembourg, the independent kingdom has been part of the Benelux countries since 1830. The 11 million inhabitants of the country are 60% Flemish and 40% French Belgians, which has always lead to tension. Therefore, the country is divided into three regions: Flemish-speaking Flanders in the north, French-speaking Wallonia in the south and the centrally located capital of Brussels. In addition to French and Flemish, German is also an official language in Belgium.
Belgium was one of the founding members of the EEC and thus today some of the most important institutions in the EU, such as the European Parliament or Council of Ministers are found in Brussels. Visitors to the city of 170,000 inhabitants immediately feel the international flavor. Brussels offers a wide range of cultural attractions. The most famous include the Atomium (the landmark of the 1958 World Exhibition), the “Manneken Pis” fountain, the gothic city hall – and, last but not least, the numerous shopping malls.
When it comes to tourism, the whole country has something to offer. The holiday resorts in the north (e.g., De Haan, Zeebrugge and Brugge) attract countless vacationers each summer to the North Sea. The area is very flat and therefore also ideal for cycling holidays and tours. In the southeast of Belgium, the Ardennes reach up to a 400 meter high mountain plateau through which beautiful meandering rivers wind. The steep canyons are inviting places for canoeing, climbing and hiking. The numerous war memorials and cemeteries of the First World War are an attraction to tourists from England.
You get your money’s worth in Belgium – the country where French fries were invented – when it comes to your culinary experience. The desserts especially are known far beyond the borders of the country. Belgian chocolates are among the best in the world and the Belgian beer culture with its strong beers and tasty varieties is also famous.
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