An overview of the geography, people and society of Belgium.
Location: Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands.
Geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 00 E
Area: 30,528 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 141
Land: 30,278 sq km
Water: 250 sq km
Land boundaries: 1, 385 km
Border countries: France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km.
Coastline: 66.5 km
Climate: Temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid and cloudy.
Terrain: Flat coastal plains in the northwest, central rolling hills and rugged mountains of the Ardennes Forest in the south-east.
Lowest point: North Sea 0 m
Highest point: Signal de Botrange 694 m
Natural resources: Construction materials, silica sand and carbonates.
People and Society
Ethnic groups: Flemish 58 percent, Walloon 31 percent, mixed or other 11 percent.
Languages: Dutch (official) 60 percent, French (official) 40 percent, German (official) less than 1 percent. Brussels is officially a bilingual (Dutch and French) city.
Religions: Roman Catholic 75 percent, other (includes Protestant) 25 percent
Population: 10,438,353 (July 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 82
0-14 years:15.9 percent (male 846,706/female 812,486)
15-64 years: 66.1 percent (male 3,475,404/female 3,416,060)
65 years and over: 18 percent (male 783,895/female 1,096,926)
Total: 42.3 years
Male: 41 years
Female: 43.6 years
Population growth rate: 0.061 percent
Country comparison to the world: 184
Birth rate: 10.03 births/1,000 population (2012 est)
Country comparison to the world: 191
Death rate: 10.63 deaths/1,000 population (2012 est)
Country comparison to the world: 45
Major cities – population:
Brussels (capital) 1.892 million; Antwerp 961,000.
N.B. In Dutch, Brussels is Brussel and Antwerp is Antwerpen. In French, Brussels is Bruxelles and Antwerp is Anvers. Travellers to Belgium should always acquaint themselves with both the Dutch and French (and sometimes German) spellings of towns. One example of a town having three names is Liège in which the English and French names are the same, but the Dutch name is Luik and the German name is Lüttich.
Health expenditures: 11.8 percent of GDP
Country comparison to the world: 12
Doctors’ density: 2.987 doctors/1,000 population
Country comparison to the world: 41
Hospital bed density: 6.6 beds/1,000 population
Country comparison to the world: 17
Education expenditures: 6.01 percent of GDP
Country comparison to the world: 29