Belgium

PUBLISHED : 4th May, 2019
LAST MODIFIED : 7th May, 2019
MANAGED BY : RUBEN ALEXANDER

 

Federal districts 
Belgium is divided into three federal districts, each with its own parliament. Two of these (Flanders and Wallonia) are divided into five provinces each:
Brussels Capital Region
Flanders - The Dutch-speaking, northern part of Belgium is home to the coast and most of the country's well-known historic towns and cities. While the middle of Flanders is densely populated, there are extensive forests and heaths in the Kempen region in the east.
Wallonia - The French-speaking, southern part of Belgium can roughly be divided into two parts: the so-called sillon industriel that developed between the 'big' cities along the valleys of the Sambre, Meuse and Vesdre rivers in the 19th century, and the sparsely populated regions noted for their natural scenery to the south of these rivers.
Cities & towns in Belgium 
Brussels - The capital of Belgium and the European Union

Though the municipality of Brussels only has about 180,000 inhabitants, the built up area of Brussels extends well beyond borders of the Brussels Capital Region.
Antwerp - The biggest town in Flanders, site of Europe's second largest port and center for the diamond industry, Antwerp is a historic city as well as the most fashionable town in Belgium.

Population: 523,248 Aglomeration: +/- 1,000,000
Liège - The center of Wallonia's biggest aglomeration, this city on the Meuse river is the region's main center for education, employement and culture. Though it has a rough, industrial edge, it is also a city of many surprises. Those who take their time to explore it will discover over a 1000 years of history in its winding backstreets. They will also discover a lively city with an almost mediterranean atmosphere and active nightlife.

Population: 197,355 Aglomeration; +/- 500,000
Ghent - The capital of east Flanders can easily compete with the most beautiful cities in Europe. In some places, you can stop in front of each houses like you would for paintings in a museum. Not to mention its many medieval towers. It is also a student city, and unlike nearby Bruges,, a living city rather than a museum.

Population: 260, 341
Charleroi - A post-industrial city most known for Brussels South Charleroi Airport, Charleroi has long had a bad name for unemployment and urban decay. Though a paradise for urban explorers, it also offers interesting architecture and surprisingly good restaurants.

Population: 201,593, Aglomeration: +- 400,000
Bruges
Namur - The capital of Wallonia, Namur is a picturesque little town dominated by its citadel at the confluence of the Meuse and Samber rivers.

Population: 110,939
Leuven
Mons
Mechelen
Natural regions of Belgium
The area between the cities of Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, to the north of the middle of Belgium, is the most densely populated part of the country. The north and west of Belgium is mostly made up of flat lowlands, and the landscape generally gets higher and more hilly the further south and east you go. The lowest parts of the country are the polders (areas with controlled water levels) near the North-Sea coast, while the highest parts of the country are in the Ardennes region in the east.

Major regions are:
Ardennes
Hesbaye - A region of long, rolling hills, the Hesbaye (Dutch: Haspengouw) forms the transition between lower lands to the north and the regions of steeper and higher hills to the south. Though the region is mostly made up of empty farmland, it is also dotted with small woods. The Hesbaye spans both Flanders and Wallonia the the east of the Meuse river, roughly between the cities of Liège, Hasselt, Tienen and Namur.
Campine
Major rivers in Belgium
Meuse
Scheldt
Countries and seas neighbouring Belgium
The Netherlands

North Sea

Belgium

Germany
France

Luxembourg
By Ruben Alexander

Bike ride to Borgloon

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Sint-Truiden & Landen

BELGIUM – A day trip to Sint-Truiden (FR: Saint-Trond), a town of approximately 20,000 in Belgian Limburg. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised, and that I liked it most of the towns in the region I have visited so far (Aarschot, Tienen, Hoegaarden, Tongeren, Maaseik and Hasselt, all of which I liked…

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A New Year’s Drive

BELGIUM/FRANCE – What to do on new year’s day? Party until 11 in the morning and sleep for the rest of the day? Visit family and friends? Go for a walk? Or why not go for a 1300 kilometer drive, along as few as possible motorways, and include as many as possible pointless detours? My…

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By Ruben Alexander

Suburban Liège and the Hesbay (1)

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Suburban Liège and the Hesbay

BELGIUM – Situated in the steep-sided valley of the Meuse river, the city of Liège lies at the meeting points of several distinct regions. To the north and west, the craggy landscape surrounding the valley merges with the plateau of the Hesbaye, an empty agricultural region of more gradual hills. The extensive suburbs of Liège…

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Under the High Viaduct

BELGIUM – I have long found the region of eastern Belgium just south of the Dutch border, and just west of the German border, to be particularly interesting. So close to the Netherlands, yet so different, this empty land of hills and old villages seems like time stood still, and feels strangely mysterious to me….

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Leuven

BELGIUM – Situated about 20 kilometers north east of Brussels, Leuven (FR: Louvain, population: +/- 100,000) is one of Belgium’s most important student towns. The Catholic University of Leuven (which was bilingual until the French-speaking faculties relocated to the purpose-built town of Louvain la Neuve in 1968) is the oldest and biggest university in the…

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By Ruben Alexander

In and Around Enghien

BELGIUM – Twenty five kilometers south-west of Brussels, Enghien is a small town at meeting point of various regions. Situated just on the Walloon (French-speaking) side of the border with (Dutch-speaking) Flanders, Enghien (NL: Edingen) is one of 12 officially bilingual Belgian municipalities outside of Brussels. It is also on the edge of Picardy, which…

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