A map of Belgium Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (also known as "Benelux") make up the Low countries, so-called because of the low-lying land along the Belgian and Dutch coastline. Most of the country has a mild, temperate climate: summers are warm while winters can be quite cold. Coastal areas are sometimes humid and misty. Belgium is a country of two halves. The Dutch-speaking northern part, known as Flanders, home to about 60% of the population, is flat and fertile, while the French-speaking southern part, Wallonia, with around 40% of the population, is mainly made up of a hilly region called the Ardennes.
Belgium’s capital Brussels—largely French-speaking, but located in Flanders—is also the capital of the European Union (EU) and headquarters for NATO. Today, most Belgians work in service industries such as business, healthcare and education. The industrial heart of the country, since the decline of mining and steelworking in the Sambre and Meuse valley, is the Flemish Diamond, an area that includes the cities of Brussels, Ghent (Gent), Antwerp (Antwerpen), Leuven and Mechelen which has a high concentration of modern manufacturing industries. After Rotterdam, Antwerp is the second busiest port in Europe, by ship tonnage.
Belgium is one of Europe’s most densely-populated countries. Only the Netherlands has more people per square kilometre.
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