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Basic Facts
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
conventional short form: Belgium
local long form: Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie
local short form: Belgique/Belgie
Gevernment typefederal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Capital name: Brussels
geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Flag descriptionthree equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the design was based on the flag of France
Currencyeuro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Internet country code.be
Ports and terminalsAntwerp, Brussels, Gent, Liege, Oostende, Zeebrugge
Agriculture productssugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Industriesengineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
Geography
LocationWestern Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Coordinates50 50 N, 4 00 E
ContinentEurope
Area total: 30,528 sq km
land: 30,278 sq km
water: 250 sq km
Boundaries total: 1,385 km
border countries: France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km
Coastline66.5 km
Climatetemperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Terrainflat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Natural resourcesconstruction materials, silica sand, carbonates
Natural hazardsflooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
People
Population10,379,067 (July 2006 est.)
Ethnic groupsFleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
ReligionsRoman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25%
LanguagesDutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)

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