Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 km2 and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.
Belgium a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region.
Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, and the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons. The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual (French and Dutch), although French is the dominant language.
Historically, Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that also included parts of northern France and western Germany. Its name is derived from the Latin word Belgica, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica
Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is also a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO, and a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with very high standards of living, quality of life, healthcare, education and is categorized as " one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world.
Unique Ghent exudes history while serving up an interesting cultural cocktail brimming over with trendy, modern urban life. Ghent is a city for people who love life; nothing is required, anything is possible; a city on a personal scale. The agreeable, hospitable Ghent locals know what the good life is all about. During your visit to Ghent, make sure to stop in and admire the world-famous masterpiece ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by the Van Eyck brothers.
Naturally, a city like Ghent won’t be summed up in just a few figures. You’ve got to see,hear, taste, and experience Ghent. ‘Nie pleuje!’ (never give up) is the motto of many a Ghent local.
There have been many courageous men and women in Ghent that have fought for their ideals throughout history. Some have been given statues while others have fallen through the cracks of time. Walk through Ghent’s inner city and you’ll immediately understand why it’s received so many tourism awards and international praise. Now here else will you be able to flit so quickly from the 14th to the 21st century (and back again) without ever feeling like something didn’t fit.
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE FIGURES, GHENT FROM 1 TO 9
- “Nie pleuje!” (which is local dialect for never give up, persevere). “De Gentse feesten” is a festival for people who never give up. Every year, it provides 765.000 m² of party fun for 1.300.000 visitors.
- Spicy Ghent. Ghent locals love to eat “uufflakke” head cheese or brawn, a local speciality) with mustard. Every year, 69.000 pots Tierenteyn-Verlent-mosterd are sold in Ghent.
- Divine glow: “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”, is visited 170.000 times a year by people from all over the world.
- Ghent gets you rolling. The city loves bicycles, and thi love is mutual. Ghent rents out 11.500 urban bicycles a year.
- Stubborn troublemakers: Ghent police forces catch 1.800 people urinating every year
- Vibrant Ghent, a city full of students Ghent has 74.000 enthusiastic, and perpetual ;-), students
- Ghent isn’t nicknamed the “medieval Manhattan” for nothing. Ghent has 3 monuments listed as UNESCO world heritage sites.
- Ghent locals are bon vivants. Life and food are good in Ghent. Ghent just happens to have 734 restaurants.
- Yes, Ghent is full of ‘wippers’ and ‘vuile taloren’ (ask Mrs Temmerman at the confectionery what thes words mean). Come ‘sneukelen’ (otherwise known as satisfying your sweet tooth) in Ghent. You will find 100 different types of candy from days gone by in the Temmerman authentic confectionery shop on the Kraanlei.