Indonesian Netherlands Association
Belgium PDF Print E-mail


Population : 10.444.268 inhabitants (July 2013 Est.)
Surface area : 30.528 km²
Federal capital
: Brussels
Head of State
: King Philippe (Filip Leopold Lodewijk Maria)
Prime Minister
: Elio di Rupo
National Day
: 21 July
National languages
Dutch (59%), French (41%)
The Euro (EUR)
National product
375.9 billions of EUR (2012)
Annual growth rate
-0.1 % (2012)
Time zone
GMT + 1 hour
GMT + 2 hours

Population density
342,1 inhabitants per km2 (2013 Est.)
Geographical centre
: Signal de Botrange (694 m)
10,5º Celsius
Precipitation : 852,4 mm (annual average)
Sunshine : 1585 hours (annual average)

Thanks to its central location, Belgium serves as a spring board to the European Union (EU). Its neighborsare France, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands. Brussels is the capital of Europe, the site of the headquarters of the European Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Other major international organizations, such as NATO, are also located in Brussels. As a result, Brussels is the number two city in the world (after Washington) in terms of its number of accredited journalists,and fourth in terms of the number of international meetings and seminars held there.

About 65% of the EU's economic activity is located in an area 1,500 km long and 200 km wide running from Liverpool (UK) to Genoa (Italy). Belgium is located right in the center of this area and therefore deserves to be called the hub of Europe. The country's role as a transit zone is due chiefly to the fact that 20% of Europe road traffic is performed by Belgian carriers. In addition, Antwerp is Europe's second largest port (after Rotterdam) and one of the 10 largest in the world.

Belgium occupies a surface area of 30,500 km² and has a population of 10.4 million, meaning a population density of 342 inhabitants per km². Belgium is the second most densely populated EU country after the Netherlands. Belgium accounts for 1% of the EU's total surface area and 2.7% of its population, yet its economic weight within the EU belies these figures. In 2012, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) was EUR 375,9 billion. Productivity, and therefore material prosperity, is higher in Belgium than in the rest of Europe. In 2012, per capita income was estimated at EUR 38.900, 20% above the EU average.

In 2012, Belgium's GDP could be broken down as follows: agriculture 0.7%, industry 22.3%, and services 77%. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the majority of service activities (in the private sector) are very closely linked to industrial activity. This is true of transport, advertising, financial services, engineering and maintenance services. This means that a dynamic industrial sector is crucial to the Belgian economy.

Over the last 10 years Belgium has had real economic annual growth of 2.1%, compared to 2.0% for the EU as a whole. Over the same period, prices have risen modestly in Belgium with average inflation of 1.9%, compared to 2.8% for the EU. Belgium has run a current account surplus since 1985. In 2000 this surplus totaled 3.5% of GDP, one of the highest levels in the EU. On the other hand, its performance is less positive in terms of public finances, with a high - but currently decreasing - public debt/GDP ratio (110.6% in 2000). Furthermore, like most European countries, it has a high rate of unemployment (7.4% of the active population was unemployed in 2012).

Belgium is a very open economy. Exports of goods and services accounted for nearly 76.5% of GDP in 1999, and imports nearly 73%. By way of comparison, the European average was almost 32.2% for exports and nearly 31% for imports. In 1999, the total value of exports was EUR 186.7 billion. Even though the share of services in trade relations is growing rapidly, around 70% of Belgian exports and imports still involve goods. This trade focuses very much on the European market. Half the goods exported by Belgium are sold in neighboring countries (Germany, France and the Netherlands), while one quarter go to other EU member states. Imports follow the same pattern more or less. This situation reflects Belgium's role as a hub within the EU - as mentioned above

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