Belgium

Belgium FL_ICON_BEL
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Climate
Belgium has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Summer days are long with temperatures reaching 25-30°C (77-86°F) with occasional drizzly days. Winter days are short, with darkness falling around 1700. Winds blowing from the North Pole can push temperatures down to -5°C (23°F); and snow is fairly common in January. Average monthly rainfall ranges from 50 to 80 mm.

Languages
Dutch (Flemish), French and German.

Geography
Belgium is a sovereign state located in Western Europe, bordering the North Sea. Belgium shares borders with France (620 km), Germany (167 km), Luxembourg (148 km) and the Netherlands (450 km). Belgium comprises the regions of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. The main geographical regions are the coastal plain in the north-west, the central plateau, and the Ardennes uplands in the south-east. It is 30,528 km² in size.

Cuisine
Belgian cuisine has elements of neighbouring France, Germany and the Netherlands. It is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer. Belgian cuisine traditionally prizes regional and seasonal ingredients. Ingredients typical in Belgian dishes include potatoes, leeks, grey shrimp, white asparagus, Belgian endives and local beer, in addition to common European staples including meat, cheese and butter.

Demographics
The population is 10,5 million with Flemish 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%.

Transport
Belgium has well-developed road, air, rail and water networks. The rail network has 2,950 km (1,830 mi) of electrified tracks. There is 118,414 km (73,579 mi) of roads, including 1,747 km (1,086 mi) of motorways. There is a good urban rail network in Brussels, Antwerp and Charleroi. The ports of Antwerp and Bruges-Zeebrugge are two of the biggest seaports in Europe. Brussels Airport is Belgium’s biggest airport.

Economy
Belgium has excellent transportation infrastructure of ports, canals, railways, and highways to integrate its industry with that of its neighbors. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flanders in the north, around Brussels and in the two biggest Walloon cities, Liège and Charleroi. Belgium imports raw materials and semi-finished goods for further processing and re-export. Industrial sectors include steel, textiles, refining, chemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electronics, and machinery fabrication. Its GDP is 420 billion US dollars.

Major airports
Brussels – Zaventem , Brussels – Charleroi, Liège, Ostend, Antwerp.

Sports
Sport plays a prominent role in society with 13% of the population involved through some 17,000 sport clubs. Popular sports include football, cycling, tennis, table tennis, athletics, swimming, basketball, badminton, judo, hockey, motocross, motor racing, volleyball and running.