Europe :: Belgium
  • Introduction :: Belgium
  • Background:

    Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. In recent years, political divisions between the Dutch-speaking Flemish of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. The capital city of Brussels is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

    BELGIUM SUMMARY: PDF
  • Geography :: Belgium
  • Location:
    Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
    Geographic coordinates:
    50 50 N, 4 00 E
    Map references:
    Europe
    Area:
    total: 30,528 sq km
    land: 30,278 sq km
    water: 250 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 141
    Area - comparative:
    about the size of Maryland
    Land boundaries:
    total: 1,297 km
    border countries (4): France 556 km, Germany 133 km, Luxembourg 130 km, Netherlands 478 km
    Coastline:
    66.5 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: geographic coordinates define outer limit
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: median line with neighbors
    Climate:
    temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
    Terrain:
    flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
    Elevation:
    mean elevation: 181 m
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: North Sea
    694 highest point: Botrange
    Natural resources:
    construction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 44.1% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 27.2% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 16.1% (2011 est.)
    forest: 22.4% (2011 est.)
    other: 33.5% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    230 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    most of the population concentrated in the northern two-thirds of the country; the southeast is more thinly populated; considered to have one of the highest population densities in the world; approximately 97% live in urban areas
    Natural hazards:
    flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
    Environment - current issues:
    intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries
    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note:
    crossroads of Western Europe; most West European capitals are within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
  • People and Society :: Belgium
  • Population:
    11,570,762 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Nationality:
    noun: Belgian(s)
    adjective: Belgian
    Ethnic groups:
    Belgian 75%, Italian 4.1%, Moroccan 3.7%, French 2.4%, Turkish 2%, Dutch 2%, other 12.8% (2011 est.)
    Languages:
    Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%
    Religions:
    Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant and other Christian 2.5%, Muslim 5%, Jewish 0.4%, Buddhist 0.3%, atheist 9.2%, none 32.6% (2009 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 17.2% (male 1,019,427 /female 970,845)
    15-24 years: 11.25% (male 664,789 /female 636,452)
    25-54 years: 39.82% (male 2,323,488 /female 2,283,533)
    55-64 years: 12.96% (male 742,842 /female 756,509)
    65 years and over: 18.78% (male 948,956 /female 1,223,921) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 54.2 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 26.2 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 28 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 3.6 (2015 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 41.5 years
    male: 40.3 years
    female: 42.7 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Population growth rate:
    0.67% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Birth rate:
    11.3 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Death rate:
    9.7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    Net migration rate:
    5.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    Population distribution:
    most of the population concentrated in the northern two-thirds of the country; the southeast is more thinly populated; considered to have one of the highest population densities in the world; approximately 97% live in urban areas
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 98% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.62% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    2.05 million BRUSSELS (capital), 1.032 million Antwerp (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth:
    28.6 years (2013 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate:
    7 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 81.2 years (2018 est.)
    male: 78.6 years (2018 est.)
    female: 83.9 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    Total fertility rate:
    1.78 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Contraceptive prevalence rate:
    66.8% (2013)

    note: percent of women aged 15-54

    Health expenditures:
    10.6% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Physicians density:
    3.01 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
    Hospital bed density:
    6.2 beds/1,000 population (2014)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 99.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 99.4% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 99.5% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0.6% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    22.1% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    Education expenditures:
    6.6% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
    total: 20 years (2014)
    male: 19 years (2014)
    female: 21 years (2014)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 20.1% (2016 est.)
    male: 21.8% (2016 est.)
    female: 18.2% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
  • Government :: Belgium
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
    conventional short form: Belgium
    local long form: Royaume de Belgique (French)/Koninkrijk Belgie (Dutch)/Koenigreich Belgien (German)
    local short form: Belgique/Belgie/Belgien
    etymology: the name derives from the Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribal confederation that inhabited an area between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine in the first centuries B.C.
    Government type:
    federal 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
    Administrative divisions:
    3 regions (French: regions, singular - region; Dutch: gewesten, singular - gewest); Brussels-Capital Region, also known as Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Dutch), Region de Bruxelles-Capitale (French long form), Bruxelles-Capitale (French short form); Flemish Region (Flanders), also known as Vlaams Gewest (Dutch long form), Vlaanderen (Dutch short form), Region Flamande (French long form), Flandre (French short form); Walloon Region (Wallonia), also known as Region Wallone (French long form), Wallonie (French short form), Waals Gewest (Dutch long form), Wallonie (Dutch short form)

    note: as a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; the 2012 sixth state reform transferred additional competencies from the federal state to the regions and linguistic communities

    Independence:
    4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands);21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
    National holiday:
    Belgian National Day (ascension to the throne of King LEOPOLD I), 21 July (1831)
    Constitution:
    history: drafted 25 November 1830, approved 7 February 1831, entered into force 26 July 1831, revised 14 July 1993 (creating a federal state) (2016)
    amendments: "revisions" proposed as declarations by the federal government in accord with the king or by Parliament followed by dissolution of Parliament and new elections; adoption requires two-thirds majority vote of a two-thirds quorum in both houses of the next elected Parliament; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)
    International law organization participation:
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship:
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belgium
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal and compulsory
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH (daughter of the monarch, born 25 October 2001)
    head of government: Prime Minister Charles MICHEL (since 11 October 2014); Deputy Prime Ministers Alexander DE CROO (since 22 October 2012), Jan JAMBON (since 11 October 2014), Kris PEETERS (since 11 October 2014), Didier REYNDERS (since 30 December 2008)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers formally appointed by the monarch
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and approved by Parliament
    Legislative branch:
    description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
    Senate or Senaat (in Dutch), Senat (in French) (60 seats; 50 members indirectly elected by the community and regional parliaments based on their election results, and 10 elected by the 50 other senators; members serve 5-year terms
    Chamber of Representatives or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (in Dutch), Chambre des Representants (in French) (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections:

    Senate - last held 3 July 2014 (next to be held in 2019)

    Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); note - elections will coincide with the EU's elections
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition men 30, women 30, percent of women 50%

    Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - N-VA 20.3%, PS 11.7%, CD&V 11.6%, Open VLD 9.8%, MR 9.6%, SP.A 8.8%, Groen 5.3%, CDH 5% PTB 3.7%, VB 3.7%, Ecolo 3.3%, Defi 1.8%, PP 1.5%, other 3.9%; seats by party - N-VA 33, PS 23, MR 20, CD&V 18, Open VLD 14, SP.A 13, CDH 9, Ecolo 6, Groen 6, VB 3, Defi 2, PTB 2, PP 1; composition - men 91, women 59, percent of women 39.3%; note - total Parliament percent of women 42.4%

    note: the 1993 constitutional revision that further devolved Belgium into a federal state created three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; this reality leaves six governments, each with its own legislative assembly; changes above occurred since the sixth state reform

    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Constitutional Court or Grondwettelijk Hof (in Dutch) and Cour constitutionelle (in French) (consists of 12 judges - 6 Dutch-speaking and 6 French-speaking); Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie (in Dutch) and Cour de Cassation (in French) (court organized into 3 chambers: civil and commercial; criminal; social, fiscal, and armed forces; each chamber includes a Dutch division and a French division, each with a chairperson and 5-6 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by Parliament; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by the High Council of Justice, a 44-member independent body of judicial and non-judicial members; judges appointed for life
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional courts; specialized courts for administrative, commercial, labor, immigration, and audit issues; magistrate's courts; justices of the peace
    Political parties and leaders:
    Flemish parties:
    Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V [Wouter BEKE];
    Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Gwendolyn RUTTEN];
    Groen [Meyrem ALMACI] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens);
    New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER];
    Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [John CROMBEZ, Stephanie VAN HOUTVEN];
    Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Tom VAN GRIEKEN];
    Francophone parties:
    Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Patrick DUPRIEZ, Zakia KHATTABI];
    Francophone Federalist Democrats or Defi [Olivier MAINGAIN];
    Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Benoit LUTGEN];
    People's Party or PP [Mischael MODRIKAMEN];
    Reform Movement or MR [Olivier CHASTEL];
    Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO];
    Workers' Party or PTB [Peter MERTENS];
    other minor parties
    International organization participation:
    ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Dirk Jozef M. WOUTERS (since 16 September 2016)
    chancery: 3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 333-6900
    FAX: [1] (202) 333-3079
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Matthew LUSSENHOP (since 21 January 2017)
    embassy: 27 Boulevard du Regent [Regentlaan], B-1000 Brussels
    mailing address: PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710
    telephone: [32] (2) 811-4000
    FAX: [32] (2) 811-4500
    Flag description:
    three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France; the colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field)
    National symbol(s):
    golden rampant lion; national colors: red, black, yellow
    National anthem:
    name: "La Brabanconne" (The Song of Brabant)
    lyrics/music: Louis-Alexandre DECHET[French] Victor CEULEMANS [Dutch]/Francois VAN CAMPENHOUT

    note: adopted 1830; according to legend, Louis-Alexandre DECHET, an actor at the theater in which the revolution against the Netherlands began, wrote the lyrics with a group of young people in a Brussels cafe

  • Economy :: Belgium
  • Economy - overview:

    Belgium’s central geographic location and highly developed transport network have helped develop a well-diversified economy, with a broad mix of transport, services, manufacturing, and high tech. Service and high-tech industries are concentrated in the northern Flanders region while the southern region of Wallonia is home to industries like coal and steel manufacturing. Belgium is completely reliant on foreign sources of fossil fuels, and the planned closure of its seven nuclear plants by 2025 should increase its dependence on foreign energy. Its role as a regional logistical hub makes its economy vulnerable to shifts in foreign demand, particularly with EU trading partners. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium's trade is with other EU countries, and the port of Zeebrugge conducts almost half its trade with the United Kingdom alone, leaving Belgium’s economy vulnerable to the outcome of negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU.

    Belgium’s GDP grew by 1.7% in 2017 and the budget deficit was 1.5% of GDP. Unemployment stood at 7.3%, however the unemployment rate is lower in Flanders than Wallonia, 4.4% compared to 9.4%, because of industrial differences between the regions. The economy largely recovered from the March 2016 terrorist attacks that mainly impacted the Brussels region tourist and hospitality industry. Prime Minister Charles MICHEL's center-right government has pledged to further reduce the deficit in response to EU pressure to decrease Belgium's high public debt of about 104% of GDP, but such efforts would also dampen economic growth. In addition to restrained public spending, low wage growth and higher inflation promise to curtail a more robust recovery in private consumption.

    The government has pledged to pursue a reform program to improve Belgium’s competitiveness, including changes to labor market rules and welfare benefits. These changes have generally made Belgian wages more competitive regionally, but have raised tensions with trade unions, which have called for extended strikes. In 2017, Belgium approved a tax reform plan to ease corporate rates from 33% to 29% by 2018 and down to 25% by 2020. The tax plan also included benefits for innovation and SMEs, intended to spur competitiveness and private investment.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $529.2 billion (2017 est.)
    $520.2 billion (2016 est.)
    $513 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 37
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $493.7 billion (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    1.7% (2017 est.)
    1.4% (2016 est.)
    1.4% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $46,600 (2017 est.)
    $46,000 (2016 est.)
    $45,700 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 35
    Gross national saving:
    24.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
    24% of GDP (2016 est.)
    23.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 51.2% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 23.4% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 23.3% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 1.3% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 85.1% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -84.4% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)
    industry: 22.1% (2017 est.)
    services: 77.2% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
    Industries:
    engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
    Industrial production growth rate:
    0.2% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Labor force:
    5.324 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 80.1% (2013 est.)
    industry: 18.6% (2013 est.)
    services: 80.1% (2013 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    7.1% (2017 est.)
    7.9% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Population below poverty line:
    15.1% (2013 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 28.4% (2006)
    highest 10%: 28.4% (2006)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index:
    25.9 (2013 est.)
    28.7 (1996)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    Budget:
    revenues: 253.5 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 258.6 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    51.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    -1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    Public debt:
    103.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
    106% of GDP (2016 est.)

    note: data cover general government debt and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; general government debt is defined by the Maastricht definition and calculated by the National Bank of Belgium as consolidated gross debt; the debt is defined in European Regulation EC479/2009 concerning the implementation of the protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Maastricht) of 7 February 1992; the sub-sectors of consolidated gross debt are: federal government, communities and regions, local government, and social security funds

    country comparison to the world: 13
    Fiscal year:
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    2.2% (2017 est.)
    1.8% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    Central bank discount rate:
    0% (31 December 2017)
    0% (31 December 2010)

    note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

    country comparison to the world: 148
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    2.08% (31 December 2017 est.)
    2.02% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Stock of narrow money:
    $240.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $198 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

    note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

    country comparison to the world: 22
    Stock of broad money:
    $240.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $198 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    Stock of domestic credit:
    $711.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $684.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Market value of publicly traded shares:
    $414.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $378.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $374.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Current account balance:
    -$807 million (2017 est.)
    $451 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Exports:
    $300.8 billion (2017 est.)
    $277.7 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Exports - commodities:
    chemicals, machinery and equipment, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
    Exports - partners:
    Germany 16.6%, France 14.9%, Netherlands 12%, UK 8.4%, Italy 4.9%, US 4.8% (2017)
    Imports:
    $300.4 billion (2017 est.)
    $271.2 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Imports - commodities:
    raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $26.16 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $24.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    Imports - partners:
    Netherlands 17.3%, Germany 13.8%, France 9.5%, US 7.1%, UK 4.9%, Ireland 4.2%, China 4.1% (2017)
    Debt - external:
    $1.281 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
    $1.214 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
    $1.035 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.054 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
    $1.159 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.016 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    Exchange rates:
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.885 (2017 est.)
    0.903 (2016 est.)
    0.9214 (2015 est.)
    0.885 (2014 est.)
    0.7634 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Belgium
  • Electricity access:
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production:
    64.78 billion kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    Electricity - consumption:
    81.96 billion kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    Electricity - exports:
    8.465 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Electricity - imports:
    14.65 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    21.15 million kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    34.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    28% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    0.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    32.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Crude oil - imports:
    639,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    701,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    662,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    597,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    585,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Natural gas - consumption:
    17.14 billion cu m (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Natural gas - exports:
    1.694 billion cu m (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    Natural gas - imports:
    18.81 billion cu m (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    93.62 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
  • Communications :: Belgium
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 4,251,564 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 11,961,089 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 104 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities; LTE availability is nearly universal in mobile sector; ongoing investments in developing applications and services for 5G (2017)
    domestic: nationwide mobile-cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network; 37 to 100 fixed-line, 104 to 100 mobile-cellular (2017)
    international: country code - 32; landing point for a number of submarine cables that provide links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat - 3) (2015)
    Broadcast media:
    a segmented market with the three major communities (Flemish, French, and German-speaking) each having responsibility for their own broadcast media; multiple TV channels exist for each community; additionally, in excess of 90% of households are connected to cable and can access broadcasts of TV stations from neighboring countries; each community has a public radio network coexisting with private broadcasters (2009)
    Internet country code:
    .be
    Internet users:
    total: 9,870,734 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 86.5% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 4,378,973 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
  • Transportation :: Belgium
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 7 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 117 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 11,193,023 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,464,316,900 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    OO (2016)
    Airports:
    41 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 26 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 6 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
    under 914 m: 8 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 15 (2013)
    under 914 m: 15 (2013)
    Heliports:
    1 (2013)
    Pipelines:
    3139 km gas, 154 km oil, 535 km refined products (2013)
    Railways:
    total: 3,592 km (2014)
    standard gauge: 3,592 km 1.435-m gauge (2,960 km electrified) (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    Roadways:
    total: 154,012 km (2010)
    paved: 120,514 km (includes 1,756 km of expressways) (2010)
    unpaved: 33,498 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Waterways:
    2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Merchant marine:
    total: 185 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 15, general cargo 15, oil tanker 20, other 135 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Oostende, Zeebrugge
    container port(s) (TEUs): Antwerp (10,037,341) (2016)
    LNG terminal(s) (import): Zeebrugge
    river port(s): Antwerp, Gent (Schelde River)
    Brussels (Senne River) Liege (Meuse River)
  • Military and Security :: Belgium
  • Military expenditures:
    0.9% of GDP (2017)
    0.87% of GDP (2016)
    0.93% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    Military branches:
    Belgian Armed Forces: Land Operations Command, Naval Operations Command, Air Operations Command (2012)
    Military service age and obligation:
    18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1994 (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: Belgium
  • Disputes - international:
    none
    Refugees and internally displaced persons:
    refugees (country of origin): 9,080 (Syria) (2016)
    stateless persons: 7,695 (2017)
    Illicit drugs:
    growing producer of synthetic drugs and cannabis; transit point for US-bound ecstasy; source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for cocaine, heroin, hashish, and marijuana entering Western Europe; despite a strengthening of legislation, the country remains vulnerable to money laundering related to narcotics, automobiles, alcohol, and tobacco; significant domestic consumption of ecstasy