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Europe :: Belgium
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Belgium
  • Introduction :: BELGIUM

  • 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. Political divisions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. Its capital, Brussels, is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.
  • Geography :: BELGIUM

  • Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
    50 50 N, 4 00 E
    Europe
    total: 30,528 sq km
    land: 30,278 sq km
    water: 250 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 141
    about the size of Maryland
    total: 1,297 km
    border countries (4): France 556 km, Germany 133 km, Luxembourg 130 km, Netherlands 478 km
    66.5 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: geographic coordinates define outer limit
    continental shelf: median line with neighbors
    temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
    flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
    lowest point: North Sea 0 m
    highest point: Botrange 694 m
    construction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land
    agricultural land: 44.1%
    arable land 27.2%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 16.1%
    forest: 22.4%
    other: 33.5% (2011 est.)
    233.5 sq km (2007)
    18.3 cu km (2011)
    total: 6.22 cu km/yr (12%/88%/1%)
    per capita: 589.8 cu m/yr (2007)
    flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
    the environment is exposed to 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; uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) had slowed progress in tackling environmental challenges
    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
    crossroads of Western Europe; most West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
  • People and Society :: BELGIUM

  • noun: Belgian(s)
    adjective: Belgian
    Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
    Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%
    Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%
    11,323,973 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    0-14 years: 17.08% (male 990,272/female 943,363)
    15-24 years: 11.59% (male 669,540/female 642,486)
    25-54 years: 40.45% (male 2,308,285/female 2,272,085)
    55-64 years: 12.65% (male 709,347/female 723,696)
    65 years and over: 18.23% (male 893,096/female 1,171,803) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 54.2%
    youth dependency ratio: 26.1%
    elderly dependency ratio: 28.1%
    potential support ratio: 3.6% (2015 est.)
    total: 43.1 years
    male: 41.7 years
    female: 44.4 years (2014 est.)
    0.76% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    11.41 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    9.63 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    5.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    urban population: 97.9% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 0.48% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    BRUSSELS (capital) 2.045 million; Antwerp 994,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 3.41 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 3.81 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    total population: 80.88 years
    male: 78.3 years
    female: 83.58 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    1.78 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    70.4%
    note: percent of women aged 18-49 (2008/10)
    11.2% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    3.78 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    6.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    improved:
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 0% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0% of population (2012 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 0% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0% of population (2012 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    22.1% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    6.5% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    total: 16 years
    male: 16 years
    female: 17 years (2012)
    total: 19.8%
    male: 20.4%
    female: 19.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
  • Government :: BELGIUM

  • 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
    federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
    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
    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
    4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
    21 July (1831) ascension to the Throne of King LEOPOLD I
    drafted 25 November 1830, approved 7 February 1831, entered into force 26 July 1831, revised 14 July 1993 (creating a federal state); amended many times, last in 2012 (2012)
    civil law system based on the French Civil Code; note - Belgian law continues to be modified in conformance with the legislative norms mandated by the European Union; judicial review of legislative acts
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal and compulsory
    chief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH, daughter of the monarch
    head of government: Prime Minister Charles MICHEL (since 11 October 2014); Deputy Prime Minister Didier REYNDERS (since 30 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Alexander DE CROO (since 22 October 2012); Deputy Prime Minister Kris PEETERS (since 11 October 2014); Deputy Prime Minister Jan JAMBON (since 11 October 2014)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers are formally appointed by the monarch
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and approved by parliament
    description: bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate or Senaat in Dutch, Senat in French (71 seats; 40 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 31 indirectly elected by Community Parliaments; members serve 4-year terms) and the 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 4-year terms)
    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
    elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 23 May 2014 (next to be held May 2019); note - elections will coincide with the EU's elections
    election results: Chamber of Deputies - 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 5.0% Workers' Party 3.7%, VB 3.7%, Ecolo 3.3%, FDF 1.8%, the People's Party 1.5%, other 7.2%; seats by party - N-VA 33, PS 23, CD&V 18, Open VLD 14, MR 20, SP.A 13, Groen! 6, CDH 9, Workers' Party 2, VB 3, Ecolo 6, FDF 2, the People's Party 1
    highest court(s): 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, and audit issues; magistrate's courts; justices of the peace
    Flemish parties:
    Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V [Wouter BEKE]
    Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Gwendolyn RUTTEN]
    Groen! [Meyren ALMACI] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens)
    Libertarian, Direct, Democratic or LDD (formerly Dedecker's List) [Jean-Marie DEDECKER]
    New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER]
    People's Party [Mischael MODRIKAMEN]
    Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [Bruno TOBBACK]
    Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Tom VAN GRIEKEN]
    Francophone parties:
    Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Patrick DUPRIEZ and Zakia KHATTABI]
    Francophone Federalist Democrats or FDF [Olivier MAINGAIN]
    Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Benoit LUTGEN]
    People's Party [Mischael MODRIKAMEN]
    Reform Movement or MR [Olivier CHASTEL]
    Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO]
    Workers' Party [Peter Mertens]
    other minor parties
    Belgian General Federation of Labor [Rudy DE LEEUW, Marc GOBLET]
    Confederation of Christan Trade Unions [Marc LEEMANS, Marie-Helene SKA]
    Federation of Enterprises in Belgium [Pieter TIMMERMANS, Michele SIOEN]
    other: numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; trade unions; various organizations representing the cultural interests of Flanders and Wallonia; various peace groups such as Pax Christi and groups representing immigrants
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador Johan VERBEKE (since 10 March 2014)
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador Denise Campbell BAUER (since 26 September 2013)
    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
    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)
    lion; national colors: red, black, yellow
    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

  • This modern, open, and private-enterprise-based economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the more heavily-populated region of Flanders in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium imports substantial quantities of raw materials and exports a large volume of manufactures, making its economy vulnerable to shifts in foreign demand, particularly in Belgium’s EU trade partners. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium's trade is with other EU countries. In 2014 Belgian GDP grew by 0.9%, the unemployment rate stabilized at 8.5%, and the the budget deficit was 3.2% of GDP. Prime Minister Charles MICHEL’s center-right government has pledged to further reduce the deficit in response to EU pressure to reduce Belgium’s high public debt, which remains above 100% of GDP, but such efforts could also dampen economic growth. In addition to restrained public spending, low wage growth and high unemployment promise to curtail a more robust recovery in private consumption. The government has pledged to pursue an reform program to improve Belgium’s competitiveness, including changes to tax policy, labor market rules, and welfare benefits. These changes risk worsening tensions with trade unions and triggering extended strikes.
    $481.5 billion (2014 est.)
    $476.5 billion (2013 est.)
    $475.2 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 39
    $534.7 billion (2014 est.)
    1% (2014 est.)
    0.3% (2013 est.)
    0.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    $43,000 (2014 est.)
    $42,500 (2013 est.)
    $42,400 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 37
    23.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    22.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
    22.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    household consumption: 53.7%
    government consumption: 25.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 20.6%
    investment in inventories: 0.4%
    exports of goods and services: 85.9%
    imports of goods and services: -86%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 0.8%
    industry: 21.1%
    services: 78.1% (2014 est.)
    sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
    engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
    0.2% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    5.225 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    agriculture: 1.3%
    industry: 18.6%
    services: 80.1% (2013 est.)
    8.5% (2014 est.)
    8.4% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    15.1% (2013 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3.4%
    highest 10%: 28.4% (2006)
    25.9 (2013 est.)
    28.7 (1996)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    revenues: $267.9 billion
    expenditures: $280.8 billion (2014 est.)
    50.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    -2.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    101.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    101.2% of GDP (2013 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: 12
    calendar year
    0.5% (2014 est.)
    1.2% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    0.75% (31 December 2013)
    1.5% (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: 132
    3.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    3.49% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    $202.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $205.7 billion (31 December 2013 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: 23
    $606.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $630.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    $568.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $596 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    $300.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $229.9 billion (31 December 2011)
    $269.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    $8.71 billion (2014 est.)
    -$9.661 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    $323.4 billion (2014 est.)
    $321 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    chemicals, machinery and equipment, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
    Germany 17.5%, France 16.2%, Netherlands 12.7%, UK 7.8%, US 4.6%, Italy 4.6% (2013)
    $340.2 billion (2014 est.)
    $331.2 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
    Netherlands 20.7%, Germany 13.6%, France 10.6%, US 6.8%, UK 5.3% (2013)
    $26.92 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $26.92 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    $1.424 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $1.417 trillion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    $1.196 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.169 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    $1.077 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.084 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.7489 (2014 est.)
    0.7634 (2013 est.)
    0.78 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: BELGIUM

  • 74.13 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    83.16 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    7.603 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    17.24 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    20.79 million kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    46.3% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    30.4% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    0.6% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    22.6% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    634,700 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    715,300 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    612,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    442,800 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    433,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    17.63 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    5.613 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    23.33 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    139.1 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
  • Communications :: BELGIUM

  • total subscriptions: 4.7 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    total: 12.7 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    general assessment: highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities
    domestic: nationwide mobile-cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network
    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) (2007)
    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 co-existing with private broadcasters (2007)
    AM 7, FM 79, shortwave 1 (1998)
    25 (plus 10 repeaters) (1997)
    .be
    total: 9.5 million
    percent of population: 84.7% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
  • Transportation :: BELGIUM

  • 41 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    total: 26
    over 3,047 m: 6
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m: 8 (2013)
    total: 15
    under 914 m:
    15 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 3,139 km; oil 154 km; refined products 535 km (2013)
    total: 3,592 km
    standard gauge: 3,592 km 1.435-m gauge (2,960 km electrified) (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    total: 154,012 km
    paved: 120,514 km (includes 1,756 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 33,498 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    total: 87
    by type: bulk carrier 23, cargo 15, chemical tanker 5, container 4, liquefied gas 23, passenger 2, petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 7
    foreign-owned: 15 (Denmark 4, France 7, Russia 1, UK 2, US 1)
    registered in other countries: 107 (Bahamas 6, Cambodia 1, Cyprus 3, France 7, Gibraltar 1, Greece 17, Hong Kong 26, Liberia 1, Luxembourg 11, Malta 7, Marshall Islands 1, Mozambique 2, North Korea 1, Panama 1, Portugal 8, Russia 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7, Singapore 1, Vanuatu 1) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    major seaport(s): Oostende, Zeebrugge
    river port(s): Antwerp, Gent (Schelde River); Brussels (Senne River); Liege (Meuse River)
    container port(s) (TEUs): Antwerp (8,664,243), Zeebrugge (2,207,257) (2011)
    LNG terminal(s) (import): Zeebrugge
  • Military :: BELGIUM

  • Belgian Armed Forces: Land Operations Command, Naval Operations Command, Air Operations Command (2012)
    18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1994 (2012)
    males age 16-49: 2,359,232
    females age 16-49: 2,291,689 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 1,934,957
    females age 16-49: 1,877,268 (2010 est.)
    male: 59,665
    female: 57,142 (2010 est.)
    1% of GDP (2013)
    1.05% of GDP (2012)
    1.08% of GDP (2011)
    1.05% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 97
  • Transnational Issues :: BELGIUM

  • none
    refugees (country of origin): 5,038 (Afghanistan) (2014)
    stateless persons: 2,554 (2014)
    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
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