Belgium

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. The capital city of Brussels is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

Geography

Area

total: 30,528 sq km

land: 30,278 sq km

water: 250 sq km

Climate

temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy

Natural resources

construction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land

People and Society

Population

11,847,338 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Belgian 75.2%, Italian 4.1%, Moroccan 3.7%, French 2.4%, Turkish 2%, Dutch 2%, other 10.6% (2012 est.)

Languages

Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%

Religions

Roman Catholic 57.1%, Protestant 2.3%, other Christian, 2.8%, Muslim 6.8%, other 1.7%, atheist 9.1%, nonbeliever/agnostic 20.2% (2018 est.)

Population growth rate

0.57% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy

Capital

name: Brussels

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 Alexander DE CROO (since 1 October 2020); Deputy Prime Ministers Vincent Van Quickenborne (since 1 October 2020), Sophie Wilmes (since 1 October 2020), Vincent Van Peteghem (since 1 October 2020), Frank Vandenbroucke (since 1 October 2020), Pierre-Yves Dermagne (since 1 October 2020), Petra De Sutter (since 1 October 2020), Georges Gilkinet (since 1 October 2020)

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)

Economy

Economic overview

high income economy with strong but moderate growth; high public debt; aging labor force; low labor force participation of low-skilled, migrant, and older workers; strong welfare system; high congestion; complex business permitting and judicial systems

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$557.11 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$48,200 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar beet, milk, potatoes, wheat, pork, lettuce, poultry, maize, barley, pears

Industries

engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum

Exports

$414.79 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

Germany 17%, France 14%, Netherlands 13%, United Kingdom 8%, United States 6%, Italy 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cars and vehicle parts, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, diamonds, natural gas (2019)

Imports

$412.85 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

Netherlands 16%, Germany 13%, France 10%, United States 8%, Ireland 5%, China 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cars, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, diamonds, natural gas (2019)


Page last updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2022