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Go to Belgium

Political Status
Belgium is a kingdom. King Albert II succeeded to the throne in 1993. His authority is purely symbolic, with executive power over the ministers. He can dissolve the Federal Parliament.
It is the Prime Minister (presently Mr Guy Verhofstadt) who runs the country, he is responsible towards Parliament.
The legislative power of the county is held by the King, the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate. The Chamber of Representatives is composed of 150 members who are elected by general election for a four year term of office.There are 71 senators, 40 are elected for a four year term, 21 are chosen by the communal councils and co-opted by their peers, and 10 are senators by right.

Historical outline :
1830 Belgium becomes independent of Holland.
1970 Belgium became a federal state made up of three regions : the Walloons, the Flemish region and the Region of Brussels. Each region possesses its own government (from 1980), with nine members responsible towards a legislative assembly. The area of responsibility covers the policies of economy and labour, external trade, tourism, applied scientific research, transport and public works, housing, planning and developement, environment and agriculture, energy and water etc

Geographical situation
The total surface area of Belgium is 30,513 sq. kms., the population is 10,200,000, making an average population density of 334 inhabitants per sq. km.
It is situated to the north of France, to the west of Germany and Luxemburg, to the south of the Netherlands and on its east coast is the North Sea (with the towns of la Panne, Ostende, Blankenberg and Zeebrugge).

Economy & statistics
The Belgian economy is doing well generally. The gross national product of the country for 1999 was 234 billion dollars, making a GNP per inhabitant of $22,880, rating Belgium among the very rich countries.


In spite of a great diversity of crops (sugar beet, fruit and vegetables, cereals, meat, milk products) Belgian agriculture does not contribute a great deal to the national economy and it actually only occupies 1% of the territory.

 5 - Industry
Belgian industry has been dominated for decades by heavy industrial sectors, mining, iron and steel, automobile and chemical industries that are concentrated in the Walloons. The steel industry now belongs to foreigners.
The foodstuff sector is another mainstay with 7,000 companies, 87,000 employees and a 150 billion BF turnover.

Working in Belgium
The Belgian government has been trying to improve the work market by different strategies, the latest measures deal with the redistribution of work time and temporary job contracts. This is considered to be a "key element" in reducing unemployment.  The latest measures taken concerning foreign workers have dealt with setting up new structures to receive foreign workers, the aim is to improve the integration in the country.
Working and Jobs in Brussels

Entry formalities:
You can enter Belgium with only an identity card. There are no particular formalities to be completed by other members of the European community.
If you are going to reside in Belgium :
Fifteen days after your arrival you have to register at the foreign section of the municipality where you are residing.

Main towns
The main towns are : Anvers (Antwerp), Bruges (Brugge), Bruxelles (Brussel), Courtrai (Kortrijk), Gand (Gent), Liège (Luik), Louvain (Leuven), Malines (Mechelen), Mons (Bergen), Namur (Namen), Tirelemont (Tienen), Ostende and Bastogne.
Belgium City Guide

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