Statistical information Belgium 1990Belgium

Map of Belgium | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
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Belgium in the World
Belgium in the World


Belgium - Introduction 1990
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Background: Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. In the half century following, it has prospered as a small, modern, technologically advanced European state and member of the European Union. Its unique political circumstance is the long-standing differences between the wealthier Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the poorer French-speaking Walloons of the south, differences that are becoming increasingly acute.

Belgium - Geography 1990
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries: 1,385 km total; France 620 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km, FRG 167 km

Coastline: 64 km

Maritime claims: Continental shelf:not specific;

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


Natural resources: coal, natural gas
Land use

Land use: 24% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 20% meadows and pastures; 21% forest and woodland; 34% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels; crossroads of Western Europe; Brussels is the seat of the EC

Belgium - People 1990
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Population: 9,909,285 (July 1990), growth rate 0.1% (1990)

Nationality: noun--Belgian(s; adjective--Belgian

Ethnic groups: 55% Fleming, 33% Walloon, 12% mixed or other

Languages: 56% Flemish (Dutch), 32% French, 1% German; 11% legally bilingual; divided along ethnic lines

Religions: 75% Roman Catholic; remainder Protestant or other

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 12 births/1000 population (1990)

Death rate: 11 deaths/1000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1000 population (1990)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air and water pollution

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 6 deaths/1000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 73 years male, 80 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman (1990)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 98%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Belgium - Government 1990
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Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Brussels

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (French--provinces, singular--province; Flemish--provincien, singular--provincie; Antwerpen, Brabant, Hainaut, Liege, Limburg, Luxembourg, Namur, Oost-Vlaanderen, West-Vlaanderen

Dependent areas

Independence: 4 October 1830 (from the Netherlands)

National holiday: National Day, 21 July (ascension of King Leopold to the throne in 1831)

Constitution: 7 February 1831, last revised 8-9 August 1980; the government is in the process of revising the Constitution, with the aim of federalizing the Belgian state

Legal system: civil law system influenced by English constitutional theory; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Executive branch: Chief of State--King BAUDOUIN I (since 17 July 1951; Heir Apparent Prince ALBERT of Liege (brother of the King; born 6 June 1934; Head of Government--Prime Minister Wilfried MARTENS, (since April 1979, with a 10-month interruption in 1981)

Legislative branch: Army, Navy, Air Force

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Flemish--Hof van Cassatie, French--Cour de Cassation)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ADB, Benelux, BLEU, CCC, Council of Europe, DAC, EC, ECE, ECOSOC, EIB, EMS, ESA, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICES, ICO, IDA, IDB--Inter-American Development Bank, IEA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, ILZSG, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOOC, IPU, ITC, ITU, NATO, OAS (observer), OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador Herman DEHENNIN; Chancery at 3,330 Garfield Street NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 333-6,900; there are Belgian Consulates General in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York; US--Ambassador Maynard W. GLITMAN; Embassy at 27 Boulevard du Regent, B-1000 Brussels (mailing address is APO New York 9,667; telephone p32o (2) 513-3,830; there is a US Consulate General in Antwerp

Flag descriptionflag of Belgium: three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the design was based on the flag of France

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Belgium - Economy 1990
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Economy overview: This small private-enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north, although the government is encouraging reinvestment in the southern region of Walloon. With few natural resources Belgium must import essential raw materials, making its economy closely dependent on the state of world markets. In 1988 over 70% of trade was with other EC countries. During the period 1986-88 the economy profited from falling oil prices and a lower dollar, which helped to improve the terms of trade. Real GDP grew by an average of 3.5% in 1986-89, up from 1.5% in 1985. However, a large budget deficit and 10% unemployment cast a shadow on the economy.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for 2% of GDP; emphasis on livestock production--beef, veal, pork, milk; major crops are sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, and tobacco; net importer of farm products

Industries: engineering and metal products, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum, coal

Industrial production growth rate: 6.4% (1988)

Labor force:
4,000,000; 58%
services, 37%
industry, 5% agriculture (1987)

Labor force

Unemployment rate: 9.7% est. (1989 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $45.0 billion; expenditures $55.3 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (1989)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $100.3 billion (f.o.b., 1989) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union
Commodities: iron and steel, transportation equipment, tractors, diamonds, petroleum products
Partners: EC 74%, US 5%, Communist countries 2% (1988)

Imports: $100.1 billion (c.i.f., 1989) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union
Commodities: fuels, grains, chemicals, foodstuffs
Partners: EC 72%, US 5%, oil-exporting less developed countries 4%, Communist countries 3% (1988)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $27.5 billion (1988)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Belgian francs (BF) per US$1--35.468 (January 1990), 39.404 (1989), 36.768 (1988), 37.334 (1987), 44.672 (1986), 59.378 (1985)

Belgium - Energy 1990
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Belgium - Communication 1990
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Belgium - Military 1990
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: 2.7% of GDP, or $3.7 billion (1989 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Belgium - Transportation 1990
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 42 total, 42 usable; 24 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 14 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 3 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: refined products 1,167 km; crude 161 km; natural gas 3,300 km



Waterways: 2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use)

Merchant marine: 67 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,854,898 GRT/3,071,637 DWT; includes 1 short-sea passenger, 10 cargo, 6 roll-on/roll-off, 6 container, 7 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 6 liquefied gas, 3 combination ore/oil, 9 chemical tanker, 13 bulk, 6 combination bulk

Ports and terminals

Belgium - Transnational issues 1990
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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