Statistical information Belgium 1996Belgium

Map of Belgium | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Belgium in the World
Belgium in the World

Austrian Airlines

Belgium - Introduction 1996
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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 1996
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Location: Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 30,510 km²
Land: 30,230 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Maryland

Land boundaries: Total 1,385 km, France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km

Coastline: 64 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: median line with neighbors
Exclusive fishing zone: median line with neighbors (extends about 68 km from coast)
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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
Lowest point: North Sea 0 m
Highest point: Signal de Botrange 694 m


Natural resources:
Natural gas

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 24%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 20%
Forests and woodland: 21%
Other: 34%

Irrigated land: 10 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Belgium - People 1996
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10,170,241 (July 1996 est.)
10,081,880 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
0.33% (1996 est.)
0.17% (1995 est.)

Noun: Belgian(s)
Adjective: Belgian

Ethnic groups:
Fleming 55%
Walloon 33%
Mixed or other 12%

LanguagesDutch 56%, French 32%, German 1%, legally bilingual 11% divided along ethnic lines

Roman Catholic 75%
Protestant or other 25%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
18% (male 930,919; female 886,632) (July 1996 est.)
18% (male 919,939; female 875,079) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
66% (male 3,380,105; female 3,326,853) (July 1996 est.)
66% (male 3,363,250; female 3,303,219) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
16% (male 663,760; female 981,972) (July 1996 est.)
16% (male 650,427; female 969,966) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
0.33% (1996 est.)
0.17% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
12 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
11.46 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
10.3 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
10.22 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
1.63 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
0.5 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: Meuse River, a major source of drinking water, polluted from steel production wastes; other rivers polluted by animal wastes and fertilizers; industrial air pollution contributes to acid rain in neighboring countries
Current issues Natural hazards: flooding is a threat in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Current issues international agreements: party to_Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic Treaty, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified_Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea
Current issues note: Crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels which is the seat of the EU

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
All ages:
0.96 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:6.4 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
7 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 77.09 years (1996), 77.21 years (1995)
Male: 73.86 years (1996), 73.94 years (1995)
Female: 80.51 years (1996 est.), 80.67 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.69 children born/woman (1996 est.)
1.62 children born/woman (1995 est.)

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

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1980 est.)
Total population: 99%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Belgium - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
Conventional short form: Belgium
Local long form: Royaume de Belgique
Local short form: Belgique (Pronunciation)

Government type: Constitutional monarchy


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 14 July 1993; parliament approved a constitutional package creating a federal 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: 18 years of age, universal and compulsory

Executive branch
Chief of state: King ALBERT II (since 9 August 1993)
Head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Luc DEHAENE (since 6 March 1992)
Cabinet: Cabinet; the king appoints the ministers who are approved by the legislature

Legislative branch: Bicameral Parliament Senate:(Flemish_Senaat, French_Senat; elections last held 21 May 1995 (next to be held by the end of 1999; results_percent of vote by party NA; seats_(71 total, 40 directly elected; 31 will be indirectly elected at a later date) CVP 7, SP 6, VLD 6, VU 2, AGALEV 1, VB 3, PS 5, PRL 5, PSC 3, ECOLO 2; note_before the 1995 elections, there were 184 seats Chamber of Deputies:(Flemish_Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers, French_Chambre des Representants; elections last held 21 May 1995 (next to be held by the end of 1999; results_CVP 17.2%, PS 11.9%, SP 12.6%, VLD 13.1%, PRL 10.3%, PSC 7.7%, VB 7.8%, VU 4.7%, ECOLO 4.0%, AGALEV 4.4%, FN 2.3%; seats_(150 total) CVP 29, PS 21, SP 20, VLD 21, PRL 18, PSC 12, VB 11, VU 5, ECOLO 6, AGALEV 5, FN 2; note_before the 1995 elections, there were 212 seats

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Flemish_Hof van Cassatie, French_Cour de Cassation)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACCT, AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EBRD, ECE, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MTCR, NACC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCRO, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMOGIP, UNPROFOR, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation

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 1996
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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 substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets. Three-fourths of its trade is with other EU countries. The economy grew at a strong 4% pace during the period 1988-90, slowed to 1% in 1991-92, dropped by 1.5% in 1993, and recovered with 2.3% growth in 1994. Belgium's public debt has risen to 140% of GDP, and the government is trying to control its expenditures to bring the figure more into line with other industrialized countries.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
2.8% (1999 est.)
2.7% (1998 est.)
2.7% (1997)
1.5% (1996)
2.1% (1985-1995)

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 2.0% of GDP; emphasis on livestock production_beef, veal, pork, milk; major crops are sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; net importer of farm products

Engineering and metal products
Motor vehicle assembly
Processed food and beverages
Basic metals

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate -0.1% (1993 est.), accounts for 25% of GDP

Labor force: 4.126 million
By occupation Services: 70%
By occupation Industry: 28%
By occupation Agriculture: 2% (1994)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
9.2% (1997)
9.7% (1996)
9.9% (1995)
10.0% (1994)
8.9% (1993)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $97.8 billion
Expenditures: $109.3 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

total value. $108 billion (f.o.b., 1994) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU)
$117 billion (f.o.b., 1992) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union

Iron and steel
Transportation equipment
Petroleum products

EU 67.2% (Germany 19%)
U.S. 5.8%
Former Communist countries 1.4% (1994)

Total value:
$140 billion (c.i.f., 1994) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union
$120 billion (c.i.f., 1992) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union


EC 68% (Germany 22.1%)
U.S. 8.8%
Former Communist countries 0.8% (1991)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $31.3 billion (1992 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates

Belgium - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 66 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 6,334 kWh (1993)

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 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 5.691 million telephones (1992 est.); highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities
Domestic: nationwide cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network
International: 5 submarine cables; 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations and 1 EUTELSAT earth station

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Belgium - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $4.6 billion, 1.7% of GDP (1995), $3.9 billion, 1.8% of GDP (1994)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Belgium - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 42
With paved runways over 3047 m: 6
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 9
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 2
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3
With paved runways under 914 m: 21

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 6
2438 to 3047 m: 9
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 3
Under 914 m: 21

Airports with unpaved runways

Heliports: :1 (1995 est.)

Pipelines: Crude oil 161 km; petroleum products 1,167 km; natural gas 3,300 km



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

Merchant marine
Total: 23 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 64,220 GRT/83,360 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 8, chemical tanker 5, liquefied gas tanker 3, oil tanker 6 (1995 est.)

Ports and terminals

Belgium - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for cocaine entering the European market

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