Belgium’s 3 regions: Walloon, Flemish, and Brussels-Capital
What Are the 3 Regions of Belgium?
Belgium is a federal state composed of three communities, regions and provinces. Communities and the Brussels-Capital Region have their own parliaments and governments while provinces do not.
During the fifth state reform, some provincial institutions have been transferred to the regions. The French Community Commission (Commission communautaire francaise, COCOF) and the governor of the Brussels-Capital Region exercise community powers analogously to provinces.
The Walloon Region of Belgium is a diverse place with an impressive amount of medieval and art-nouveau architecture. It is home to some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and natural areas, such as the Sambre-et-Meuse furrow and the Ardennes mountains. Its historically significant coal fields have dwindled in importance, though its modern industries include petroleum and chemical processing, steel production, the refining of zinc and nonferrous metals, and automobile assembly.
In addition, the Walloon Region has a unique bilingual policy, which allows citizens of 27 municipalities (all except for two in the French-speaking community of Belgium) to request limited services in their native language. It also has a distinct government and parliament, as well as a Minister-President. Following the Fifth State Reform, the responsibility for provincial institutions was transferred to the regions.
The Flemish Region, or Flanders (Dutch: Vlaams Gewest) (Flemish for “Land of the Flemings”), is a region of Belgium that covers the northern part of the country. It is a Dutch-speaking region, and its population is 57% of the total Belgian population.
It has a diversified modern economy, where emphasis is put on research and development. This is partly why the region has an enviable high-tech industry, and it also has strong market positions in processing industries such as food, metals and textiles.
The regional language is Dutch, although French can be used for certain administrative purposes in a dozen “municipalities with language facilities” around Brussels, at the border with Wallonia. The regional public transport company is De Lijn, while the national railway network is a federal responsibility. In terms of economics, it is the most prosperous region in the country. In addition, it has a reputation for its culture and linguistic heritage. This makes it a popular destination for visitors.
The Brussels Region consists of 19 municipalities surrounding the City of Brussels. It has a wealth of historical, gastronomical and architectural treasures and is home to no less than 80 museums. It’s a great place to explore, whether you prefer wandering through the beautiful streets lined with Art Nouveau buildings or discovering its many cultural hotspots.
Its proximity to the coastal areas influences its climate and it enjoys a temperate maritime climate with moderate rainfall. The Brussels-Capital Region is known for its dynamic, multilingual, multicultural and open society.
It is also a dynamic business region with 33 businesses hatching every day and a highly educated population. It is also a popular tourist destination, with a wide choice of hotels and restaurants. Moreover, it has excellent transport links with the rest of Belgium and Europe via the Metro, railways (Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Boitsfort, Brussels Central Station), tramways (Bordet, Etterbeek, Forest-East, Forest-South, Jette, Meiser, Schaarbeek, Uccle-Calevoet) and buses. A comprehensive bus and tram network covers the entire area of the region.
All Belgian citizens are required to vote in national elections. They are kept informed of political events by the press and radio, but the concentration of media ownership in a few hands often makes it difficult for persons to express a diversity of opinions.
Officially, Communities do not refer to people but to a division of political, linguistic and cultural competencies (although persons belonging to a linguistic or demographic non-institutional Community sometimes identify themselves with its institutions). The communities exercise their Community powers on a territory defined by law.
The Communities have significant control over areas of the economy, employment, education and the environment. They also have authority for a number of public services including social welfare, housing and health care. However, the Communities do not have a broad power of taxation. They can raise money only within a precise legal area: the Flemish Community has its Community powers in the Dutch-speaking Region, the French-speaking Region and the bilingual Brussels-Capital Region; the German Community has them in the small territory of the German language area in the Region of Brussels-Capital.