Belgium’s Three Regions: Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels
3 Regions in Belgium
The country’s capital, Brussels, is a fascinating city for visitors to explore. It has many different neighborhoods, each with its own unique character.
Belgium has three regions, each with their own parliament and government. The regions are named after the cities they contain: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-Capital Region. The country is a federal constitutional monarchy with a multiparty system.
Despite being a major economic center with a world-renowned diamond trade, and traditional specialties such as 350 varieties of beer and rich chocolates, Flanders is also known for its artistic heritage. This includes its famous Bruges lace and Ghent woolen cloth, as well as modern innovations in biotechnology and petrochemicals.
The region’s fertile polders are renowned for their potato, sugar beet, and wheat production. And market gardening and livestock raising are important activities in the region as well.
Flanders has a temperate maritime climate, influenced by the North Sea. This results in relatively mild winters and cool summers. Its lowlands are home to a number of wild animals, including boars and wildcats, while the Flemish Ardennes are a haven for deer and pheasants.
Flanders is named after the Belgae, a Celtic tribe that lived in the region around the first century BCE. Later, it became part of the Roman Empire as a Roman province. In the Middle Ages, the name shifted to Brabant, and in the 14th century, it was changed again to Flanders. The region was ruled by various noble houses until the 19th century, when Belgium became a constitutional monarchy. In an effort to avoid a national identity debate, the name was kept, but with the title “Flanders” rather than “Brabant”. The king’s eldest sons are still called dukes of Brabant and princes of Flanders.
Located in southern Belgium, Wallonia is home to medieval towns, Renaissance-era architecture, and traditional Trappist beers. Many cities in this region, including Namur and Charleroi, are known for their food scene, as well as impressive cultural landmarks. The region is also home to the rugged southeastern Ardennes, with its forested mountains and river valleys.
Like their Flemish neighbors to the north, most Walloons are Roman Catholics. The area celebrates Belgium’s ten public holidays and numerous folk festivities, such as the Binche carnival in the weeks before Lent. Families often hold parties to mark a child’s baptism or first communion. And a graduation from school is a cause for celebration.
In terms of work, Walloons are particularly adept at metalworking and other industrial processes. But the steel industry’s decline in recent years has left the region struggling. It has made efforts to diversify its economy, however, with companies that specialize in glass, lime and limestone, and cyclotrons.
Although the federal government maintains a strong role in provincial affairs, most of a province’s power has been transferred to Brussels regional institutions and to Community Commissions. Only the Governor of Brussels-Capital and the Deputy Governor of Flemish Brabant remain under state jurisdiction, and they do not enjoy the same powers as the Regions or Community Commissions.
Brussels is Belgium’s de facto capital, the administrative centre of the European Union, and a key hub for international relations. It is home to a large number of international institutions, including the European Commission and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is also the seat of the European Parliament.
It has a high population density and is the largest urban area in the country. It has a diverse economy with a strong service sector and an important manufacturing base. Brussels is also a major tourist destination, known for its architecture and cultural offerings.
The city is dominated by the headquarters of multinational companies, and its economy is heavily dependent on these. It is also a leading financial centre. In addition, it is a center for culture and the arts with world-class museums such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Brussels Cathedral.
Politically, the city is a multilingual and multicultural metropolis that is divided into Flemish and French-speaking communities. It is home to several major political parties. Its parliamentary system is unique in Europe, as the federal government is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives and the community legislatures elect their own representatives. The government has a fixed term. During the 2019-2020 government formation process, Belgium broke the world record for the longest time it took to form a new government – 652 days.