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The Kingdom of Belgium is a federal state made of 3 regions, with distinct culture and languages, for a total of 11.035.948 inhabitants (in 2012). Each region has its own government and parliament. They benefit from an extended autonomy especially regarding economy, employment, town and country planning, etc.

The lingual, economical, cultural and political differences lead us to approach the country region by region.




Wallonia si the second most important region of the country with 3.546.000 inhabitants (32% of total population) for 16.884 km2. French is the reference language.


Main cities are Namur (its capital city), Charleroi, Liège, Mons, Tournai, Verviers, Wavre, Arlon and Nivelles.


The region often highlights its position « in the heart of Europe ».  Indeed, it is near Brussels, capital city of Europe, and London, Amsterdam, Paris and Köln.


Should we think about fundamental or applied research, Wallonia is well known as a region at the top edge of technology development. This is well deserved according to the quality and density of its higher level education : 130 specialized schools, 9 universities grouped in 3 academies (in Wallonia and Brussels), where thousands of students come each year, including a lot of foreign students and PhD students. Not less than 13.000 researchers work for the French-speaking universities and 700 doctorates are awarded each year. Several international awards and distinctions have been allocated to dozens of researchers and scientists at the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, including recently in 2013 the Nobel Prize in Physics to François Englert. 


In 2013, Wallonia's GDP was around 88.411 million euros (source IWEPS). Companies in Wallonia are oriented towards export, representing 70% of their turnover.


The main business sectors are :



  • Chemistry

  • Steel industry 

  • Glass industry

  • Goods

  • Agro-industry




  • Transportation

  • Logistics


  • Aerospace

  • Mechanics

  • Biosciences

  • ICT – Telecommunications 

  • Food

  • New materials

  • Automotive providers 

  • Green technologies



The region of Bruxelles-Capitale is more important than its size suggests (1.138.000 inhabitants for 161,4 km2), the city of Brussels being the capital city of the country. It is officially bilingual (French and Dutch) although predominantly French-speaking.


The region is made of 19 boroughs whose three main areas (in terms of inhabitants) are Brussels-city, Schaerbeek and Anderlecht.


In 2013, its GDP was 67.278 million euros (source IWEPS).


Its economy is mainly dominated by national and international public administrations. International services companies are very numerous, so do headquarters of financial and insurance companies. This good positioning is mainly linked to the localization in Brussels of European Institutions and other international institutions such as NATO.


Industry is mereley over, excepted automotive industry. The commercial sector remains very weak.


European and internation institutions in Brussels

  • European Parliament

  • European Union Counsil

  • European Commission

  • European Economic and Social Committee

  • General Secretariat of Benelux

  • Eurocontrol

  • UN (United Nations organization)

  • Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)

  • ILO (International Labour Organization)

  • UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Funds)

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)

  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

  • World Bank

  • etc.


Flanders is the main region of the country with a little more than 6.350.000 inhabitants (58% of the total inhabitants in the kingdom) for 13.522 km2. Flemish is the most used language.


The region can be proud of having amongst the modernest seaports and having very efficient airports, for passengers and fret transportation. It is also amongst the most interesting regions in terms of road, rail and river networks.


The main cities are Antwerpen, Gent, Brugge, Leuven, Mechelen, Aalst, Hasselt, Kortrijk, Sint-Niklaas and Oostende.


Flanders has seven universities with good reputation in several scientific research domains. From year to year, they all have tightened links with several companies in every industry sector, to whom they propose highly skilled young workers.


The region is positionned as in heart of the gold triangle : Paris-London-Brussels


The eight main industry sectors in Flanders are :

  • Automotive

  • Chemistry

  • Lifescience

  • Renewable energies

  • Logistics

  • ICT

  • Food

  • Textile

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