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BelgiumThe name Belgium is rooted in the Roman name of the region, Gallia Belgica. This name likely came from the local inhabitants at the time, the Belgae, who were Celtic and Germanic in origin.

Introduction:

Belgium is a quiet country that defines contrasts and is often overlooked, despite the incredible influences the country has made on the world. This modesty is likely rooted in the country's past; the Flemish and Walloons of modern day Belgium have lived on these lands for centuries as simple farmers and fishers. Political organization was lacking, but the people didn't seek out further power of wealth.

For much of history the lands of Belgium were occupied with farmers of various ethnicities, and who spoke various languages. These people lived simple lives and got along with neighboring people as focus was on life, not power. This created a somewhat diverse region as the people had ties to the Germans, French, and Dutch, but all identified on a more local level, never seeing themselves as a part of these larger groups.

The local identity of each group of people in Belgium meant over time cultural differences arose. Although the Flemish continued to speak Dutch and the Walloons continued to speak French, these people grew on their own path and remained separated from the Dutch and French in neighboring regions.

Once political unification in the region became a reality, it was clear that the people of Belgium had created a distinct identity and culture and didn't fit in with either the Netherlands or France politically. This encouraged the people to form their own country, which has since continued forming its own national identity, while the Flemish and Walloons continue on their cultural paths as well.

Despite the low profile Belgium has held for most of history, the country has made substantial impacts on the world. In terms of food, inspiration comes from the Netherlands and France, but the Belgians themselves are responsible for waffles and French fries. Like French fries, which don't even bare their name, the Belgians have also turned around in terms of political power. Although never a political center, today Brussels is home to the European Union Commission and holds a great deal of political power. Despite this power and the vibrant nightlife found in the city when politicians are in town, on weekends the city and country return to its roots as true Belgian culture can be found over a local beer.

The vertical strips of Belgium's flag are designed after the vertical stripes on France's flag. The colors of the Belgian flag represent the colors found on the arms of the Duchy of Brabant: yellow for the lion, red for the lion's claws, and black for the lion's tongue.

Name: Kingdom of Belgium
Independence: October 4, 1830
Capital: Brussels
Currency: Euro
Population: 10,444,268 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Flemish & Walloon
Language: French, Dutch, & German
Religion: Catholic

Information for Belgium was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks