The Dutch language spoken in the north of Belgium (Flanders) is the same language as the one spoken in the Netherlands, although there is a difference in accent.
The Flemish generally know several foreign languages as well, especially French and English. Moreover, in the tourist industry, knowledge of German is widespread.
typical sign here
Today Belgium is a federal kingdom with 10 million inhabitants. The present king is the sixth one, i.e. King Albert II. Belgium is a federation of three Communities (the Flemish, the French and the German communities) and of three Regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels). The federal government is competent in common matters, such as Foreign Affairs, General Economic and Financial Policy, Defence,etc.
"Flanders" was formerly the name of a county, but is now the name of the northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. It is the most dynamic and prosperous region of the country. The Flemish make up about 60% of the Belgium population. In the bilingual capital of Brussels, the Flemish are a minority, although the capital is situated in the Flemish region.
A BRIEF HISTORY ON FLANDERS
In the late middle ages Flanders was a separate country in its own right, ruled by the Counts of Flanders but today it is now the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium with ca 6 million inhabitants.
GLIMPSES OF BELGIUM
We live in a land that is rich in water, and the sea, rivers, and streams have largely shaped the landscape. We get more rain than the Netherlands, that pre-eminent water country. Our northern neighbours receive an average of 720 litres of rain per square meter per year. As the land climbs, we 'enjoy' an increase in our rain wealth where in the high Ardennes it can rise up to1500 litres per year to which 2 meters of snow have to be added.
The rivers that carry this water run from the South to the North and form the great basins of the Meuse and the Sheldt. Our major roads follow the water in its northerly course. The same social, economic, and political conditions developed in both basins out of the feudal patchwork of the Middle Ages. These conditions offered the Burgundian dukes the opportunity to join the Walloons and the Flemish in one state.(11)
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