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1-Belgium - Introduction - CCR199Y1.doc

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Belgium: Identity Card Summary (Officially called “The Kingdom of Belgium”) Source: I – General presentation Capital: Brussels (which is also the capital of the European Union and headquarters for NATO) Major cities: Brussels, Brugge, Antwerp, Ghent Languages: Dutch (Flemish), French (Walloon), German. Political system: It is constitutional monarch and a federal parliamentary state Flag: three equal vertical stripes: black, yellow, red (the colours were taken from the colours of the Duchy of Brabant, and the vertical design may be based on the flag of France). National anthem: The Brabançonne National motto: L'union fait la force (strength through unity) II – Geography The geography of Belgium shows it to have three major areas: lower Belgium (up to 100m above sea level), central Belgium (between 100 and 200m above sea level) and upper Belgium (from 200 to over 500m above sea level). III – History (and its crucial influence) Belgium as an independent country, is still quite young. Independence was declared in 1830. At this time, the various regions of Belgium already had a rich history. The different periods from this era have each contributed to the diversity, openness, character and strength of Belgium today. Historically Belgium has, since the Middle Ages, always been one of the richest and most developed regions in the world. The impressive number of historic churches, town halls, and pieces of art, in cities such as Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp are proof of the wealth during the mediaeval and Renaissance periods, when only the North of Italy could rival its splendor and artistic development. During its second golden age, the half century befor
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