June 10 - Belgian voters may have ended Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt’s eight years in office in an election on Sunday and replaced him with the premier of Dutch-speaking Flanders, who wants to devolve yet more power to the regions.
Here are some key details on the country.
POPULATION: 10.5 million:
RELIGION: Predominantly Roman Catholic, followed by Islam.
LANGUAGE: About 60 percent Dutch-speaking, 40 percent French-speaking. Fewer than 1 percent German speakers.
AREA: 30,528 sq km (11,792 sq miles), just a little larger than the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Belgium, on the North Sea coast, is bordered to the east by the Netherlands and Germany, to the south by Luxembourg and to the west by France.
CAPITAL: Brussels, population 1 million.
ECONOMY: One of the founding members of the European Union, it is home to the bloc’s headquarters. NATO’s headquarters are also in Belgium.
Belgium was the first continental European country to undergo an industrial revolution. Since then, the mining and steelmaking industries in the southern region Wallonia have declined and Dutch-speaking Flanders now dominates, with large modern technology and industrial companies and the bustling port of Antwerp, one of Europe’s biggest harbors.
Belgium is well-known for chocolate, beer and cartoons, notably Tintin. Its chief exports are cars, food products, finished diamonds, chemicals and textiles.