KINGDOM OF BELGIUM
The Kingdom of Belgium, with a population of about 11 million people, is situated in the west of Europe, bordered to the north by The Netherlands, to the east by Germany and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and to the south and the west by France. It became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. It has prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Although its surface area of 32,545 km2 makes it a small country, its location and hosting of the EU and NATO headquarters has made it the economic and urban nerve centre of Europe.
Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments, granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.