Coordinates: 51°00′N 4°30′E / 51.000°N 4.500°E
The Flemish Region (Dutch: Vlaams Gewest, pronounced [ˌvlaːms xəˈʋɛst] (listen); French: Région flamande; German: Flämische Region), usually simply referred to as Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen [ˈvlaːndərə(n)] (listen); French: Flandre [flɑ̃dʁ]; German: Flandern [ˈflandɐn] (listen)), is one of the three regions of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. It occupies the northern part of Belgium and covers an area of 13,625 km2 (5,261 sq mi) (44.4% of Belgium). It is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with around 490/km2 (1,300/sq mi).
The Flemish Region should not be confused with the Flemish Community: the latter encompasses both the inhabitants of the Flemish Region and the Dutch-speaking minority living in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Immediately after its establishment in 1980, the region transferred all its constitutional competencies to the Flemish Community. Thus, the current Flemish authorities (Flemish Parliament and Flemish Government) represent all the Flemish people, including those living in the Brussels-Capital Region. Hence, the Flemish Region is governed by the Flemish Community institutions. However, members of the Flemish Community parliament elected in the Brussels-Capital Region have no right to vote on Flemish regional affairs.
Provinces in the Flemish Region
The Flemish Region comprises five provinces, each consisting of administrative arrondissements that, in turn, contain municipalities (in total 300 municipalities in Flanders).
The seat of the Flemish parliament is located in Brussels, which is an enclave within – but not part of – the Flemish region, being specified that the Brussels-Capital Region is established as an administrative region of Belgium in its own right. In contrast, the Walloon parliament has established its parliament in the territory of Wallonia, specifically in the city of Namur, Namur Province.
Both the Flemish Community (which is a different entity from the Flemish Region) and French Community (which is a different entity from Wallonia) have jurisdiction over the area of the Brussels-Capital Region. Consequently, these constituent constitutional linguistic communities, unlike their somewhat related regions, do not have a defined number of inhabitants. Both of these communities have their institutions in Brussels.
(1 January 2020)
|| Antwerp (Antwerpen)
||Antwerp, Mechelen, Turnhout
||2,876 km2 (1,110 sq mi)
||650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
|| Limburg (Limburg)
||Hasselt, Maaseik, Tongeren
||2,427 km2 (937 sq mi)
||360/km2 (930/sq mi)
|| East Flanders (Oost-Vlaanderen)
||Aalst, Dendermonde, Eeklo, Gent, Oudenaarde, Sint-Niklaas
||3,007 km2 (1,161 sq mi)
||510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
|| Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant)
||2,118 km2 (818 sq mi)
||550/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
|| West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen)
||Bruges, Diksmuide, Ypres, Kortrijk, Ostend, Roeselare, Tielt, Veurne
||3,197 km2 (1,234 sq mi)
||380/km2 (980/sq mi)
||13,626 km2 (5,261 sq mi)
||490/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Flanders is home to a diversified modern economy, with emphasis put on research and development. Many enterprises work closely with local knowledge and research centres to develop new products and services. The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was 269.9 billion € in 2018, accounting for 59% of Belgiums economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 36,300 € or 136% of the EU27 average in the same year.
"De Lijn" serves as the main public transport company, run by the Flemish government. It consists of buses and trams. TEC is the equivalent company in Wallonia, and MIVB-STIB in Brussels. The railway network run by the NMBS, however, is a federal responsibility.
The Flemish government is also responsible for about 500 kilometers of regional roads (Dutch: gewestwegen) and about 900 kilometers of highways in the territory of the Flemish Region. Other types of roads are provincial roads and municipal roads.
Largest cities in the region include (with population figures as of 1 January 2018):
- Antwerp (523,248)
- Ghent (260,341)
- Bruges (118,284)
- Leuven (101,396)
- Mechelen (86,304)
- Aalst (85,715)
- Hasselt (77,651)
- Sint-Niklaas (76,756)
- Kortrijk (76,265)
- Ostend (71,332)
- Genk (66,110)
- Roeselare (62,301)
The Flemish Diamond (Dutch: Vlaamse Ruit) is the name of the central, populous area in Flanders and consists of several of these cities, such as Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen. Approximately 5,500,000 people live in the area.
The official language of the Flemish Region is Dutch. The dialect cluster spoken in the region is sometimes colloquially referred to as Flemish (Vlaams), Flemish Dutch (Vlaams-Nederlands), Belgian Dutch (Belgisch-Nederlands), or Southern Dutch (Zuid-Nederlands). Spelling and grammar are regulated by a single authority, the Dutch Language Union (Nederlandse Taalunie), comprising a committee of ministers of the Flemish and Dutch governments, their advisory council of appointed experts, a controlling commission of 22 parliamentarians, and a secretariat. The term Flemish can be applied to the Dutch spoken in Flanders; it shows many regional and local variations. The main dialect groups include West Flemish, East Flemish, Brabantian and Limburgish.
The municipalities with language facilities near Brussels
French (specifically Belgian French) may also be used in the Flemish Region for certain administrative purposes in a limited number of the so-called "municipalities with language facilities" around the Brussels-Capital Region and on the border with Wallonia. These "rim municipalities" around Brussels are Drogenbos, Kraainem, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Wemmel and Wezembeek-Oppem. Brussels was originally a Dutch-speaking city (Brabantian dialect to be exact), but it was francised in the 19th and 20th centuries and is now officially bilingual in French and Dutch (although largely French-speaking in practice). Municipalities with language facilities on the border with Wallonia are Bever (French: Biévène), Herstappe, Mesen (French: Messines), Ronse (French: Renaix), Spiere-Helkijn (French: Espierres-Helchin), and Voeren (French: Fourons).
Religion in the Flemish Region in 2016
Other religion (2%)
According to a 2016 survey by the Free University of Brussels, 63% of Flemish citizens are Roman Catholic, 2% are Protestant, 26% have not religion, while 2% have other religions.
Twin regions and sister regions
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