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1UpTravel - Geography Info and Facts of Countries : . - Belgium


Belgium Geography and Facts

Location: Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands

Geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 30,510 sq km
land: 30,230 sq km
water: 280 sq km

Area - comparative: about the size of Maryland

Land boundaries:
total: 1,385 km
border countries: France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km

Coastline: 66 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: median line with neighbors
exclusive fishing zone: median line with neighbors (extends about 68 km from coast)
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy

Terrain: flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: North Sea 0 m
highest point: Signal de Botrange 694 m

Natural resources: coal, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 20%
forests and woodland: 21%
other: 34%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: flooding is a threat in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes

Environment - current issues: the environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, intense animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries; uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) have impeded progress in tackling environmental challenges

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note: crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels which is the seat of both the EU and NATO


Geography

Belgium is located at the Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, and Netherlands 450 km. Total area includes 1,385 km.


Climate

The climate near the sea is humid and mild. Farther inland, away from the moderating maritime influences, a marked increase in the range of temperature occurs.

In the Ardennes region hot summers alternate with cold winters. Heavy rains are confined almost exclusively to the highlands. Fog and drizzle are common, and April and November are particularly rainy months.

In Brussels, located at the center of the nation, the average temperatures range from -1 to 4 C (30 to 40 F) in January and 12 to 23 C (54 to 73 F) in July. In Oostende, on the coast, the average range is 1 to 5 C (33 to 41 F) in January and 13 to 20 C (56 to 67 F) in July.

Rainfall in Brussels is uniformly spread throughout the year, with a yearly average of about 860 mm (about 34 in); annual precipitation in Oostende averages about 600 mm (about 24 in).


Background: Belgium 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.

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.



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