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Belgium, a small country in Western Europe, is generally flat except for the hilly and forested southeast (Ardennes) region. After centuries of invasion and occupation, this crossroads of Europe now stands at centr stage in the newly unifying continent. Belgium is greatly attached to democratic values, and in 1994 a revised constitution made it a federal state, giving political representation to its Dutch, French, and German cultures. There are three regions in the federal state: Flanders in the north (with 5.8 million people) where the official language is Dutch; Wallonia in the south (with 3.3 million people) where French is the official language; and Brussels-Capital region (950,000 people) where both languages are used. The smaller German-speaking community (about 70,000) is in Wallonia. The regions and language communities enjoy autonomy in cultural and economic matters.
Capital: Brussels; 998,000
Area: 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 square miles)
Language: Dutch, French, German
Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant
Life Expectancy: 78
GDP per Capita: U.S. $29,200
Literacy Percent: 98
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