The Flemish Region (Vlaams Gewest, pronounced [ˌvlaːms xəˈʋɛst] (listen); French: Région flamande) is one of the three regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders. It occupies the northern part of Belgium and covers an area of 13,522 km2 (44.29% of Belgium). It is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with around 480 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Vlaams Gewest (Dutch)
|Anthem: De Vlaamse Leeuw|
|Seat||Brussels (but not part of the Flemish Region)|
|• Executive||Flemish Government|
|• Governing parties (2014–2019)||N-VA, CD&V, Open Vld|
|• Minister-President||Geert Bourgeois (N-VA)|
|• Legislature||Flemish Parliament|
|• Speaker||Jan Peumans (N-VA)|
|• Total||13,522 km2 (5,221 sq mi)|
(1 January 2017)
|• Density||480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|• Ethnic group||Flemings|
|ISO 3166 code||BE-VLG|
|Celebration Day||11 July|
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.
The Flemish Region comprises five provinces, each consisting of administrative arrondissements that, in turn, contain municipalities (in total 308 municipalities in Flanders).
The seat of the Flemish parliament, surprisingly, is located in Brussels, which itself is 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. Contrary to its Flemish counterpart, the Walloon parliament has established its own parliament on Walloon territory (Namur).
|Province||Capital city||Administrative arrondissements||Population (1 Jan 2018)||Area||Population density|
|1||Antwerp (Antwerpen)||Antwerp (Antwerpen)||Antwerpen, Mechelen, Turnhout||1,847,486||2,867 km²||644 / km²|
|2||Limburg (Limburg)||Hasselt||Hasselt, Maaseik, Tongeren||870,880||2,414 km²||361 / km²|
|3||East Flanders (Oost-Vlaanderen)||Ghent (Gent)||Aalst, Dendermonde, Eeklo, Gent, Oudenaarde, Sint-Niklaas||1,505,053||2,991 km²||503 / km²|
|4||Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant)||Leuven||Halle-Vilvoorde, Leuven||1,138,489||2,106 km²||541 / km²|
|5||West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen)||Bruges (Brugge)||Brugge, Diksmuide, Ieper, Kortrijk, Oostende, Roeselare, Tielt, Veurne||1,191,059||3,125 km²||381 / km²|
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.
"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.
French may be used 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.
"Rim municipalities" (around Brussels) are Drogenbos, Kraainem, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Wemmel and Wezembeek-Oppem. Brussels was originally a Dutch-speaking city, but it was francised in the 19th and 20th century and is now largely French-speaking. A few municipalities in the Flemish agglomeration of Brussels are now also francised.
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), Voeren (French: Fourons).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Flemish Region.|
- (in English) Flemish authorities (Dutch: Vlaamse overheid).
- (in English) Flanders online (also in French, German and Dutch).
- Toerisme Vlaanderen
- (in French) French Flanders
- (in Dutch) Frans-Vlaanderen
- (in Dutch) The Flemish region reaches 6 million inhabitants