Belgium Country and People

Belgium Human Geography



The historical events then led, over the centuries to a growing prevalence of the Francophone culture, which, however, the residents of Flanders always opposed with determination, proving reluctant to undergo integration into a milieu cultural perceived as foreign. Since 1993 the Federal Constitution establishes the coexistence of the two ethnic groups in the country. Currently the Flemings, corresponding to about 60% of the population, occupy the northern provinces of Flanders, Antwerp and Linburg, while the Walloon are the areas of Hainaut, Namur, Liège, where a German-speaking minority also lives. The attenuation of the ethnic distance does not seem to be in the near future, as unions between Flemings and Walloons are infrequent. Another typical factor of human presence in Belgium is the extraordinary population density: with 349 residents / km², Belgium is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The Belgian population is concentrated to a greater extent in the Flanders region, and to a lesser extent in Wallonia; a very small percentage resides in the Brussels region, mainly centered in the capital.

According to iamhigher, the current population represents approximately three times that recorded at the end of the century. XIX; in 1830, the year of independence, there were 3.7 million residents in Belgium. The demographic increase was therefore notable, although slowed down by the First World War, which caused a high number of deaths; on the other hand, due to the great demands of the mining industry, there was a strong immigration of foreign labor (French, Dutch, German and above all Italians). It continued after the Second World War, but it was mostly a temporary migration. There are no significant changes in the demographic dynamics which fully reflects European standards, especially with regard to the very low annual growth coefficient, also due to a very low birth rate. The most populated part of the country is that of the Flanders region, where the population is equally divided between cities and small towns. Among the forms of rural settlement there are villages of medieval origin, of Germanic derivation, with a circular or square shape; there are numerous small towns dominated by a castle in Wallonia. Urbanism also has ancient origins in Belgium: indeed, it can be said that the medieval city, with its mercantile activities, the fervor of community life, its purely civil architecture, had one of its lands of origin here. Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent are in this sense admirable examples for their still well preserved aspect and for the urban planning centered on the “big square” dominated by the tall and imaginative beffrois (central towers), symbols of the city and its municipal organization.; and next to the towers stand out the beautiful bell towers with a Gothic impetus and the Flemish houses of the rich bourgeoisie who gave the cities prestige and dynamism. This urbanism is found, in less ancient forms, also in Brussels, the capital, which has become, following the most recent industrial developments in the country, the most populous city, mediating between Flanders and Wallonia, located on the road axis, already existing in Roman times, which unites the coast of Flanders (Bruges in particular) with the Rhine valley. Its metropolitan area welcomes numerous peripheral centers, which make Brussels a conurbation of approx. one million residents. Ghent, Bruges and above all Antwerp, a large port on the Schelde, one of the busiest in Europe, also had significant development. The increase in Liège and Charleroi, on the other hand, is entirely due to the mining and industrial development of the Meuse basin.


The oldest industries are represented by the sequence of the lower, middle (about 450,000 years) and recent Acheulean of Spiennes (Hainaut). The Upper Acheulean has also been found in other locations, such as in the Hermitage cave (Liège) and in Sainte-Welburge (Liège), where there is also a Mousterian of Acheulean tradition. The formerly considered Clactonian industry of Mesvin (Hainaut) is attributed to the recent Acheulean, with radiometric dating between 200,000 and 300,000 years. The industry of Sclayn (Namur) dates back to the last Eemian interglacial (Riss / Würm). Different facies Musterians have been recognized near Liège and Namur: the skeletal remains of five Neanderthal individuals, found in Spy, La Nauletteand Engis, also belong to this period. Del Paleolithic higher have come to light both artifacts, in some caves in the provinces of Namur and Liege, both manifestations of rock and movable art, including a Venus carved ivory collection to throu-Magrite, at Pont-à-Lesse. Interesting vestiges dating back to the Mesolithic, including the remains of huts, coming from the province of Liège (for example, the Ahrensburgian of Remouchamps dated to 10,380 years ago). The first Neolithicmanifestationsthey are documented towards the end of the 5th millennium BC. C. and are grafted onto indigenous Mesolithic traditions that still persist for a long time. Only in the course of the fourth millennium did the productive economy assert itself everywhere; in this period Belgium is linked to the Cerny facies of northern France. The flint mines recently identified in Spiennes can be dated to the end of the Neolithic. Numerous testimonies of the subsequent metal ages, including notable ones from the Bronze Age during which the tumulus burials with deposition are gradually replaced by others with incineration rite, and the diffusion of urns of the type called Drakenstein, which prelude to the culture of the Campi d’Urne introduced in the early Iron Age.

Belgium Country and People