|Things To Know
Landscape of History
Beaches, Woodlands and Parks
A detail from The King Drinks by Jacob Jordaens (1593b1678) on display in the Groeningemuseum
© AA Photo Library
The Belgium of today is a nation born out of a divided Europe, a remarkable survivor in spite of the differences in politics,
territory and language that remain within its own borders. Too often it is seen as the administrative focus of the European
Union, a country preoccupied with international politics and commerce. Geographically, it is tiny (about the size of Maryland)
relative to the size of Europe's larger nations. The Netherlands lies to the north; Germany to the east; France to the south;
and Luxembourg, an independent Grand Duchy linked historically to Belgium, adjoins it on the southeast.
The northwestern coastline of Belgium faces Britain across the narrow neck of the English Channel. The influences and interests
of all of these countries have impacted on Belgium and, in the case of France and the Netherlands, have radically shaped the
country's north-south linguistic and cultural divide.