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Languages and population of Belgium


03/08/2019

Belgium (i/ˈbɛldʒəm/ bel-jəm), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.


Viber

Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi), and it has a population of about 11 million people.

In the beginning of 2007, nearly 92% of the population had Belgian citizenship, and other European Union member citizens account for around 6%. The prevalent foreign nationals were Italian (171,918), French (125,061), Dutch (116,970), Moroccan (80,579), Spanish (42,765), Turkish (39,419) and German (37,621). Immigrants since 1945 and their descendents are estimated by 2008 to have formed 22% of the total population.[100] Of these 'New Belgians', 1,313,000 (56%) are of European ancestry and the 950,000 others originated from the rest of the world.

Almost all of the Belgian population is urban—97% in 2004.[101] The population density of Belgium is 342 per square kilometre (886 per square mile).

The most densely inhabited area is Flanders,[102] and in particular the Flemish Diamond, outlined by the Antwerp–Leuven–Brussels–Ghent agglomerations.[103] In 2007, there were 1.38 million foreign-born residents in Belgium, corresponding to 12.9% of the total population. Of these, 685 000 (6.4%) were born outside the EU and 695 000 (6.5%) were born in another EU Member State.


The Ardennes have the lowest density. As of 2006, the Flemish Region had a population of about 6,078,600, with Antwerp (457,749), Ghent (230,951) and Bruges (117,251) its most populous cities; Wallonia had 3,413,978, with Charleroi (201,373), Liège (185,574) and Namur (107,178) its most populous. Brussels houses 1,018,804 in the Capital Region's 19 municipalities, two of which have over 100,000 residents.[105]

Languages

Belgium has three official languages, which are in order of native speaker population in Belgium: Dutch, French and German.

A number of non-official minority languages are spoken as well.

As no census exists, there are no official statistical data regarding the distribution or usage of Belgium's three official languages or their dialects.

However, various criteria, including the language(s) of parents, of education, or the second-language status of foreign born, may provide suggested figures. An estimated 59% of the Belgian population speaks Dutch (often colloquially referred to as "Flemish"), and 40% of the population speaks French.

Total Dutch speakers are 6.23 million, concentrated in the northern Flanders region, while French speakers comprise 3.32 million in Wallonia and an estimated 0.87 million or 85% of the officially bilingual Brussels-Capital Region.

The German-speaking Community is made up of 73,000 people in the east of the Walloon Region; around 10,000 German and 60,000 Belgian nationals are speakers of German. Roughly 23,000 more German speakers live in municipalities near the official Community.

Both Belgian Dutch and Belgian French have minor differences in vocabulary and semantic nuances from the varieties spoken respectively in the Netherlands and France. Many Flemish people still speak dialects of Dutch in their local environment. Walloon, once the main regional language of Wallonia, is now only understood and spoken occasionally, mostly by elderly people. Wallonia's dialects, along with those of Picard are not used in public life.