By George Wingfield

Mendacity at the coast of the North Sea in northwestern Europe, with Germany to its east, the Netherlands to its north and France to its south and west, Belgium is found on the center of 1 of Europe's such a lot hugely industrialized areas. including its associates the Netherlands and Luxembourg, this team of 3 international locations is talked about jointly as Benelux. Belgium has a inhabitants of approximately 10 million humans in a space of 11,700 sq. miles (30,000 sq. kilometers) and contains French, Dutch, and German as its respectable languages.Belgium used to be one of many founding contributors of the eu Union (EU), and Brussels is successfully the unofficial capital of Europe - domestic to the eu Parliament of the eu Union and the headquarters of NATO (of which Belgium and the U.S. are either individuals) in addition to a number of different foreign organisations. A full-color research of the background, humans, tradition, geography, setting, and financial system of this pivotal state and position it performs in modern day international politics are highlighted in "Belgium".

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FEDERAL ­GOVERNMENT The Federal Parliament in Brussels consists of two chambers, the Bel-­ gian Senate and the Chamber of Representatives. The Senate (Dutch: de Senaat, French: le Sénat), or Upper House of Parliament, now comprises 71 elected senators. Forty are elected directly, 21 appointed by the community parliaments, and 10 are ­ co-­opted, or elected, by their fellow senators. Distribution of seats between the different polit-­ ical parties is the result of direct election. Before the federal Belgian 59 60 Belgium election of May 1995, there were 184 elected senators.

As a result of his unpopularity following the war, King Leo-­ pold III abdicated in 1951 in favor of his son Baudouin I. Leo­ pold’s unpopularity was mainly due to his decision to surrender to Nazi Germany in 1940, when Belgium was invaded. Many Belgians questioned his loyalties, even though a ­commission of 39 40 Belgium inquiry after the war found him not guilty of treason. A refer-­ endum on his continued rule was held. Although he narrowly won this vote, strikes and unrest over the issue nonetheless led to his decision to abdicate the ­throne.

Much of this art was produced well before modern Belgium came into being in 1830. Many of the earlier Renaissance paintings were sacred art inspired by religious themes, but there is much more as ­well. One the country’s greatest artists was undoubtedly Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c. 1525–1569). He was a Flemish/Dutch Renaissance painter known 54 Belgium for his striking landscapes and peasant themes. Although there was no such country as Belgium in his day, Belgium can safely claim him because he was accepted as a master in the paint-­ ers’ guild of Antwerp.

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