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Belgium

Population

Religion and Languages of BelgiumBelgium is one of the world's most densely populated countries. The increase in population after the Second World War has been slower in Wallonia than in Flanders, but the difference between the two areas is now insignificant. The Flemish countries make up 3/5 of the population, the Wallons 2/5.

In 2019, the proportion of urban population was 98 per cent, but the concept of "urbanization", that is to say that rural and urban areas develop simultaneously and intertwine, can be widely applied to Belgium. The largest cities are Antwerp (520,500 residents in 2017) and Ghent (259,100). Brussels had 176,500 residents in the city itself, while the metropolitan area had 1.2 million.

Religion and Languages of Belgium

Language

According to Countryaah, Belgium has three official languages, which are also spoken languages for the overwhelming majority of the population, albeit sometimes in the form of strongly deviating dialects from the standard languages: French (about 40% of the population), Dutch (about 60%) and German (less than 1 %). The country is divided into four language regions. Three are monolingual: Flanders (Dutch), Wallonia (French) and the German-speaking region in the far east. The fourth, the metropolitan region, is bilingual (French and Dutch). The population of the capital Brussels is up to 3/4 French-speaking.

Among the numerous immigrant languages are Italian, Moroccan Arabic, Turkish and Greek. "Flemish" is now mainly used as a term for the dialects in Flanders, while the standard language is called Dutch.

Religion

About 90% of the population are Roman Catholics. The largest among the other groups are the Protestants with about 100,000 members. Through immigration, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism have increased since the 1960s.

The 1831 Constitution guarantees religious freedom. Officials received Catholics, Protestants and Jews, later Anglicans (1870) and Muslims (1974). The first mosque was built in Brussels in 1969. Around 1940 there were about 85,000 Jews, but the number was halved during the Second World War.

There is no statutory state religion and nothing concorded with the Vatican. Church and state are legally separate. In practice, however, there is close cooperation between the dominant Roman Catholic church and the state. This is evident in schools, universities, hospitals and unions. The position of the church is strongest in the French-speaking part, weaker in the Dutch-speaking.

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