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Belgium

Belgium Collection

History Archive - Belgium Collection

Belgium (bel'j%~um), one of the smaller European states, lying between France and the Netherlands, tne North Sea and Rhenish Prussia. It is divided into nine provinces, and comprises 11,373 square miles, less than one third the size of Indiana. It has a population of 7,160,547, or 629 persons to the square mile, so that Belgium is the most densely populated country in Europe.

Dutch, Germans, French, Flemings and Walloons are found among its population. There are twenty-six towns with over 20,000 inhabitants, of which the capital, Brussels (population, 612,401), Antwerp (297,311), Ghent (163,059) and Liege (122,207) are the largest. Most of the country is low, and part of it is protected from the sea by dykes. The Scheldt and the Meuse, with their branches, and a system of canals afford abundant water supply.

The farming is like gardening on a large scale, so carefully is every inch of soil cultivated. All kinds of grain are raised. The land is rich in minerals, including coal, iron, lead, copper, zinc and marble. The chief manufactures are linen, woolen, cotton and silk goods, lace, leather and metals, besides sugar-refineries and distilleries, steel works, blast and puddling furnaces.

For many years Belgium led Europe in commerce, and her foreign trade is still very large. The people are mainly Roman Catholic. Culture has been hindered somewhat by the many different dialects in use; but there are many scientific and literary societies and museums, public libraries, music and art schools and universities at Ghent, Louvain, Liege and Brussels.

Attached to the universities are schools of engineering, arts, manufactures, mining, etc., with a combined attendance in 1909-10 of 2,407 students. There are also 85 schools of design, with nearly 15,000 students, several royal conservatories and other schools of music with 20,192 students, beside the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Antwerp, with 850 students in 1909. Belgium numbers Rubens, Teniers and Van Dyck among its great artists.

The standing army is fixed at 42,800 in time of peace, with 180,000 on a war-footing. Belgium has no navy. The government ife a constitutional monarchy, in which the succession is hereditary There are two houses, much like those in the United States —a senate (having no members), elected for eight years, and a chamber of representatives (present number being 166), elected for four years.

The history of Belgium as a separate kingdom dates from the year 1831, when it parted from Holland-. Its provinces, however, have figured in history from the days of the Caesars. They often served as the battle-ground of Europe, and the battle of Waterloo was fought on the soil of Brabant, a province of this kingdom. When Belgium became independent, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was elected king, and in 1865 his son, the present monarch, succeeded as Leopold II.

War with Holland has several times threatened, and riots of workingmen and socialists have caused disturbance; but the country is steadily growing in prosperity. The revenue estimated for 1911 amounted to 658,-724,000 francs, while the expenditure, as per budget, was a fraction over 658,000,000 francs. The imports for 1910 showed a total of over 6,500,000,000 francs.

The exports from the United States to Belgium, consisting of wheat, cotton, oil-cake, mineral oil, lard and tobacco, were valued in 1911 at $45,016,622, while the imports from Belgium into the United States, consisting of glass-work, rubber goods, iron and steel work and jewelry, had a gross value of $37,084,743. The railways of Belgium in 1911, including the lines operated by the state and those operated by private companies, were 2,915 miles in length.

References:

The New Student's Reference Work (1914) pp. 195-196

Available Books

Images

Image Name
Archway under the Vieille Boucherie, Antwerp
The Place Verte, Antwerp
Interieur de la Cathedrale de Tournay
Tabernacle de l'Eglise St. Jacques a Gand
Tabernacle de l'Eglise St. Martin a Courtrai
Old House of the Quai de la Goffe, Liege
Namur from the Citadel
The Begutnage, Bruges
Utretch
The Quay, with Eel-boats and Landing-stages, Nieuport
Ghent Gate at Bruges
A Dutch Bulb Farm in Spring
Vignette, Belgian Passage Boat, at the Gate of St. Catherine, Bruges
Oude Kerk, Delft
The Bayen Thurm, Cologne
The Town Hall, Nieuport
Quai du Rosaire, Bruges
Tower of the Cathedral at Cologne
Title Page
Entrance to the Old Church of the Carmelites, Brussels
The Concierge of the Musee Plantin Moretus, Antwerp
Palais des Princes-Eveques a Liege
Jube de l'Eglise St. Gommaire a Lierre
Chaire a Precher dans l'Eglise de Ste. Gudule a Bruxelles
Metz
Interieur de l'Eglise de Ste. Gudule a Bruxelles
Portail de la Cathedrale de Tournay
Autel de l'Eglise Notre Dame a Hal
The Wester Kerk, Amsterdam
Town Hall, Louvain
View of the Palais du Franc, Bruges
Quai des Marbriers, Bruges
Eglise de St. Aubin a Namur
The Apollinarisberg
Waterloo
Entree du Choeur de l'Eglise St. Jacques a Liege
Interieur de l'Eglise de Jerusalem a Bruges
La Gleize, a Village in the Ardennes
Porche Lateral de la Cathedrale d'Anvers
Tower of St. Nicholas, Fumes
Oude Hooft-Poort, Rotterdam
Rue de l'Ane Aveugle (showing end of Town Hall and Bridge connecting it with Palais de Justice), Bruges
The Flemish Plain
Pont des Arches, Liege
Front Cover
Engraved Title Page, Palace Royal, Brussels
Church Porch (Evensong), Nieuport
L'Hotel-de-Ville de Bruxelles
L'Hotel de Ville, a Gand
The Roadstead from the Tete de Flandre, Antwerp
A Fair Parishioner, Nieuport
Neckarsteinach
The "Maid of Orleans"
The Inquisition
Bell-ringer playing a Chime
The Camp and Treasure of Charles the Bold en the Hands of the Swiss
Rheinstein, or Reichenstein
Confessionnal de l'Eglise de St. Paul a Anvers
Salle de la Corporation des Brasseurs a Anvers
The Palace at The Hague
Notre-Dame d'Hanswyck a Malines
Chateau de Bouillon, in the Semois Valley
Jube de l'Eglise Notre-Dame a Walcourt
The Herring Tower, Amsterdam
Chateau de Walzin, in the Lesse Valley
A Flemish Inn - Playing Skittles, La Panne
A Farmsteading
Pont des Arches, Liege
Drachenfels and Rolands-Ech
A Shrimper on Horseback, Coxyde
La Salle des Marlages a l'Hotel de Ville d'Anvers
Le Rocher Bayard, Dinant
The Roman Arch at Orange, in the South of France
A Peasant Woman of the Ardennes
Groote Hout-Poort, Haarlem
L'Hotel de Ville d'Audenaerde
Title Page
The Cathedral of Ste. Gudule, Brussels
Ancienne Boucherie et Tour de l'Hotel de Ville a Bruxelles
The Place Verte, Antwerp
Le Perron Liegeois, Liege
Mechlin
Stadt-Huis, Delft
Anciennes Maisons des Corporations a Anvers
Chateau db Bouillon in the Semois Valley
Arnheim
Ruins at Andernach
St. Martin's, Cologne
Maisons Anciennes a Malines
Chapelle dans l'Eglise St. Jacques a Liege
The Arriere Faucille (Achter Sikkel), Ghent
The Eyer Merkt, Antwerp
Village and Canal, Adinkerque
St. Gudula, Brussels
Old House in the Grande Place, Brussels
Front Cover

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