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Belgium Geography

Geography

There are three main geographical regions to Belgium: the coastal plain, the central plateau, and the Ardennes uplands.

The coastal area is a series of sandy beaches and polders, backed by protecting dunes.

Inland, up to the Meuse River, the land is generally flat, with numerous canals and dikes protecting the land from the sea. It's criss-crossed by many small tributaries of the Schelde River. Valley's, caves and small gorges can also be found in this area.

East of the Meuse, forested hilly conditions rise to the rugged and flat-topped mountains of the Ardennes Region. The highest point is the Botrange, at 2,276 ft. (694m).

Geography Belgium

Location:

Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands

Geographic coordinates:

50 50 N, 4 00 E

Map references:

Europe

Area:

total: 30,528 sq km
land: 30,278 sq km
water: 250 sq km

Area - comparative:

about the size of Maryland

Land boundaries:

total: 1,385 km
border countries: France 620 km, Germany 167 km, Luxembourg 148 km, Netherlands 450 km

Coastline:

66.5 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: geographic coordinates define outer limit
continental shelf: median line with neighbors

Climate:

temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy

Terrain:

flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: North Sea 0 m
highest point: Signal de Botrange 694 m

Natural resources:

construction materials, silica sand, carbonates

Land use:

arable land: 23.28%
permanent crops: 0.4%
other: 76.32%
note: includes Luxembourg (2001)

Irrigated land:

40 sq km (includes Luxembourg) (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes

Environment - current issues:

the environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries; uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) have slowed progress in tackling environmental challenges

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants

Geography - note:

crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO

Note: The information tabled directly above was researched by and provided by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

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This page was last modified on August 12, 2015.