Flemish Region

The Flemish Region (Vlaams Gewest, pronounced [ˌvlaːms xəˈʋɛst] (listen);[2] French: Région flamande) is one of the three regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders. It occupies the northern part of Belgium and covers an area of 13,522 km2 (44.29% of Belgium). It is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with around 480 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Flemish Region

Vlaams Gewest (Dutch)

Anthem: De Vlaamse Leeuw
SeatBrussels (which is not part of the Flemish Region)
  ExecutiveFlemish Government
  Governing parties (2014–2019)N-VA, CD&V, Open Vld
  Minister-PresidentGeert Bourgeois (N-VA)
  LegislatureFlemish Parliament
  SpeakerJan Peumans (N-VA)
  Total13,522 km2 (5,221 sq mi)
 (1 January 2017)[1]
  Density480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
  Ethnic groupFlemings
ISO 3166 codeBE-VLG
Celebration Day11 July

The Flemish Region should not be confused with the Flemish community: the latter encompasses both the inhabitants of the Flemish Region and the Dutch-speaking minority living in the Brussels Capital-Region.


Immediately after its establishment in 1980, the region transferred all its constitutional competencies to the Flemish Community. Thus, the current Flemish authorities (Flemish Parliament and Flemish Government) represent all the Flemish people, including those living in the Brussels-Capital Region. Hence, the Flemish Region is governed by the Flemish Community institutions. However, members of the Flemish Community parliament elected in the Brussels-Capital Region have no right to vote on Flemish regional affairs.

Administrative divisions

The Flemish Region comprises five provinces, each consisting of administrative arrondissements that, in turn, contain municipalities (in total 300 municipalities in Flanders).

The seat of the Flemish parliament, surprisingly, is located in Brussels, which itself is not part of the Flemish region, being specified that the Brussels Capital-Region is established as an administrative region of Belgium in its own right. Contrary to its Flemish counterpart, the Walloon parliament has established its own parliament on Walloon territory (Namur).

Brussels however contains both the Flemish Community and the French Community, both having their institutions in Brussels.

ProvinceCapital cityAdministrative arrondissementsPopulation (1 Jan 2018)AreaPopulation density
1 Antwerp (Antwerpen)Antwerp (Antwerpen)Antwerpen, Mechelen, Turnhout1,847,4862,867 km²644 / km²
2 Limburg (Limburg)HasseltHasselt, Maaseik, Tongeren870,8802,414 km²361 / km²
3 East Flanders (Oost-Vlaanderen)Ghent (Gent)Aalst, Dendermonde, Eeklo, Gent, Oudenaarde, Sint-Niklaas1,505,0532,991 km²503 / km²
4 Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant)LeuvenHalle-Vilvoorde, Leuven1,138,4892,106 km²541 / km²
5 West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen)Bruges (Brugge)Brugge, Diksmuide, Ieper, Kortrijk, Oostende, Roeselare, Tielt, Veurne1,191,0593,125 km²381 / km²


Flanders is home to a diversified modern economy, with emphasis put on research and development. Many enterprises work closely with local knowledge and research centres to develop new products and services.[3]


"De Lijn" serves as the main public transport company, run by the Flemish government. It consists of buses and trams. TEC is the equivalent company in Wallonia, and MIVB-STIB in Brussels. The railway network run by the NMBS, however, is a federal responsibility.

The Flemish government is also responsible for about 500 kilometers of regional roads (Dutch: gewestwegen) and about 900 kilometers of highways in the territory of the Flemish Region. Other types of roads are provincial roads and municipal roads.



Largest cities in the region include (with population figures as of 1 January 2018):[4]

The Flemish Diamond (Dutch: Vlaamse Ruit) is the name of the central, populous area in Flanders and consists of several of these cities, such as Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen. Approximately 5,500,000 people live in the area.


The official language is Dutch, sometimes colloquially referred to as Flemish. The main dialect groups include West Flemish, East Flemish, Brabantian and Limburgish.

French may be used for certain administrative purposes in a limited number of the so-called "municipalities with language facilities" around the Brussels-Capital Region and on the border with Wallonia.

"Rim municipalities" (around Brussels) are Drogenbos, Kraainem, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Wemmel and Wezembeek-Oppem. Brussels was originally a Dutch-speaking city, but it was francised in the 19th and 20th century and is now largely French-speaking.

Municipalities with language facilities on the border with Wallonia are Bever (French: Biévène), Herstappe, Mesen (French: Messines), Ronse (French: Renaix), Spiere-Helkijn (French: Espierres-Helchin), Voeren (French: Fourons).

International relations

Twin regions and sister regions

See also


  1. Population per municipality as of 1 January 2017 (XLS; 397 KB)
  2. In isolation, gewest is pronounced [ɣəˈʋɛst].
  3. "Flanders | Flanders fits you". Flanders.be. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  4. "kek_demo". Aps.vlaanderen.be. Archived from the original on 18 December 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  5. "ベルギー3地域と「友好交流及び相互協力に関する覚書」を締結". Retrieved 15 May 2017.

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