Flemish Region

Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium Flemish Community Dutch language

Coordinates: 51°00′N 4°30′E / 51.000°N 4.500°E / 51.000; 4.500

Flemish Region

Vlaams Gewest (Dutch)
Flag of Flemish Region
Anthem: De Vlaamse Leeuw
Location of Flemish Region
Country Belgium
Community Flemish Community
SeatCity of Brussels (which is not part of the Flemish Region)
 • ExecutiveFlemish Government
 • Governing parties (2019)N-VA, CD&V, Open Vld
 • Minister-PresidentJan Jambon (N-VA)
 • LegislatureFlemish Parliament
 • SpeakerJan Peumans (N-VA)
 • Total13,625 km2 (5,261 sq mi)
 (1 January 2019)[2]
 • Total6,589,069
 • Density483/km2 (1,250/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groupFlemings
 • LanguagesDutch
ISO 3166 codeBE-VLG
Celebration Day11 July

The Flemish Region (Dutch: Vlaams Gewest, pronounced [ˌvlaːms xəˈʋɛst] (About this soundlisten);[3] 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 13,625 km2 (5,261 sq mi) (44.4% of Belgium). It is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with around 483/km2 (1,250/sq mi).

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

Provinces in the Flemish Region

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.

Province Capital city Administrative arrondissements Population (1 Jan 2019)[2] Area[1] Population density
1  Antwerp (Antwerpen) Antwerp (Antwerpen) Antwerpen, Mechelen, Turnhout 1,857,986 2,876 km2 (1,110 sq mi) 647/km2 (1,680/sq mi)
2  Limburg (Limburg) Hasselt Hasselt, Maaseik, Tongeren 874,048 2,427 km2 (937 sq mi) 361/km2 (930/sq mi)
3  East Flanders (Oost-Vlaanderen) Ghent (Gent) Aalst, Dendermonde, Eeklo, Gent, Oudenaarde, Sint-Niklaas 1,515,064 3,007 km2 (1,161 sq mi) 504/km2 (1,310/sq mi)
4  Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant) Leuven Halle-Vilvoorde, Leuven 1,146,175 2,118 km2 (818 sq mi) 542/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
5  West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen) Bruges (Brugge) Brugge, Diksmuide, Ieper, Kortrijk, Oostende, Roeselare, Tielt, Veurne 1,195,796 3,197 km2 (1,234 sq mi) 375/km2 (970/sq mi)


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.[4] The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was 269.9 billion € in 2018, accounting for 59% of Belgiums economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 36,300 € or 136% of the EU27 average in the same year.[5]


Bus of "De Lijn"

"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):[6]

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.

The municipalities with language facilities near Brussels

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. ^ a b "Be.STAT".
  2. ^ a b "Structuur van de bevolking | Statbel".
  3. ^ In isolation, gewest is pronounced [ɣəˈʋɛst].
  4. ^ "Flanders | Flanders fits you". Flanders.be. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.
  6. ^ "kek_demo". Aps.vlaanderen.be. Archived from the original on 18 December 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  7. ^ "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.