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Belgium Geography 1999

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

    Geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 00 E

    Map references: Europe

    total: 30,510 sq km
    land: 30,230 sq km
    water: 280 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: 64 km

    Maritime claims:
    continental shelf: median line with neighbors
    exclusive fishing zone: median line with neighbors (extends about 68 km from coast)
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    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: coal, natural gas

    Land use:
    arable land: 24%
    permanent crops: 1%
    permanent pastures: 20%
    forests and woodland: 21%
    other: 34%

    Irrigated land: 10 sq km including Luxembourg (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: flooding is a threat 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, intense animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries; uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) have impeded progress in tackling environmental challenges

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

    Geography—note: crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels which is the seat of both the EU and NATO

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)