I. a low-lying country in western Europe on the south shore of the North Sea and English Channel; pop. 10,414,300 (est. 2009); official languages, Flemish and French; capital, Brussels. Flemish name België /ˈbɛlxiːə/, French name Belgique /bɛlʒik/.
Belgium became independent from the Netherlands after a nationalist revolt in 1830. Occupied and devastated during both world wars, Belgium formed the Benelux Customs Union with the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1948 and became a founder member of the EEC. Flemish is spoken mainly in the north of the country, and French and Walloon in the south. / – origin Latin, from Belgae.