The Kingdom of Belgium is a small nation in western Europe located between France and the Netherlands, with Luxembourg and Germany to its east and 68 kilometers (42 miles) of coastline along the North Sea. Belgium is divided into three nearly autonomous regions, each with its own official language. Dutch is spoken in the region of Flanders in the north and French in Wallonia, in the south. Both languages are official in the capital, Brussels, and German is spoken in a small area in the east of the country near the German border.
Most of Belgium’s workforce is employed in the service sector, with banking and financial services being particularly important. Steel, metals and metal processing, and chemicals are among the country’s major industries. Belgium is also a major center of international trade and commerce. The port of Antwerp, located 80 kilometers (50 miles) inland along the Scheldt River, is one of the busiest ports in Europe and among the busiest in the world, and the country is well connected to the rest of Europe by a modern road and rail network. One of the founding members of the European Union (which chose Brussels as its capital), Belgium offers a strategic geographic location and political stability to companies considering international expansion in Europe.