Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Football in Belgium
Football, a sport, played in Belgium since the end of the 19th century, is the country's most popular sport. The national association was founded in 1895 with the intention of bringing some order and organization to the sport; the first match of the Belgium national team was played on a 3 -- 3 draw against France. Traditionally, the clubs Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Standard Liège are the three most dominant domestic teams, all of them having played and/or won one or more European Cup final. Except for Standard Liège and Charleroi, most professional clubs have Flemish backgrounds. Both the national football team and the top Belgium division have a reputation for physical play; this came as a result of a lack of technically skilled foreign players allowed to play in Belgium due to legal restrictions. This changed after the Bosman ruling which forced the liberalization of the football player market in Europe. In response, Belgian clubs began to buy unknown players from Eastern Europe, South America and Africa.
This had two contradictory consequences. On the one hand, the national team was weakened by the reduced opportunity for native Belgium players to gain a spot on domestic teams. On the other hand, the Jupiler League reinforced its status as an entry league for players who move on to some of the greatest European clubs. Indeed, some of the most talented players in Europe have played in Belgian clubs, including Yaya Touré, Jean-Pierre Papin, Daniel Amokachi, Antolín Alcaraz and David Rozehnal were discovered at Club Brugge. Others who began or launched their professional careers in Belgium include William Carvalho, Emmanuel Eboué, Gervinho, Didier Zokora, Arthur Boka, Ivica Dragutinović, Mario Stanić, Morten Olsen, Dorinel Munteanu, André Cruz, Seol Ki-hyeon, Kennet Andersson, Klas Ingesson, Aaron Mokoena, Michaël Ciani, Nicolás Pareja, Oguchi Onyewu, Rabiu Afolabi, Cheick Tioté, Peter Odemwingie, Joseph Yobo, Ouwo Moussa Maazou, Milan Jovanović, Ognjen Vukojević, Ivan Perišić, Nikica Jelavić, Demba Ba, Bryan Ruiz and Rob Rensenbrink.
Because of the physical nature of Belgian football, it has tended to produce talented defensive players. These include Jean-Marie Pfaff, Eric Gerets, Leo Clijsters, Michel Preud'homme, Georges Grün, Philippe Albert, Franky Van Der Elst, Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen. In comparison, only few attacking Belgian footballers have received international recognition: Enzo Scifo, Jan Ceulemans, Marc Degryse, Luc Nilis and Émile Mpenza. However, this latter trend is starting to change, with Belgium producing such offensive talents as Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembélé, Christian Benteke, Kevin Mirallas, Marouane Fellaini, Kevin De Bruyne and Dries Mertens, among others. With football's rapid growth in popularity in the late 19th century, several football clubs came into existence in Belgium. In 1926, the Royal Belgian Football Association decided to introduce matricule numbers to tell the clubs apart and assigned a matricule to each existing club by order of registration. In this manner, Antwerp was awarded matricule number 1 as the first to register.
As such, the oldest clubs in Belgium have the lowest matricule numbers, although there are clubs which registered only years after their origination and as a result have a much higher matricule than would be expected. Many clubs those with low numbers, consider their matricule number part of their heritage and past and prominently feature it in their logo or name. In case a club dissolves, the matricule number of this club is removed permanently and lost forever as numbers are never reused. In case of mergers, the new club must decide which matricule number to keep, it begins the championship at the level where the former club with the same matricule number should have begun the season. Mergers result in the most famous club's matricule being kept alive. However, it has occurred that a club with a glorious past or championship titles had to merge with another less successful club in order to survive due to financial difficulties. In this case, the matricule number of the club, the honours linked to it, were lost with the merger.
As an examples, in the late 1990s, seven-time champion K. Beerschot VAC was struggling with financial difficulties in the third division and merged with first division neighbour club KFC Germinal Ekeren to survive; the new club was named KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen and started in the first division with the matricule number of KFC Germinal Ekeren, but lost the honours of K Beerschot VAC. The new club did keep playing in the Beerschot stadium and wore the purple shirt for which Beerschot was famously known. Another famous example is that of five-time champion Daring Club de Bruxelles' merger with RR White into R White Daring Molenbeek in 1973. From the 2010s, matricules have been sold and traded, with clubs wanting to take over the position in a series of another club acquiring these matricules in order to move up one or more divisions. Examples include BX Brussels, which acquired the matricule of Bleid-Gaume in 2013, with the intent to transform and move the club from Bleid to Brussels, over 200 kilometres away.
The Royal Belgian Football Association therefore enforced a new rule in 2016, stating that after a takeover, a club cannot move more than 30 kilometres from its original location. From 2017, the Belgian FA enforced another rule, which allows clubs to buy back their old defunct matricule, first done by Lyra who acquired the matricule 52 of the old defunct Lyra. In 2018, Oud-Heverlee Leuven, the result of a merger of three clubs around th
Club Brugge KV
Club Brugge Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging referred to as just Club Brugge, is a football club based in Bruges in Belgium. It was founded in 1891 and its home ground is the Jan Breydel Stadium, which has a capacity of 29,062. One of the most decorated clubs in Belgian football, it has been Belgian league champion on 15 occasions, second only to major rivals Anderlecht, it shares the Jan Breydel Stadium with city rival Cercle Brugge, with whom they contest the Bruges derby. Throughout its long history, Club Brugge has enjoyed much European football success, reaching two European finals and two European semi-finals. Club Brugge is the only Belgian club to have played the final of the European Cup so far, losing to Liverpool in the final of the 1978 season, they lost in the 1976 UEFA Cup Final to the same opponents. Club Brugge holds the European record number of consecutive participations in the UEFA Europa League, the record number of Belgian cups and the record number of Belgian Supercups. 1890: Brugsche Football ClubClub created by old students of the Catholic school Broeders Xaverianen and the neutral school Koninklijk Atheneum.
13 November 1891: Club recreatedThe club was recreated. This has since been adopted as the official date of foundation. 1892: First boardAn official board was installed in the club. 1894: Football Club Brugeois Club created by 16 old members of Brugsche FC. 1895: Vlaamsche Football Club de Bruges Club created in the city. 1895–96: the UBSSA set up in 1895. and they went to the UBSSA and took part of the first Belgian national league. 1896: Leaving the UBSSAFinancially it was difficult for FC Brugeois and so after only one year they had to leave the UBSSA. 1897: Fusion FC Brugeois joined Brugsche FC but they continued under the name Football Club Brugeois. 1902: New fusion Vlaamsche FC joined FC Brugeois. 1912: De KlokkeThey moved to a new stadium named "De Klokke". 1913–14: First cup finalFC Brugeois reached their first Belgian Cup final but they lost 2–1 from Union SG. 1920: First time league championsThe club became for the first time champions of the first division. 1926: Royal Football Club Brugeois The club get number 3 as their matricule number and in the same year they get the royal title.
1928: First relegationA first low when the club was relegated to the second division. 1930: New statutePresident Albert Dyserynck changed the club's statute into a non-profit association. 1931: Albert DyserynckstadionWhen president Albert Dyserynck died they honoured him by changing the stadium's name into Albert Dyserynckstadion. 1959: Permanent to the first divisionRFC Brugeois promoted to the first division and never relegated again in the future. 1968: First time cup winnersThey won the Belgian Cup for the first time against Beerschot AC. 1972: Club Brugge Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging The club changed their name into the Flemisch name Club Brugge KV 1975: OlympiastadionThey moved from Albert Dyserynckstadion to Olympiastadion. 1976: Highest position in UEFA CupUnder Austrian coach Ernst Happel, Club Brugge reached the finals of the UEFA Cup and lost against Liverpool. 1978: Only Belgian European Cup 1 finalistsStill under Ernst Happel, the club faced Liverpool again of a European final.
This time it was in the European Champions Clubs' Cup final. And again they lost. Club Brugge is the only Belgian club that has reached the finals of the European biggest competition. 1992: First goal scorer in the Champions LeagueDaniel Amokachi is the first goal scorer in the Champions League. He scored against CSKA Moscow. 1998: Jan BreydelstadionOlympiastadion had to be expanded for the EURO 2000 organisation. They changed the name into Jan Breydelstadion. 2006: CLUBtvClub Brugge was the first Belgian club to create its own TV channel. The club don a blue home kit as has been traditional through their history. Away from home they wear a red strip; the clubs kit supplier is Macron. Club Brugge is the most supported club in Belgium, it has fans all over the country. Attendances are high; the Jan Breydel Stadium is sold out at every home game. Some of these fans are part of 62 supporter clubs in Belgium; the "Supportersfederatie Club Brugge KV", founded in 1967, is recognized as the official supporters club of Club Brugge.
In tribute the fans dubbed the twelfth man in football, Club Brugge no longer assigns the number 12 to players. Club Brugge has a TV show, CLUBtv, on the Telenet network since 21 July 2006; this twice weekly show features exclusive interviews with players and managers. The official mascot of Club Bruges is symbol of the city of Bruges; the history of the bear is related to a legend of the first Count of Flanders, Baldwin I of Flanders, who had fought and defeated a bear in his youth. Since the end of 2000, a second mascot, always a bear, travels along the edge of the field during home games for fans to call and encourage both their favorites; these two bears are called Bene. In 2010, a third bear named Bibi, made its appearance, he is described as the child of the first two mascots, is oriented towards the young supporters. Like many historic clubs, Club Brugge contests rivalries with other Belgian clubs, whether at local or regional level. At regional level, Club Brugge has maintained rivalry with a team in the neighboring province.
The successes achieved by Club Bruges in the early 1970s, combined with poor season performances by Gent in the same period, attracted many fans. Since the late 1990s, Gent again played a somewhat more leading role in Belgium, matches against Club Brug