The country is divided into three territorial Regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-Capital Region) and language-based Communities (Dutch, French and German) in line with these language groups, with Brussels as the capital of the federal state of Flanders.
The Region and Community of Flanders have a common Parliament and a Government. This federal state of Flanders has its own legislative and executive powers and is the autonomous northern region of Belgium, with broad and exclusive domestic and international responsibilities. Flanders has a unicameral legislature. The legislative and monitoring power rests with the Flemish Parliament, which is directly elected by the people of Flanders every five years.
Flanders enjoys complete autonomy in numerous domains, because the Government of Flanders and the federal government are on an equal footing and their powers do not overlap. Flanders is responsible for economics, foreign trade, healthcare, energy distribution, housing, agriculture and horticulture, the environment, public works and transport, employment, culture and education, science and innovation. Flanders pursues a foreign policy regarding all of its competences and is able to conclude bilateral and multilateral treaties. Its exchange with other countries is promoted not only by its diplomatic representatives worldwide, but also by approximately 100 representatives who specialise in trade and investment promotion, agriculture and tourism.
Flanders: logistics centre of Western Europe
916 km of motorway
1,607 km of railway
According to the KOF Globalisation Index, Flanders is the most globalised economy in the world.
Antwerp’s P.P. Rubens is known as a baroque painter by 20 to 40% of the population in India, Japan, China, the US and Brazil.
In 2019, Flanders spent more than EUR 50 million on development cooperation
Main export sectors
Chemistry and pharma
EUR 68,6 billion
EUR 41,4 billion
Machines and electrical equipment
EUR 34,6 billion
EUR 28,9 billion
Plastic and applications
EUR 27,2 billion
Flanders is the 15th exporter worldwide (WTO)
go abroad through the Erasmus+
programme. That is 80% more than
10 years ago.
7 in 10Flemings are positive about EU membership
In 2017 there were over
30 millionovernight touristic stays in Flanders
In total, the Government of Flanders spends approximately EUR 160 million annually on foreign policy in all its facets
International institutions in Brussels employ approximately 48.000 people
Flanders hosts 280 music festivals per season