Flanders

Inhabitants: 
6.161.000 (2008)
Area: 
13.522 km2
GDP: 
195,3 billlion EUR (2008)
GDP/capita: 
31.700 euro
Main industry sectors: 
Engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum.
Description: 

Flanders, one of the three Belgian regions, covers an area of 13,512 sq. km. It lies in the heart of the large Western European industrial area and benefits from a highly educated workforce, a good transport network and a major seaport (Antwerp). Flanders accounts for roughly 60% of Belgian Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Agriculture plays only a minor role in the region with a 3.1% share in employment. Industry, employing 30.8%, primarily involves processing; the chemical and metallurgic sectors are dominant, followed by car manufacturing. Redundancies in manufacturing have recently been balanced by a significant increase in the service sector, which now makes up 66.1% of employment.

This modern private enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets. Roughly, three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Public debt is nearly 100% of GDP. On the positive side, the government has succeeded in balancing its budget, and income distribution is relatively equal. Belgium began circulating the euro currency in January 2002.

Flanders involved institutions: