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szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen
Belgium: the place to be
    2017-September-28  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

James Baquet

The nation of Belgium derives its name from that of an old Roman province, Gallia Belgica. Starting in the north, Belgium is bordered by the Netherlands; then Germany and Luxembourg on the east; France to the south; and the North Sea (close to where it meets the English Channel) on the west. Belgium lies directly across from where the Thames debouches into the sea.

The small, densely populated country sits on the boundary of “southern” Europe (speaking Latin derivatives) and “northern” Europe (with the Germanic languages dominant). As such, it has two main languages. The Fleming population in Flanders (around 60 percent of the population) speaks Dutch, a Germanic language; and the Walloons of Wallonia (40 percent) speak French, which came from Latin. There is also a small German-speaking community in eastern Wallonia. The Brussels Capital Region, within Flanders, is officially bilingual.

A prosperous nation from the Middle Ages to the 17th century, it became the “Battlefield of Europe” through such events as the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars. Waterloo, where Napoleon was finally overthrown, lies in the center of the country.

Like the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth realms, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and others, Belgium is a constitutional monarchy. But that oversimplifies things. In fact the country has six governments. The Federal government has responsibility for affairs involving the entire country; after that come the Flemish government and the Governments of the French Community, the German-speaking Community, the Walloon Region, and the Brussels Capital Region.

Each government has its own minister (the one for Federal Belgium is called the prime minister, and for each of the others, the minister-president), and each has its own parliament.

As you can imagine, given the differing needs and interests of the varying communities, this can be quite complicated. The system was developed in response to political factionalism and conflict.

Vocabulary:

Which word above means:

1. countries which have the Queen of England as their ruler

2. speaking two languages

3. things that come from other things

4. makes something too simple, and thus wrong

5. breaking up through self-interest

6. opens up, empties

7. defeated, removed from power

8. matters, business

9. various, being dissimilar

10. are more common

 

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