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Getting started with Belgium research

Since 1830 Belgium was striving to gain its independence from the Netherlands in 1830. The London Convention of April 19 1839, also known as the Article XXIV of the Convention, marks the recognition of the Belgian independence. Belgium was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II.

The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.


Brussels* (Bruxelles) capital region

Flanders* region (five provinces):

  • Antwerpen (Antwerp) Province

WWI casualties (1914-1918)

  • Limburg Province
  • Oost-Vlaanderen (East Flanders) Province
  • Vlaams-Brabant (Flemish Brabant) Province
  • West-Vlaanderen (West Flanders) Province

Wallonia Region (five provinces):

  • Brabant Wallon (Walloon Brabant) Province
  • Hainaut Province
  • Liege Province
  • Luxembourg Province
  • Namur Province

Note: as a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities.

Research Tools

Useful websites:

  • (helpful tools and resources, gazetteers)

This information comes from the periodical "Belgian Laces": Here is a web-site that will help ou find villages or towns that may no longer exist on current Belgian maps: Notre Belgique
Under "Coin Lecture" you will find 4 choices:

 -   "Le Saviez-vous" gives you a story behind the creation of Belgium's National Anthem, "La Brabançonne" 
 -   "Vieux Metiers" contains a short list of occupations (in French) 
 -   "Dictionnaires" offers 3 choices 
      - A 1802 Geographic Dictionary of all Departments in Frnace (3 volumes in alphabetical order) 
      - A Geographic dictionary of the 13 Departments in Belgium and East of the Rhein River (2 volumes) 
      - A 1882 Belgian Geographic dictionary 
       They ar expecting to add more books in the future. Nine are currently underway. 
 - Bibliotheque - under Construction - will offer 

       - Etymology 
       - Toponymy 
       - History of Belgium 
       - Dictionary of localities
  • (language dictionary, handwriting guide or tutorial, etc.)

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