Belgium - download topographic map set
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Updated inMay 2015 (added 4 maps)
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Belgium is situated in the northwest of Europe and borders with France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In the northwest the coasts of Belgium are washed by the North Sea. The total area of Belgium is 30,500,000 sq km.
Relief. The major part of the country is flat, but much dissected by uplands and low hilly ranges. Despite the small size, the territory of the country is clearly divided into three natural zones: the low-lying coastal plain in the northwest surrounded by dunes and dissected by polders, the low central plateau (the High Fens), and the Ardennes Plateau in the southeast of the country. Cultivated landscapes prevail. The highest peak is Signal de Botrange (694 m) in the Ardennes.
Rivers. The territory of Belgium is covered by a dense network of quiet and full-flowing rivers which includes two of the major rivers of Europe – the Meuse and the Scheldt. Passing through the territory of Belgium, the Scheldt fills with the waters of the Lys, the Dender, the Durme, the Rupel, and only in the Netherlands creates the estuary of the Western Scheldt. The tributaries of the Meuse are the Hermeton, the Sambre (disembogues in Namur), the Mehaigne, the Vesdre (in Liege); the joint delta of the Rhine and the Meuse is situated in the Netherland as well.
Canals. The flood risk caused the creation of the drainage regulation system in Low Belgium. The system includes of a pumping stations network and canals, such as Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal, Albert Canal. Lakes in Belgium are few, and all of them are small. Artificial ponds are numerous; the largest of them is Eau d`Heure.
National Parks. The landscapes and the fauna of Belgium are preserved in numerous reserves and natural parks: Hautes Fagnes, Kalmthoute Heide, Zwin (bird sanctuary on the coast), Belsel, Chevetogne, Saint-Hubert, Westhoek.
Sightseeing. Brussels is the capital of Belgium, the cultural and the political centre of the country and the European Community. The old part of the city is called “Pentagon” by the Belgians. One of the most famous historical places of interest of the city is the Royal Galleries of Saint-Hubert. The “Brussels Park” is of great popularity.
Antwerp is the main city of the homonymous province and the second largest port in Europe, and also the world major brillianteering centre.
The city of Lier is famous for its astronomical clock, the ancient Zimmer tower and a circle of the XVI century fortifications.
Ghent - the capital of West Flanders – ranks first according to the quantity of majestic ancient buildings.
Bruges - the main city of West Flanders and a famous Medieval trade centre – is a nice place to visit.
Liege is the largest and one of the oldest cities of Walloon. The first things to visit here are the St. Lambert Square, Palace of Prince-Bishops, Museum of Walloon Life, and Walloon Art Museum.
Over the five centuries` period the former capital of the Spanish Netherlands and the birthplace of Beethoven – the city of Mechelen (Malines) – is famed for its bells and architecture.
One of the leading tourist centres of Belgium – the city of Waterloo – is the place of the glorious battle between of the Napoleonic army and the troops of Wellington. All of the places of interest in the city are dedicated to this event.
The pride of Belgium is the Big Forest of Arden on the border with Germany and Luxembourg where tourists can visit the Neptune`s Grotto (30 minutes to the south of Charleroi), the grotto of “1001 nights” near La-Roche-en-Ardenne, the rock of the citadel in Dinant, and many other picturesque places where in the midst of almost untouched nature one can find ancient monasteries and traces of the recent wars.
Tourism. The coast of the North Sea is the most urbanized and at the same time the most popular region of Belgium. A set of resorts stretches from De Panne to Knokke: Blankenberge, Knokke-le-Zut, Knokke-Heist, Nieuwpoort, De Haan, Koksijde, Zeebrugge, Oostduinkerke, Oostende, Westende, De Panne.
Climate. The climate of Belgium is moderate maritime and quite mild. The average annual temperature of January is +3°C, about -1°C on the coast in the Ardennes; the temperature of July is +14°C to +18°C. The precipitation usually falls out in autumn and winter in the form of rain; the amount is 700 to 900 mm in the plains and up to 1,200-1,500 mm in the mountains.