Year Founded: 1830
Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Union. It sits at the crossroads of Europe, both from a geographical perspective and historical or cultural perspective. Dutch, usually referred to as Flemish, is predominantly spoken in the north and French in the south, in addition to a small German-speaking community. The three together are the official languages of Belgium. The state dropped neutrality after WWII and is now a member of NATO and the European Union. Its capital city, Brussels, is also home to the headquarters of these two organizations. Its level of modernization puts the country among the ranks of most developed countries in the world. The country has been in deep water in recent years due to its North-South divide. Insurmountable differences between political parties have prevented the formation of a coalition government multiple times. This currently ongoing situation has set a record at over 650 days, Belgium’s longest period without a formal central government.