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Belgium & Belgian Collections at the Library of Congress

This guide provides curated Library of Congress resources for students researching Belgium, including digitized primary sources in a wide variety of formats, books and periodicals, online databases, special collections, and tips for searching.

Introduction

Welcome noble Belgium. 1917. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Library of Congress holds thousands of collection materials about and from Belgium. The Library's general collections of monographs, bound periodicals, and annuals include approximately 75,000 titles from or about Belgium. The total number of volumes exceeds 125,000, since many of the individual titles are multi-volume. These materials cover all disciplines of the humanities, social sciences and sciences, with particular strengths in history, language and literature. Roughly half of these materials are in French and forty percent in Dutch. The remainder is in English, German, and more than a dozen other languages. The European Reading Room provides direct access to a large number of reference works on Belgium, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, histories, biographical directories, bibliographies and other reference sources. The reading room makes available for onsite use numerous bibliographic databases and full-text resources, many of which contain citations or texts pertaining to Belgium. Since the 1970s, the Library has averaged annual receipts of more than 600 monographic titles from Belgium and an additional 100 titles about Belgium published outside that country. This guide offers links to diverse resources on Belgium from across the Library of Congress including digitized primary sources, selected books and periodicals, telephone directories, online databases, and tips for searching. For specific questions or assistance using the Library’s resources, use the Ask a Librarian service to contact a reference librarian.

Belgium is a culturally and linguistically diverse country nestled between the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Luxembourg. Belgium is similar to the state of Maryland in terms of geographic size. Belgium has a modest coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and is divided into three geographic regions: the coastal plains in the northeast, the central plateau, and the more hilly, heavily-forested region in the southeast. Belgium's government is classified as a federal parliamentary democracy led by Alexander De Croo, the current Prime Minister. They also have a monarchy led by King Philippe. Brussels, the de jure capital, not only houses the federal government but also several legislative and judicial bodies that make-up the European Union. Belgium has had a profound cultural influence on other countries. Some culinary staples that come to mind include beer, fries, chocolate, and waffles. There are also numerous other regional specialties with French, German, and Dutch influences. This cultural influence is not limited to food; they have an impressive football team and an expansive art and literary répertoire. The latter includes the world-renowned bandes dessinées, such as The Smurfs, and a thriving contemporary literary scene marked by the inclusion of more voices; particularly those of young people, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and people of color.

This guide offers links to diverse resources on Belgium from across the Library including digitized primary sources, selected books and periodicals on a number of subjects, online databases, information on the European Reading Room, and tips for searching the Library of Congress Online Catalog. For specific questions or assistance using the Library’s resources, use the Ask a Librarian service to contact a reference librarian.

Belgium: Quick Facts

United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Belgium. 1985. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Official Name: Kingdom of Belgium

Capital: Brussels

Date of Independence: 1830

Head of State/Government: King Philippe (Monarch), Alexander De Croo (Prime Minister)

Population: 11,521,238

Languages: Dutch (59.6%), French (40%), German (0.4%)

Regions: Flemish Region, Walloon Region, Brussels Capital Region