Flanders is the federal region of Northern Belgium that is predominantly Dutch-speaking. It is surrounded by the North Sea, Netherlands, France and the Belgian region of Wallonia. Note that the term Flanders is also sometimes used to refer to the original land of the Flemings that not only comprises Belgian Flanders but also the French Flanders in France and the Zeelandic Flanders in the Netherlands. Because of their common past, the Belgian Flanders shares many cultural characteristics with the French and Dutch Flanders.
The Belgian Flanders is divided into a number of regions – West Landers, East Landers, Antwerp, Limburg and Flemish Brabant. The biggest cities include Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Leuven. Strangely though, the Belgian Flanders capital is Brussels even though Brussels lies in a different federal region i.e. Brussels district.
Each town and city in the Belgian Flanders has something interesting for tourists. Bruges for instance is usually referred to as the ‘North’s Venice’. It is one of Europe’s best preserved cities whose layout, streets and canals are a striking throwback to the pre-motorized era. It is the ideal postcard town. Ghent too is a scenic location whose blend of past and modern architecture as well as convenient location between the cities of Antwerp and Bruges works to its advantage.
The small Belgian Flanders town of Sint-Niklaas is home to the nation’s biggest market square. Cycling buffs and persons who love to soak in the fresh air of the outdoors will particularly enjoy its clearly marked cycling paths.