Administrative Division

The Kingdom of Belgium lies in north-western Europe, bounded to the north by the Netherlands, to the east by Luxembourg and Germany, to the south by France, and to the west by the North Sea.

There are five levels of government in Belgium. Of these only the federal level, the regions and the communities have legislative powers. The other two layers, the provinces and the municipalities (communes) are subordinate authorities, subject to oversight and without legislative powers.

The three regions and three linguistic communities are represented by the following directly elected legislative administrations: a combined administration for Flanders and the Flemish-speaking community, regional administrations for Wallonia and Brussels, and separate administrations for French- and German-speakers. The regional administrations have sole responsibility for the environment, housing, transport and public works, while the language community administrations supervise education policy and culture. Under a constitutional amendment approved by the Chamber of Representatives in June 2001, the regions were also granted greater autonomy over taxation and public expenditure, agriculture, and policies regarding foreign aid and trade. In April 2002 a further set of reforms was agreed in principle. It was proposed that the Senate would become the assembly of the regions and communities and the Chamber of Representatives the sole federal representative body.

The two federal regions are subdivided into 5 provinces each, the Brussels-Capital Region is neither a province nor is it part of one. The regions are further subdivided into 43 administrative districts, judicial and electoral arrondissements, which may or may not relate to identical geographical areas. At the lowest administrative level the gemeenten/ communes (municipalities) continues to exist, but their number has been drastically reduced since 1977.

For electoral purposes the electoral units at present are the provinces, except for the arrondissements Brussels-Capital (geographically coinciding with the Brussels-Capital Region) and Halle-Vilvoorde (one of the two districts in the province Flemish Brabant in the Flemish region), which together still form the electoral circle Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde. For the elections of the Walloon Parliament, 13 arrondissements (or grouped arrondissements) are still being used as electoral circles.

NUTS structure

Belgium has 3 NUTS 1 units, 11 NUTS 2 units and 43 NUTS 3 units. The NUTS 1 units correspond to the two regions plus Brussels while the NUTS 2 units correspond to the provinces plus Brussels. The NUTS 3 units correspond to the arrondissements.

Code Country NUTS 1 NUTS 2 NUTS 3
BE10     Région de Bruxelles-Capitale / Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest  
BE100        Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale / Arr. van Brussel-Hoofdstad
BE21     Prov. Antwerpen  
BE211       Arr. Antwerpen
BE212       Arr. Mechelen
BE213       Arr. Turnhout
BE22     Prov. Limburg (B)  
BE221       Arr. Hasselt
BE222       Arr. Maaseik
BE223       Arr. Tongeren
BE23     Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen  
BE231       Arr. Aalst
BE232       Arr. Dendermonde
BE233       Arr. Eeklo
BE234       Arr. Gent
BE235       Arr. Oudenaarde
BE236       Arr. Sint-Niklaas
BE24     Prov. Vlaams-Brabant  
BE241       Arr. Halle-Vilvoorde
BE242       Arr. Leuven
BE25     Prov. West-Vlaanderen  
BE251       Arr. Brugge
BE252       Arr. Diksmuide
BE253       Arr. Ieper
BE254       Arr. Kortrijk
BE255       Arr. Oostende
BE256       Arr. Roeselare
BE256       Arr. Tielt
BE258       Arr. Veurne
BE31     Prov. Brabant Wallon  
BE310       Arr. Nivelles
BE32     Prov. Hainaut  
BE321       Arr. Ath
BE322       Arr. Charleroi
BE323       Arr. Mons
BE324       Arr. Mouscron
BE325       Arr. Soignies
BE326       Arr. Thuin
BE327       Arr. Tournai
BE33     Prov. Liège  
BE331       Arr. Huy
BE332       Arr. Liège
BE333       Arr. Verviers
BE334       Arr. Waremme
BE34     Prov. Luxembourg (B)  
BE341       Arr. Arlon
BE342       Arr. Bastogne
BE343       Arr. Marche-en-Famenne
BE344       Arr. Neufchâteau
BE345       Arr. Virton
BE35     Prov. Namur  
BE351       Arr. Dinant
BE352       Arr. Namur
BE353       Arr. Philippeville

Eurostat: Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics - NUTS Statistical Regions of Europe

Quick, Michael (1994). Regional Territorial Units in Western Europe since 1945. Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES). EURODATA/ Nr. 5 1994

Fitzmaurice, J. (1996). The Politics of Belgium: A Unique Federalism. London: Hurst & Company.