RELIGION LIBRARY

Belgium

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Belgium

The country has an area of 11,780 square miles and a population of 10.6 million.

On November 5, 2008, in a written statement to Parliament, the Justice Minister stated that determining affiliation is at the sole discretion of each religion individually, and that the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion did not allow government intervention in affiliation matters. He added that because of these principles the Government could not intervene in determining the number of worshippers for each faith.

According to a 2007 report of the King Baudouin Foundation (KBF), 4.8 million inhabitants identify themselves as Catholic. Earlier statistics indicated that the number of nonbelievers is 924,000, and the number of those who identify themselves as belonging to the nonreligious philosophical community is 892,500.

The KBF report gives the number of adherents belonging to smaller religious groups as follows: Islam, 400,000; Protestantism, 132,000; Orthodox, 70,000; Judaism, 50,000; Anglicanism, 10,800; and organized secular humanism, 110,000. The larger nonrecognized religious groups include Jehovah's Witnesses with 23,701 baptized and 50,000 "churchgoers;" independent Protestant congregations, 10,000; Buddhists, 10,000; members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 4,000; Seventh-day Adventists, 2,000; Hindus, 5,000; Sikhs, 3,000; Hare Krishnas, 1,500; and the Church of Scientology, 200-300.

A 2008 Catholic University of Leuven report estimated that 7 percent of the Catholic population regularly attends religious services. Fifty-seven percent of the children born in the country are baptized, 26.7 percent of couples opt for a religious marriage, and 61 percent of funerals include religious services.

Population Population (2009 est.) 10,414,336
Religious Demographics Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
Languages Languages Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
Country Flag Flag of Belgium