Flemish Brabant

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Flemish Brabant (Dutch: About this sound Vlaams-Brabant Dutch pronunciation: [ˌvla.msˈbra.bɑnt], French: Brabant flamand) is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on (clockwise from the North) the Belgian provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, Liège, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut and East Flanders. Flemish Brabant also completely surrounds the Brussels-Capital Region. Its capital is Leuven. It has an area of 2,106 km² which is divided into two administrative districts (arrondissementen in Dutch) containing 65 municipalities.

Flemish Brabant was created in 1995 by the splitting of the former province of Brabant into three parts: two new provinces, Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant; and the Brussels-Capital Region, which no longer belongs to any province. The split was made to accommodate the eventual division of Belgium in three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region).

It is a province with a rich cultural history and a great diversity of typical products, among them several of the world-famous Belgian beers.

The province is made up of two arrondissements. The Halle-Vilvoorde Arrondissement has Brussels in its middle. It is therefore mainly a residential area, but it also has large industrial zones. For example, it is home to Belgium's main airport. The other arrondissement is the Leuven Arrondissement, centered on Leuven.

The official language in Flemish Brabant is Dutch (as it is in the whole of Flanders), but a few municipalities are to a certain extent allowed to use French to communicate with their citizens; these are called the municipalities with language facilities. Other such special municipalities can be found along the border between Flanders and Wallonia, and between Wallonia and the German-speaking area of Belgium. The fact that Halle-Vilvoorde surrounds Brussels (which is officially bilingual but whose inhabitants mostly speak French) makes for an interesting mix of both languages.

The history of Brabant is at Duchy of Brabant; see also Duke of Brabant.

Politics

The Governor is the representative or "commissioner" of the Federal and the Flemish Government in Flemish Brabant. He is appointed by the Flemish Government, on the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers. The current Governor is Lodewijk De Witte, he has been the Governor of Flemish Brabant since it was created in 1995 as a result of the splitting up of the Province of Brabant. The Governor is responsible for supervising the local authorities, ensuring that laws and decrees are observed, maintaining public order and security, and coordinating the response to a disaster which has occurred in his province. He also presides over the Permanent Deputation, however, he doesn't have the right to vote in the Permanent Deputation except in those cases where the Permanent Deputation exercises a judicial function.

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