West Flanders

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West Flanders (Dutch: About this sound West-Vlaanderen Dutch pronunciation: [ˌβ̞ɛstˈfla.ndərə(n)]) is the westernmost province of the Flemish Region, also named Flanders, in Belgium. It borders (clockwise from the North) on the Netherlands, the Flemish province of East Flanders (Oost-Vlaanderen) and the Walloon province of Hainaut (Henegouwen) in Belgium, on France, and the North Sea. Its capital is Bruges (Brugge). Other important cities are Kortrijk in the south and Ostend along the coastline. The province has an area of 3,125 km² which is divided into eight administrative districts (arrondissementen) containing 64 municipalities.

The whole Belgian North Sea coast, an important tourism destination, lies in West Flanders. A tram line runs the length of the coast, from De Panne on the French border to Knokke-Heist on the Dutch frontier.

Contents

Geography

West Flanders consists of the North Sea coast, followed by a very flat polder landscape. Only in the south are some small hills, with the Kemmelberg (159 m) being the highest point in the province. The Leie and IJzer are the main rivers. West Flanders is the only Belgian province that borders on both France and The Netherlands.

Industry

In the north of the province, most industry is concentrated in and around the cities of Bruges and Ostend. Both cities also have important seaports: the port of Bruges-Zeebrugge and the port of Ostend.

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