Belgium was the first Continental European country to participate in the Industrial Revolution. 98% of it population is now Urbanised. Belgium is about 1/3rd of the size of the province of South Africa I grew up in - Kwa-Zulu Natal. Both have a population of around 11 million. Belgium's independence from the Netherlands was recognised in 1839. The Dutch Republic of Natalia declared independence in the same year, although Britain took control (as a colony) in 1843, adding the annexed Zulu Kingdom in 1897. The Zulu Kingdom was roughly the size Belgium is. Belgium's own colonial history in Africa is incredibly dark. About 10 million Congolese died, halving the population, under King Leopold in the Belgian Congo (76 times larger than Belgium). Belgium is one of the six founding members states of the European Union, hosting the European Parliament in its capital, Brussels.