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Brussels, the capital, has approximately 1 million residents, and the second city, Antwerp, has half a million.The central and northern parts of the country are covered by a dense network of medium-size and small cities, and people may live in one city and work in another.Although German is also recognized as the third national language, it is not used frequently in the national administration.French was introduced as the language of the political elite by feudal lords of French origin, particularly the dukes of Burgundy, who choose Brussels as their main city of residence.The Flemish national day celebrates the victory of the Flemish militias over the royal French army at the Battle of the Golden Spurs, named after the trophies collected from slain French knights.The Flemish national anthem (the Vlaamse leeuw ) was composed in 1847.
In early modern times, the name was used as an erudite synonym for the Low Countries.After the 1830 revolution and the establishment of an independent kingdom, Belgium became the official name of the country. The country is located at the western end of the northern European plain, covering an area of 11,780 square miles (30,510 square kilometers); the neighboring states are France, Luxembourg, Germany, and the Netherlands.The two main rivers are the Schelde and the Meuse, both of which begin in France and flow toward the Netherlands. Flanders (northern part of the country) is less hilly than Wallonia (southern part).On the last Sunday of August, the Flemish movement gathers in a pilgrimage at World War I battlefields.Because of the Christian roots of the Flemish movement, the main slogan associated with this has a strong religious connotation.