The Kingdom of Belgium lies in Western Europe along with the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and France, and to its northwest is the North Sea. The country has an area of around 30,689 square kilometers with an over 11.5 million population, making it the 6th most densely populated nation in Europe and the 22nd in the world.
A developed country with a high-income economy, high quality of life, high standards of education, and healthcare, Belgium is among the countries with very high human development. It is also a founding country of the European Union and a founding member of the NATO, Eurozone, WTO, and OECD.
Its open and private-sector-based economy has maximized its geographic location, advanced transportation system, and its diverse and commercial sectors. Because it only has limited natural resources, the country imports a sizeable quantity of raw materials and exports tons of manufactured products. Hence, it is susceptible to the fluctuating world markets and benefits from them at the same time.
Belgium’s GDP has grown by 2.1% in 2010 while its unemployment rate slightly increased. The Belgian government also lessen its budget deficit from 5% of GDP to 4.1%.
Before the euro was introduced in 2002, the country used the Belgian franc from 1832. The Belgian franc was subdivided into 100 centiem or centimes. Between 1835 and 1841, paper bills were produced by the Societe de commerce de Bruxelles along with the Banque Legrelle, the Societe generale pour favoriser l'industrie nationale, the Banque de Belgique, the Banque de Flandre and the Banque liegeoise et Caisse d'epargnes. These notes were in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, and 1,000 francs.
The last set of banknotes issued by the National Bank of Belgium was designed by Kenneth Ponsaers, Nathalie Paquot, Monique Golaire, and Veronique Boland featuring a portrait of Belgian artists, musicians, and royal figures, and vignettes of their work and objects relevant to them.