The biggest cities and municipalities in Belgium in 2018

In 2018, in terms of population, the biggest cities or municipalities in Belgium were Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, and Brussels. The Flemish cities of Antwerp and Ghent were the most populated in Belgium in 2018. From a regional perspective, out of the 7 million people living in Flanders, around 800 thousand people lived in one of these two cities. However, the region of Wallonia also had large cities such as Charleroi and Liège. For instance, both cities registered around 200 thousand inhabitants each. To put all these numbers into perspective, Belgium’s population amounted to 11.4 million in 2018.

Belgium’s capital city: Brussels

Surprisingly, the Belgian capital, Brussels, was not on top of the list. The reason for this is in the way the city’s population is measured. Brussels is made of 19 municipalities. In this ranking, for instance, only three of them are listed: Brussels City, Schaerbeek, and Anderlecht. These 19 municipalities form the heart of the agglomeration of Brussels which counts 36 municipalities in total and is also known as “le Grand Bruxelles”. In 2019, over a million people were living in this Brussels-Capital Region. The agglomeration of Brussels is the most populated in the country, it is bigger than the agglomeration of Antwerp. Yet in terms of municipalities, Antwerp was the most populated in Belgium in 2018.

Belgium’s five big agglomerations

Belgium faced a population growth of 0.45 percent in 2017. The country counts five big agglomerations: Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent, and Liège. Although the notion of agglomeration is very fluid and disputed, each of these five agglomerations represents a significant part of the population. For some, agglomerations are defined by the continuity of constructions. For others, they are defined by the sense of an urban entity shared by a living community. Nonetheless, the definition of an agglomeration in Belgium corresponds to the European rules. These rules fix the technical specifications regarding the population and housing census. An agglomeration is, therefore, a group of municipalities which includes a continuously built-up zone with no cut of more than 200 meters between two constructions.

The cities and municipalities with the highest population in Belgium in 2018

Number of residents
Antwerpen523,248
Ghent260,341
Charlerloi 201,816
Liège 197,355
Brussels City*179,277
Schaarbeek*133,010
Anderlecht* 118,382
Bruges118,284
Namur 110,939
Leuven101,396
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Source

Release date

June 2019

Region

Belgium

Survey time period

January 1, 2018

Supplementary notes

* Brussels City, Schaerbeek, and Anderlecht are not cities but municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region.

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