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West Flanders (Dutch: [West-Vlaanderen] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
French: Flandre-Occidentale)
Province of Belgium
Bruges view from the belfry.JPG
Bruges from the Belfry
Flag of West Flanders.svg
Wapen van West-Vlaanderen.svg
Coat of arms
Country  Belgium
Region Flanders Flemish Region
Capital Bruges
 - coordinates 51°13′N 3°14′E / 51.217°N 3.233°E / 51.217; 3.233
Highest point Kemmelberg
 - location Heuvelland, Ypres, West Flanders
 - elevation 156 m (512 ft)
 - coordinates 50°46′45″N 2°48′52″E / 50.77917°N 2.81444°E / 50.77917; 2.81444
Lowest point North Sea
 - elevation m (0 ft)
Area 3,125 km² (1,207 sq mi)
Population 1,186,532 (1 January 2017)
Density 380 /km² (984 /sq mi)
Subdivisions 8 Arrondissements
64 Municipalities
Governor Carl Decaluwé
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal codes 8000-8999
ISO 3166-2 BE-VWV

West Flanders (Dutch: [West-Vlaanderen] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help); French: (Province de) Flandre-Occidentale; German: Westflandern) is one of the five provinces of the Flemish Region, also named Flanders, and also is one of the ten provinces of Belgium. It is the westernmost province in Flanders.

Its capital is Bruges (Dutch: [Brugge] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help), French: Bruges, German: Brügge).

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, via the port of Ostend (Dutch: [Oostende] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)), to Knokke-Heist on the Dutch frontier.


De Panne Dunes et plage
The Belgian coast near De Panne

The province of West Flanders lies in the most densely populated area of Western Europe. It has 1,186,532 inhabitants, and a population density of 379.7 inhabitants per km². It borders the North Sea, northern France, Zeeland in the Netherlands, the Flemish province of East Flanders (Dutch: [Oost-Vlaanderen] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) and the Walloon province of Hainaut (Dutch: [Henegouwen] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) in Belgium. West Flanders is the only Belgian province that borders both France and The Netherlands.

The province has an area of 3,125 km2 (1,207 sq mi). In terms of area, it is the largest province in the Flemish Region and the fifth largest in Belgium.

West Flanders has a very flat landscape with polders, except for a row of dunes along the coast and an area with small hills known as the 'Westvlaamse Bergen', with the Kemmelberg (159 m) being the highest point in the province.

The main rivers in the province are the Leie (French: Lys) and Yser (Dutch: [IJzer] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)). The Yser flows into the North Sea at the town of Nieuwpoort and the Leie flows into the Scheldt river.


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. The south is known for its textile industry.

Tourism is also an important industry in West Flanders. Major touristic attractions include the Belgian coast, the historic centre of Bruges, and places where there were battles around Ypres during World War I.

Administrative division

The province of West Flanders is divided into 8 arrondissements and a total of 64 municipalities.

Map of the municipalities of West Flanders
(names are in the following table)
Municipalities by arrondissements, with their numbers in the map
Bruges Courtrai Diksmuide Ostende
Arrondissement Brugge Belgium Map.png ArrKortrijkLocation.png Arrondissement Diksmuide Belgium Map.png Arrondissement Oostende Belgium Map.png
Roeselare Tielt Veurne Ypres
Arrondissement Roeselare Belgium Map.png Arrondissement Tielt Belgium Map.png Arrondissement Veurne Belgium Map.png Arrondissement Ieper Belgium Map.png

Population by arrondissement

Population on 1 January of each year.

Arrondissement 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Bruges 274,772 275,599 275,974 276,313 277,343 278,486
Courtrai 278,160 278,672 280,049 281,112 282,130 283,176
Diksmuide 48,570 49,012 49,352 49,675 49,958 50,262
Ostende 148,325 149,287 150,291 150,841 152,210 153,105
Roeselare 142,776 143,616 144,154 145,024 145,933 146,706
Tielt 89,178 89,584 90,042 90,274 90,672 91,065
Veurne 59,299 59,573 59,920 60,299 60,566 60,775
Ypres 104,798 105,144 105,508 105,828 106,155 106,415
Province of
West Flanders
1,145,878 1,150,487 1,155,290 1,159,366 1,164,967 1,169,990

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Provincia de Flandes Occidental para niños

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