The land known today as Belgium was conquered by Julius Caesar in the first century B.C. Under the Roman Emperor Augustus, it was named Belgica. After the Franks conquered it, Belgica was part of one country or another for the next several hundred years. But in 1830 the people revolted, won independence, and named their new country Belgium.
Today two people groups, Flemings and Walloons, inhabit the land. French, German, and Dutch are official languages. The government is comprised of a monarchial head of state, a two-house legislature, and a prime minister. Belgium is part of the European Union.
The Pentecostal movement in Belgium began in 1931 when a young Englishman, Douglas Scott, was preaching near the Belgian border in Roubaix, France. Several Belgians attended and were miraculously healed, and Scott was invited to Belgium to minister. After he came, several Protestant churches became Pentecostal, and the number of new churches grew steadily. The movement in Belgium survived World War II and was named the Belgian Assemblies of God in 1965.
The Movement Today
The government allows freedom of worship and gives some financial assistance to recognized religions. Most of the population considers itself Roman Catholic, yet only 6.8 percent attend mass regularly. Only 2 percent of the population is Protestant, with 31 percent claiming to be atheistic or agnostic. The Fellowship of Flemish Pentecostal Churches and the Belgian Assemblies of God report the following combined statistics: 45 churches, 80 ministers, 5830 members and adherents, 1 Bible school (Continental Theological Seminary) with 117 students, and 1 extension program serving another 80 students.
Additional Facts About Belgium
Area: 11,787 square miles
Population: 11.5 million
Agriculture: sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco, beef, veal, pork, and milk
Industry: engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, and petroleum