That Belgium as a country did not exist until the middle of the 19th-century masks a truly rich cultural heritage dating back to the Middle Ages. Divided into three main political spheres, the Cities of Flanders, the Dukes of Brabant, and the Prince-Bishops of Liège, they competed among each other for centuries, united only by their Catholic faith. Each region has its own history, its own monuments, and styles, and makes Belgium uniquely fascinating to explore.

Select a Region to Explore in Detail

image/svg+xml Tooltip City Name Description of Region


The power of Brabant is evident in the legacy of their building projects. Traces of the distinctive Brabantine Gothic can be seen in almost every Gothic City-Hall, Church, and home in the lowlands. The Renaissance of Antwerp and the later Counter-Reformation styles of the Court in Brussels would all come to define architecture in the lowlands.
Ghent Market


Flanders is the only part of the Lowlands to have never been part of the Holy Roman Empire. Indeed, today it is also the only part of West Francia to never have reunited with France. This independence allowed the region’s cities to experiment and develop without the constraints of feudalism. In the Middle Ages, the cities of Bruges and Ghent were global centers of trade, and today this legacy is evident in the spectacular cityscapes of the region.
Mons Town Hall


Hainaut is an Imperial County named after the ancient Franconian Henne-Gau. I also included the Imperial territories of the Bishopric of Cambrai. These French-speaking lands would never fully assert their independence, being passed between different families. Their artistic traditions reflect their role as a borderland between the French and Dutch-speaking lands.


Luxembourg sits at a strategic intersection of the French and German-speaking worlds. Indeed, by the 19th century, it was one of Europe’s most heavily fortified regions. At the center of European conflict for centuries, the region is a distinctive combination of German, French, and Walloon, offering a glimpse into a more multi-cultural past and the nation-state of the future.
Mosan Valley

Mosan Valley

The river Maas/Meuse was the heart of the early Carolingian Empire. With the imperial capital in Aachen, the cities of Maastricht, Liege, and Huy became centers of Romanesque and Gothic Art. As Imperial power weakened, the Prince-Bishops of Liege rose to prominence. Their dominance of the valley defined the region with their stylistic preferences, even through to the present day.

Return to the Modern Countries of Europe

Central Europe

Explore Europe from the perspective of ages past