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The Flemish Diamond (in Dutch: Vlaamse Ruit) is a name of an area consisting of the central provinces of Flanders, Belgium. Its corner markers are the agglomerations of Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven. Approximately 5,500,000 people live in the area.

The term is mainly an infrastructural concept of the Flemish government, for one of the larger European metropolitan areas.

The distance from Antwerp to Brussels is approximately 51 km and Mechelen is right in the middle, between Mechelen and Brussels is the city of Vilvoorde; with the harbour stretching to the north of Antwerp this has since long been recognized as a north-south major urban and industrial axis. The western triangular area of the larger cities Antwerp - Brussels - Ghent comprises the cities of Lokeren located west of Sint-Niklaas, Dendermonde and Aalst as well as the industrial area Boom - Willebroek, and is generally slightly less urbanized; such may also be true for the smaller eastern Antwerp - Brussels - Leuven triangle, comprising the city of Lier.

Thus roughly in the geometrical shape of a diamond, the term Vlaamse Ruit (which has no connotation with any jewel) or 'Flemish Diamond' has become a reference to the most urbanized and industrialized (and prosperous) area in Belgium.

History

The Flemish Diamond has been a centre of economic innovation for centuries. In the middle ages, this area was amongst the most highly urbanised in Europe[1], while a strong urban network has been attested between the separate cities, from the 12th century onwards[2]. In terms of both population and size, Ghent was one of the largest medieval cities on the continent[3]. In the 16th century, the city of Antwerp was a major centre of international trade, serving as the staple market for all Portuguese spices and exotic products from the New World and East Asia. Thus, as stated by Fernand Braudel, Antwerp became "the center of the entire international economy".[4] In the nineteenth century, the first railroad of the European continent was built within the Flemish diamond, between Brussels and Mechelen.[5] Today, Flanders in general, and the Flemish diamond in particular, counts amongst the most productive and wealthiest regions in Europe. Per capita GDP at purchasing power parity was 23% above the EU average. The Port of Antwerp is the second-largest in Europe.[6]

References

  1. ^ Stabel Peter.- Urbanisation and its consequences: spatial developments in late medieval Flanders.- In: Raumerfassung und Raumbewusstsein im späteren Mittelalter / Moraw, Peter [edit.], Stuttgart, Thorbecke, 2002, p. 179-202
  2. ^ Stabel Peter.- Dwarfs among giants: the Flemish urban network in the late Middle Ages.- Leuven: Garant, 1997.- 287 p.
  3. ^ Stabel Peter.- Urbanisation and its consequences: spatial developments in late medieval Flanders.- In: Raumerfassung und Raumbewusstsein im späteren Mittelalter / Moraw, Peter [edit.], Stuttgart, Thorbecke, 2002, p. 179-202
  4. ^ (Braudel 1985 p. 143.)
  5. ^ http://www.interrailnet.com/interrail-railway-belgium
  6. ^ "Focus on the port". Port of Antwerp. http://www.portofantwerp.com/portal/page/portal/POA_EN/Focus%20op%20de%20haven/Een%20wereldhaven. Retrieved September 27, 2009.
  • Stabel Peter.- Urbanisation and its consequences: spatial developments in late medieval Flanders.- In: Raumerfassung und Raumbewusstsein im späteren Mittelalter / Moraw, Peter [edit.], Stuttgart, Thorbecke, 2002, p. 179-202
  • Stabel Peter.- Dwarfs among giants: the Flemish urban network in the late Middle Ages.- Leuven: Garant, 1997.- 287 p.
  • tabel Peter.- Urbanisation and its consequences: spatial developments in late medieval Flanders.- In: Raumerfassung und Raumbewusstsein im späteren Mittelalter / Moraw, Peter [edit.], Stuttgart, Thorbecke, 2002, p. 179-202
  • Braudel 1985 p. 143.
  • http://www.interrailnet.com/interrail-railway-belgium
  • http://www.portofantwerp.com/portal/page/portal/POA_EN/Focus%20op%20de%20haven/Een%20wereldhaven. Retrieved September 27, 2009.*

See also

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