Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Similar to other Western European countries
Many Western European countries are relatively similar to Belgium. These countries have a high level of development and their democratic governments also have relatively liberal policies. The top five countries all have significant Catholic populations, although their people are not very religious.
The four least similar countries are located around the Red Sea. These countries all have large populations of Muslims. In addition, their hot desert climates and sparsely populated, barren landscapes are massively different from Belgium. Furthermore, the standard of living in all these countries is quite low.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Belgium
- Netherlands is just to the north of Belgium. Belgium was once part of the Netherlands before it became completely independent in 1839. One reason it succeeded from the union is that it is mostly Catholic, unlike the Netherlands, however nowadays neither country is very religious. It is the only other country in Europe that has Dutch as one of its official languages.
- Luxembourg is another country with a mix of French and Germanic cultures. Luxembourgish is a Germanic language that is similar to Dutch. A province of Belgium was once part of Luxembourg and is actually named Luxembourg too. Both countries are mostly Catholic. One difference is that Luxembourg is landlocked. According to the Lewis Model, Belgians also tend to be more outgoing as well.
- France is to the south of Belgium. Belgium has been part of France in the past. Both countries have many native French speakers and are mostly Catholic. In addition, they both use Type C, E electrical outlets, unlike most other European countries. However, France’s government is a semi-presidential republic, not a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy.
- Germany is another country that borders the North Sea. Germany and Belgium were both originally part of the Holy Roman Empire. German is one of Belgium’s official languages, although few people speak it natively there. However, like the Netherlands, it has a higher percentage of Protestants than Belgium.
- Austria and Belgium were both ruled by the Habsburgs, even though they are not adjacent to each other. Both countries are mostly Catholic. Furthermore, according to the Lewis Model, the typical personalty of Belgians and Austrians is quite similar. One big difference is their geography. Austria is much more mountainous and it is also landlocked. It is also less densely populated and has more forested land.
- Denmark, 7. Slovenia, 8. Czechia, 9. Spain, 10. Italy
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Belgium
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. It is predominately Muslim country and most of its people speak Arabic natively. Its infrastructure and standard of living have suffered due to recent civil war. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
- Eritrea borders Sudan. It is another country located on the Red Sea. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, but its people are part of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination and more religious than Belgians. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years.
- Yemen is across the Red Sea from Eritrea. Unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, it is poorly developed due to civil war. While Belgians tend to be quite tall, Yemen is one of the shortest countries in the world. The country is also more mountainous than Belgium. Still, Yemenis are considered to be Caucasian, although their ancestry is significantly different from Belgians.
- Somalia is located in Africa across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. It is another anarchic, Muslim country with poorly developed infrastructure. It is very conservative, in contrast to more liberal Belgium. However, despite the fact that Somali is completely unrelated to French, both languages use the Latin alphabet.
- Laos is a landlocked and mountainous country located in Southeast Asia. The country’s culture is far different from Belgium. The Laotian diet mostly consists of rice, while Belgians eat a lot of bread and potatoes. It is mostly Buddhist. Laos also uses a different writing system and does not speak an Indo-European language.
- Papua New Guinea, 7. South Sudan, 8. Myanmar, 9. Uganda, 10. Afghanistan
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Belgium
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