Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Romance Europe, Belgium is linguistically divided. It has two main languages: 59% of its population, mainly in the region Flanders, speak Dutch; French is spoken by 40% of the entire Belgian population. Less than 1% of the Belgian people, around 70,000 citizens, live in the German-speaking Community in the east of Wallonia. This linguistic diversity often leads to political and cultural conflict and is reflected in Belgium's complex system of government and political history.
Belgium derives its name from the Latin name of the most northern part of Gaul, Gallia Belgica, named after a group of mostly Celtic tribes, Belgae. Historically, Belgium has been a part of the Low Countries, which also include the Netherlands and Luxembourg and used to cover a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states. From the end of the Middle Ages until the seventeenth century, it was a prosperous centre of commerce and culture. From the sixteenth century until the Belgian revolution in 1830, the area at that time called the Southern Netherlands, was the site of many battles between the European powers. More recently, Belgium was a founding member of the European Union, hosting its headquarters, as well as those of many other major international organisations, such as NATO.
Rome is the largest comune in Italy and it is also one of the largest European capital cities in land area, with an area of 1,285 square kilometers. Within the city limits, the population is about 2.5 million; almost 3.8 million live in the urbanised area of Rome, as represented by the province of Rome, making it second in population to Milan. With a gross domestic product of €97 billion in the year 2005, Rome produced 6.7% of Italy's GDP.