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Belgium, Land and Resources

Belgium has three main physiographic regions: the coastal plain, the central plateau, and the Ardennes highlands.

The coastal plain extends inland 16 to 48 km (10 to 30 mi) on the northwest. Along the North Sea is a low-lying area consisting mainly of sand dunes and polders. The polders, sections of land reclaimed from the sea and protected by dikes, were developed between the 13th and 15th centuries. Lying inland is a flat pastureland drained by canals. The coastal plain’s elevation ranges from sea level to about 20 m (65 ft).

The central plateau is a gently rolling, slightly elevated area, irrigated by many waterways and containing a number of wide, fertile valleys with a rich, alluvial soil. Caves, grottoes, and ravines are found in parts of this area.

The Ardennes highlands, a densely wooded plateau averaging 460 m (1,500 ft) in elevation, extends across southeastern Belgium and into northeastern France. Located here is Botrange, the highest peak in Belgium, with an elevation of 694 m (2,277 ft). The area is generally rocky and poorly suited to agriculture.

 

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