|Province of Belgium|
|• Governor||Carl Decaluwé|
|• Total||3,125 km2 (1,207 sq mi)|
|Population (1 January 2012)|
|• Density||370/km2 (970/sq mi)|
West Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen [ˌβ̞ɛst.ˈflaːn.də.rə(n)] ( ); West Flemish: West Vloandern; French: (Province de) Flandre-Occidentale; German: Westflandern) is the westernmost province of the Flemish Region, also named Flanders, in Belgium. It borders (clockwise from the North) on the Netherlands, the Flemish province of East Flanders (Oost-Vlaanderen) and the Walloon province of Hainaut (Henegouwen) in Belgium, on France, and the North Sea. Its capital is Bruges (Brugge). Other important cities are Kortrijk in the south and Ostend along the coastline. The province has an area of 3,125 km² which is divided into eight administrative districts (arrondissementen) containing 64 municipalities.
The whole Belgian North Sea coast, an important tourism destination, lies in West Flanders. A tram line runs the length of the coast, from De Panne on the French border to Knokke-Heist on the Dutch frontier.
West Flanders consists of the North Sea coast, followed by a very flat polder landscape. Only in the south are some small hills, with the Kemmelberg (159 m) being the highest point in the province. The Leie and IJzer are the main rivers. West Flanders is the only Belgian province that borders both France and The Netherlands.
In the north of the province, most industry is concentrated in and around the cities of Bruges and Ostend. Both cities also have important seaports: the port of Bruges-Zeebrugge and the port of Ostend.
Tourism is also an important industry in West Flanders. Major touristic attractions include the Belgian coast, the historic center of Bruges, and Flanders Fields, the World War I battlefields around Ypres.
List of Governors
- 1830–1831 : Felix de Muelenaere (Catholic Party)
- 1832–1834 : Felix de Muelenaere (Catholic Party)
- 1836–1849 : Felix de Muelenaere (Catholic Party)
- 1849–1857 : Adolphe de Vrière (Liberal)
- 1857–1877 : Benoît Vrambout (Liberal)
- 1877–1878 : Léon Ruzette (Catholic Party)
- 1878–1883 : Theodore Heyvaert (Liberal)
- 1883–1884 : Guillaume De Brouwer (Liberal)
- 1884–1901 : Léon Ruzette (Catholic Party)
- 1901 : Jean-Baptiste de Bethune (Catholic Party)
- 1901–1903 : Charles d'Ursel (Catholic Party)
- 1903–1907 : Jean-Baptiste de Bethune (Catholic Party)
- 1907–1912 : Albéric Ruzette (Catholic Party)
- 1912–1933 : Léon Janssens de Bisthoven
- 1933–1940 : Henri Baels (Catholic Party)
- 1940–1944 : Michel Bulckaert
- 1944–1979 : Pierre van Outryve d'Ydewalle (CVP)
- 1979 : Leo Vanackere (CVP)
- 1979–1997 : Olivier Vanneste (CVP)
- 1997–2012 : Paul Breyne (CVP/CD&V)
- February 2012– : Carl Decaluwe (CD&V)
Municipalities that have city status have a (city) behind their name.
- Population per municipality on 1 January 2012 (XLS; 214 KB)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to West Flanders.|