Fr. Flandre Occidentale,
province (1991 pop. 1,106,829), W Belgium, bordering on the North Sea in the west, on the Netherlands in the northeast, and on France in the south. The chief cities are Bruges
(the capital), Kortrijk
, and Roeselare
. West Flanders is drained by the Leie and Yser rivers and has many small canals. It has considerable fertile soil; grain, flax, potatoes, sugar beets, and tobacco are grown. Dairy cattle are raised. Fishing is pursued in the North Sea. The province's varied manufactures include textiles, linen, and metal goods. West Flanders is mainly Dutch-speaking. For its history, see Flanders
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