WikiProject Belgium/Conventions/Places

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WikiProject Belgium +/-


Place tags

  • All municipalities get a place=city, place=town or place=village tag according to their population:
    • city: > 100.000
    • town: 10.000 - 100.000
    • village: < 10.000
  • All part-municipalities (deelgemeentes) that don't have the same name as the municipality they belong to get a place=town or place=village tag according to their population:
    • town: > 10.000
    • village: < 10.000
  • Smaller villages or quarters that don't have the same name as the deelgemeente or municipality and are spatially separated from other centres they belong to get a place=hamlet tag.


  • the municipality of Antwerp has almost 500.000 inhabitants so is place=city. Antwerp is also the name of a deelgemeente so it doesn't get another place node for that. The district Wilrijk in Antwerp has almost 40.000 inhabitants so becomes place=town.
  • the municipality of Heuvelland has just over 8.000 inhabitants so is place=village. Each deelgemeente (Dranouter, Kemmel, Loker, etc.) get a place=village tag as well.
  • the municipality of Langemark-Poelkappelle has almost 8.000 inhabitants so is place=village. Each of the deelgemeentes (Langemark, Poelkapelle, Bikschote) gets a place=village tag. Langemark consists of three settlements: Langemark, Madonna and Sint-Juliaan. The latter two get a place=hamlet tag.
  • Bruges has a part called Kristus Koning which isn't a deelgemeente, and completely connected to the main living area of Bruges. Kristus Koning gets the tag place=neighbourhood.

Lists of municipalities in Belgium

A list of municipalities (and wheter they are cities or not) can be found here:

Other tags

Other tags that can be included on place nodes.

  • population=* Population tags should go on boundaries, otherwise it's unclear what area the count applies to: municipality, part-municipality, this agglomeration?
  • name=*
  • postal_code=*

Bilingual Places

As we live in a country with multiple languages some places have names in those multiple languages.

Municipalities that have only one language are the easiest case. The name=* tag should use the name in the official language, and translations as name:<lg> are optional, e.g.:

The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual. The name of municipalities, places, streets, public transport stops… are bilingual, and that should be reflected in the main name=* tag. Use name:fr=* and name:nl=* for monolingual versions of the name. (Needless to say, when names are identical in every language, e.g. name=Anderlecht, they should not be written multiple times.)

For database consistency reasons, the "fr - nl" language order is used.

This is a complete list of all places in the Brussels-Capital Region, which will have both names in the place tag:

  • Anderlecht
  • Auderghem - Oudergem
  • Berchem-Sainte-Agathe - Sint-Agatha-Berchem
  • Bruxelles - Brussel
  • Etterbeek
  • Evere
  • Forest - Vorst
  • Ganshoren
  • Ixelles - Elsene
  • Jette
  • Koekelberg
  • Molenbeek-Saint-Jean - Sint-Jans-Molenbeek
  • Saint-Gilles - Sint-Gillis
  • Saint-Josse-ten-Noode - Sint-Joost-ten-Node
  • Schaerbeek - Schaarbeek
  • Uccle - Ukkel
  • Watermael-Boitsfort - Watermaal-Bosvoorde
  • Woluwe-Saint-Lambert - Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe
  • Woluwe-Saint-Pierre - Sint-Pieters-Woluwe


There is no consensus for municipalities with languages facilities ("nl - fr" in Flanders, "fr - nl", "fr - de" and "de - fr" in Wallonia). Street signs are frequently written in both languages. Reflecting this in OSM, while ensuring that the main official language comes first, is a possibility, though monolingual names are more common.

OSM is not a battlefield. If you don't like how the situation is, fight for your beliefs through your political party, not on OSM.


Boundaries are inherently tied to places, thus documented on the same spot.


Below, there's an overview of the different boundary types used in Belgium

Administrative boundaries

Admin level FR name NL name DE name EN name Remarks
2 Pays Land Staat Country A single country boundary. The country name is used when writing an international address.
4 Région Gewest Region Region Belgium is divided in three sovereign regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. The regions decide mostly on economical matters. Regions are well known by locals, but not part of an address. However, the region can be easily guessed from the postcode (1xxx for Brussels, 2xxx 3xxx 8xxx and 9xxx for Flanders and 4xxx 5xxx 6xxx 7xxx for Wallonia).
6 Province Provintie Provinz Province The regions of Flanders and Walonia are each divided in 5 provinces (so 10 provinces in total). Brussels does not have any provinces, and although it's enclosed by the province of Flemish-Brabant, it's not part of that province. Province boundaries are well known by locals (often different provinces compete in TV games), however, provinces are not part of any address information. For some provinces, the name is equal to their capital city, which may be confusing.
7 Arrondissement Arrondissement Arrondissement Arrondissement Arrondissements are rather hollow administrative divisions. Arrondissements mostly combine one city or bigger town with all surrounding municipalities. The name of the Arrondissement is normally equal to the name of that major town. Arrondissements aren't important at all, many people don't even know in what arrondissement they live.
8 Commune Gemeente Gemeinde Municipality A correct address always shows the municipality name. Municipalities do local road works, and decide the destination of a piece of ground. As a result of that, municipal boundaries are rather clear, and many people know of their friends in which municipalities they live.
9 Deelgemeente Teilgemeinde Part-municipality Part-municipalities are no longer official administrative divisions. They used to be independent municipalities, until the big municipality merge in the 1960-70's. The boundaries are however rather well-known, because many people (certainly in rural areas) still refuse to use the official municipality in their address. As the boundaries don't exist anymore, the OSM boundaries are just estimates based on old maps, and can't be verified in many places. Mentioning a part-municipality in an address is accepted, but discouraged by the postal instances. Part-municipality names can also be ambiguous (the same name can be used for multiple places), while municipality names are unique throughout Belgium.

Other boundaries

Next to the administrative boundaries, there are also some other boundaries present in Belgium.

  • Belgian communities

Belgium is also divided in 3 communities, which mostly overlap with the 3 regions. However, communities aren't economy-based, but language-based. The communities organise the politics surrounding culture and education. Both communities are active in the bi-lingual region of Brussels, as such, Brussels as a territory belongs to both communities. The German-speaking community is the smallest one, against the German border, and completely inside the Walloon region. Communities are mapped as a political boundary

  • Postcode boundaries

Postcodes in Belgium are also mapped as boundaries. Mostly, there's a one-to-one relation between a postcode and a municipality. However, big municipalities (big cities) often have multiple postcodes to keep the number of inhabitants per postcode low enough; Brussels-City is a more complicated case because in addition of having 4 main zones numbered 1000, 1020, 1120 and 1130, some outer parts of its territory use 1030, 1040, 1050, 1070, which are postcodes typically associated with other municipalities. Therefore, one should never rely on a one-to-one relation for Brussels addresses. See boundary=postal_code for more info. Postcodes are part of official addresses, however, most people have to look them up when sending paper mail.