Belgium is a monarchy-based country situated in the north of Europe, composed of two territorial and cultural entities: in the north are the provinces of Flanders, in which the official language is Flemish, and in the south there is instead Wallonia, the francophone region. The dualism between these two linguistic communities and differing ethnicities have always characterised Belgium, and has also influenced the political composition. The country's capital is Brusseles, asides from being officially bilingual and divided into Flemish and French speaking zones, it is the seat of the most important European institutions, starting with the Commission. NATO is also based in Brusseles. Other important cities also include Antwerp, which serves as one of the principle ports in Europe, and Liege.