Rough diamonds: Real estate markets in the Benelux countries are beginning to sparkle
Benelux is a region of shapes, of unequal triangles and uncut diamonds. The triangle is the three variously-sized countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; the diamond is the Randstad, the metropolitan area formed by the four main cities in the Netherlands of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague that act as the powerhouses of that economy. Diamonds is also what Amsterdam and Antwerp are famous for, but that’s another story.
Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg — formerly the Low Countries, sort of — have a chequered history, with the territories only taking on their current shape and identity in the early 19th Century after the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the subsequent Congress of Vienna in 1815. Identity may be a misnomer for Belgium, for the country is still fractured by the continuing quasi-ethnic, linguistic and cultural divide between French-speaking Wallonia in the south and Flemish-speaking Flanders in the north.
In more modern ti