Why Belgium, I mean I like Belgium, I've been there once but in the cycling world how does it deserve a mention? I just looked at Wikipedia and it's one of the most crowded countries in the entire world
Correct. There are large areas where you do not want to end up with your bike. Lots of traffic, lots of (small) roads so constant braking/accelerating, ... .
that Benelux region is super industrialized.
Here I have to disagree. It really depends on the region. You can do rides in the (Flemish) Ardennes and only meet other cyclists and cows. But you really need a local who knows the region or some good GPS tracks to discover those roads.
I thought it was like the size of Iowa but its the size of Massachusetts! And with more people. AND it is mostly a flat wet coastal plain and what isnt a city is some reclaimed land farm.
Mostly flat ... nah. Of course we do not have mountains, but ask the pro's who ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege whether it is flat and I am pretty sure they will disagree. I think you can find rides in each province (except Antwerpen and Limburg) which will be considered hilly by all tourists.
So what am I missing? I think there should be more talk about b.c. Or new Zealand.
What you are missing is the difference between a cycling culture and nice cycling roads. We have the first, and depending on the area where you do your cycling even the latter.
You get respect on the roads
That really depends on who you encounter. We have our own share of *ssholes driving cars here
and they are good roads ( well, Some of them are )
Really depends on the region, and the season (e.g. when the harvest is up a lot of those good roads turn into asphalt covered in a few cm's of mud)