Official name of the state
Kingdom of Belgium.
Brussels (Bruxelles, Brussels).
As a country located in Europe according to cheeroutdoor, Belgium borders France in the south, Germany and Luxembourg in the east, the Netherlands in the north and the North Sea in the north-west. The landscape is varied and ranges from the mountainous forest area of the Ardennes with gorges and rivers in the south-east to extensive hilly landscapes to the flat polder areas in the north with canals. On the North Sea coast there are beautiful sandy beaches that stretch over 60 km. The highest point in the country is the Botrange in the High Fens at 694 m.
Constitutional monarchy since 1831. Constitution of 1831, last amended in 1994. Bicameral Parliament: The House of Representatives with 150 members is the national legislature, while the 71-member Senate deals with problems between the regions. Belgium has been a federal state since 1993, with the three autonomous regions of Flanders, Wallonia and the capital Brussels having their own governments and parliaments; there is also a council for each community (Flemish, French and German-speaking) that deals with social and cultural issues. The federal government is effectively responsible for foreign, security and tax policy. Belgium is a member of the EU.
Head of state
King Philippe I, since 2013.
Head of government
Charles Michel, since October 2014.
220 V, 50 Hz.
Central European Time: CET +2 (CET +3 from March 26 to October 29, 2017)
There are three official languages in Belgium: Belgian Dutch, French and German. In Flanders, in the north of the country, Dutch (Flemish) is predominantly spoken (60%), while southern Wallonia is French-speaking (40%). Less than 1% of the Belgian population speaks German (mainly in the Eupen region in the east end of the country).
- Eight = Huit (eight)
- Eighty = Quatre-vingt (Tachtig)
- Goodbye = Au revoir (Tot ziens)
- Exit = sortie (exit)
- Beer = Bière (beer)
- Please = S’il vous plaît (alstublief)
- Thanks = Merci (thanks U)
- Tuesday = Mardi (Dinsdag)
- Three = trois (three)
- Thirty = Trente (Dertig)
- Doctor = doctor (doctor)
- Thursday = Jeudi (Donderdag)
- Entrance = Entrée (entrance)
- Eins = Un / Une (Een)
- One hundred = cent (honderd)
- One thousand = mille (duizend)
- Friday = Vendredi (Vrijdag)
- Five = Cinq (Vijf)
- Fifty = Cinquante (Viftig)
- Closed = Fermé (Gesloten)
- Danger = Danger (Gevaar)
- Hello = Bonjour (Dag)
- Today = Aujourd’hui (Vandaag)
- Hotel = Hôtel (Hotel)
- I don’t understand = Je ne comprends pas (Ik verstaat niet)
- Yes = Oui (Yes)
- My name is?? = Je m’appelle?? (Mijn naam is??)
- I’m not fine = Je ne me sens pas bien (Ik voel me niet well)
- I am doing very well = Ça va bien (Het gaat goed)
- Wednesday = Mercredi (Weekday)
- Monday = Lundi (Maandag)
- Tomorrow = Demain (tomorrow)
- No = Non (Neen)
- Nine = Neuf (Negen)
- Ninety = Nonante (Negentig)
- Open = Ouvert (Open)
- Restaurant = restaurant (restaurant)
- Saturday = Samedi (Zaterdag)
- Six = Six (Zes)
- Sixty = Soixante (Zestig)
- Seven = Sept (Zeven)
- Seventy = Soixante-dix (Zeventig)
- Sunday = Dimanche (Zondag)
- Menu = Menu (Menu)
- Do you speak German? = Est-ce que vous parlez allemand? (Speak u Duits?)
- Toilets = toilets
- Forty = Quarants (Fourth)
- Four = Quatre (four)
- Wine = Vin (Wijn)
- How are you? = Comment ça va? (Hoe gaat het?)
- How much is it? = Combien est-ce que ça coûte? (Hoeveel tastes?)
- Where is??? = Où est??? (What is???)
- Ten = Dix (Tien)
- Twenty = Vingt (Twintig)
- Two = Deux (Twee)
- Moules-fries(mussels with french fries)
Brewery visits: Belgium is known for its variety of beers. The various types of beer differ in color, type of brewing and additives such as wheat or fruit. There is a special glass and label for every beer. Six different types of Trappist beer are still brewed today by the monks according to traditional recipes. The following Trappist breweries can be visited: Bières de Chimay in Bailleux (Tel: (060) 21 03 11) and Rochefortoise in Eprave (Tel: (084) 37 80 84. Fax: (084) 37 84 45). Other breweries are also open to visitors for viewing and beer tasting.
Chocolate: Belgian chocolate and pralines are world famous. Some chocolate factories can be visited, but a telephone reservation in advance is advisable. The Chocolate and Cocoa Museum on Grand ‘Place in Brussels is open every day except Mondays. The Jacques Chocolaterie in Eupen near Liège (Tel: (087) 592 967. Fax: (087) 592 929) can also be visited. Advance booking for groups over 20 people.
Gastronomy: Gourmets get their money’s worth in Belgium. The country has the largest number of Michelin stars per capita in terms of population. A large selection of excellent restaurants, elegant cafes and cozy pubs await visitors. There are numerous first-class gourmet restaurants in Brussels and Antwerp in particular. Some specialty tour operators offer culinary trips and holiday cooking courses in Belgium.
A 16% tip is usually included in all hotel and restaurant bills. Hairdressers expect 20% of the invoice amount (if the service is not included). The tip is included in the taxi fare.
Belgian beer is excellent. There are over 400 types of beer, the best known are Lambic (made from wheat and barley) and Trappist beer (the beer must have been made in a Trappist monastery or in its immediate vicinity). Beers with added fruit extracts, such as Kriek (with cherries), are also popular. The high percentage Duvel should also be tried.
Minimum age for consuming alcoholic beverages
In Belgium you can drink beer and wine from the age of 16 and spirits from the age of 18.
Mainly Roman Catholic (75%); Islamic, Jewish and Protestant minorities. Around 16% of Belgians do not belong to any religious community.
Social rules of conduct
Communication: You should know which language you speak in which part of the country. Many Flemings prefer to speak English to French with visitors, even if they have a good knowledge of French. In Wallonia, on the other hand, you should avoid speaking Dutch. Most locals are relaxed about this, but in some circles it could be taken as an insult to speak the wrong language. When in doubt, English is a good choice. Overall, Belgians are seen as reserved and friendly, and allusions to the confusion of languages or historical roles of the Belgian regions should be avoided.
Manners: The usual forms of courtesy should be observed. You shake hands to greet you, the kiss on both cheeks is more personal. If you are invited to dinner, the hosts look forward to a bouquet of flowers or a small gift. At the beginning of the meal one wishes bon appetit / eet smakelijk. People should be asked before they are photographed.
Clothing: Casual clothing is appropriate almost everywhere, jeans and a chic top are suitable for most occasions. More elegant cloakrooms are only expected at official events and in exclusive restaurants.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in public buildings, in restaurants, at airports, in train stations and on trains. Drivers should note that smoking is prohibited behind the wheel. Most hotels are non-smoking, some hotels have extra smoking rooms.
Tip: In restaurants and hotels, tips are usually included in the price, but an additional tip is welcome, depending on satisfaction. Usher, porters, porters and cloakroom attendants also expect a small tip.
Best travel time
Temperate climate. Warm weather from May to September. Despite snowfall, the winters are not very cold, except in the Ardennes.
Area code +32 Area (sqkm) 30,528 Population 11323973 Population density (per sqkm) 371 Population in 2015 Member of the EU Yes main emergency number 112