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The ‘capital’ of the European Union is much more than the Atomium and the Manneken-Pis statue. And has its very own way of doing things.

Mix in the crown at Grand’Place
The splendor goes from gothic to baroque and makes it one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. As well as Saints-Michel-et-Gudule cathedral, which took no less than 300 years to build. But Brussels is also art nouveau (Comic Strip Centre) and art deco, of which the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is an example.

Become friends with Tin Tin
From traditional waffles to french fries, chocolat truffles to belgian beer. There’s the typical Brussels to taste and the artistic heritage to discover. The Museum of Fine Arts is an example and includes a section devoted to Magritte, a great name of surrealist painting. And to end up with a smile, why not spend the afternoon at the Hergé Museum?

Culture and Business

On a business trip, knowing the culture and customs of the country you are visiting can have a big impact on the success of your business.

Before leaving

Make sure you have your identity card or passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, take care of your visa or other necessary documentation ahead of time.

Climate

Belgium has a temperate climate with mild summers and moderate winters, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. In Brussels, in summer the average temperature is 18ºC and in winter 3ºC.

Time zone

GMT + 1

Geography & politics

Belgium is located in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and is the place where it is based. There is a prime minister who is the head of government, a national parliament and a king who is the head of state.

Tipping & paying

Most places accept credit card payments, but it’s always useful to have some money with you. Belgium is part of the Eurozone, so the currency is the Euro (EUR). It is not common to tip in restaurants, as the bill already has a service charge added to the total.

Languages & useful phrases

Belgium has 3 official languages: Dutch, French and German. Dutch is spoken in the north by more than 60% of the Belgian population. French is spoken in the south by about 39% of the population and German by less than 1%. In Dutch, "Hallo" = hello; "Alstublieft" = please; "Dank je/u zeer" = thank you very much. 

What you should do

Try to be on time. Punctuality is considered to be important in Belgium, even though it is not as demanding as in countries like Germany. The French-speaking culture tends to be more formal, whereas being direct and informal is more appreciated by Dutch speakers.

What you shouldn’t do

Don’t assume that Belgian people are all the same. Although it is a small country, Belgium has many different cultures and languages, and it is important to be aware of this when visiting any part of the country.

What to wear

It is usually not necessary to wear a suit—a shirt and jacket are sufficient, but if you’re not sure, go for a more formal style. It is normal to wear casual clothes in tech companies and other industries.

First impressions

When meeting someone for the first time, greet them with a handshake. When meeting up with friends, it’s normal to give 3 kisses on the cheeks. If you’re invited to someone's house, take a box of chocolates (Belgian) and a bouquet of flowers as a thank you gesture. Take enough business cards to your meetings, they will be appreciated.