Electrical current in Belgium is 230 volts, 50Hz.
European-style two-pin plugs with receptacle and male grounding pin
can be used.
The Flemish, in the north, speak Dutch (60% of the
population); the Walloons in the south speak French (40%). Brussels
is bilingual, the majority of citizens speaking French. In the east
there is a small German-speaking community. English is also
Service charges are included in bills in Belgium and tipping is
not necessary, unless for exceptional service. Porters, coatroom
and bathroom attendants are generally tipped.
Most visits to Belgium are trouble-free, but travellers should
be wary of street crime in the cities, such as mugging and
pickpocketing, particularly in Brussels at major railway stations
and on public transport. Brussels is home to a number of
international organisations, including EU and NATO, which could
become the target of indiscriminate terrorist attacks.
Belgium law requires everyone to carry some form of official
identification at all times.
Belgians are very formal in business, enjoy a great deal of
personal space, and are generally reserved and extremely private.
Dress should be conservative; dark suits are acceptable, with a
high importance placed on quality and neatness of clothing.
Punctuality is extremely important at meetings, which will begin
and end with a quick, light handshake with all involved, and
exchanging business cards is standard practice; it is recommended
that cards are printed in English with the other side translated in
either French or Dutch depending on the main language of the region
where business is to take place. it is a good idea to research
beforehand whether a business is French or Dutch-speaking.
Compromise is very important in Belgian business culture, and may
be required as a show of friendship. Business hours are generally
9am to 5pm.
The international access code for Belgium is +32. The outgoing
code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the
United Kingdom). City codes are required for all calls within
Belgium; the area code for Brussels is (0)2. Mobile phones operate
on GSM networks. Public phones take coins or phone cards. Internet
cafes are widely available.
Travellers to Belgium arriving from non-EU countries are allowed
to enter the country with the following items without incurring
customs duty: 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g
tobacco; 1 litre spirits over 22% in alcohol or 2 litres of dessert
wine 22% in alcohol and sparkling wine, and 2 litres wine; 50g
perfume and 250ml eau de toilette; and other goods such as
souvenirs to the value of EUR175. Prohibited items include
unpreserved meat products.