Belgium is situated in the west of Europe, bordered to the north by the Netherlands, to the east by Germany and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and to the south and the west by France. Although its surface area of 30,528 km2 makes it a small country, its location has made it the economic and urban nerve centre of Europe.
On 1 January 2010, the population of Belgium was 10,839,905.
Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French).
Brussels is a municipality (city) and it is the capital of Belgium with 1,080,790 inhabitants. Brussels has gained a reputation as one of Europe’s must-see destinations, with trendy bars, restaurants, museums and festivals.
Weather and Climate
Brussels’ climate is temperate and mild with winter temperatures of about 1°C and summer temperatures of around 23°C. There is high probability of rain, so it is recommended to have an umbrella and/or raincoat.
Generally, nationals from countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) can enter and exit without any visa requirements on the basis of a national passport or identity card. Belgium belongs to border-free Schengen area. All delegates from other countries, unless otherwise exempt, need to apply for short-visit visas such as the Schengen Visa.
Brussels shopping is not limited to chocolates and lace, although these two are definitely worth checking out for their quality and craftsmanship. Luxury brands and boutique shops can be found on Brussels two renowned shopping streets – Boulevard de Waterloo and Rue Antoine Dansaert.
Delegates are strongly advised to arrange their own personal insurance to cover medical and other expenses including accident or loss.
Smoking is banned in work places, restaurants and pubs that serve food as well as in all cafes and the kingdom’s nine casinos.
The voltage in Belgium is 230V – 50Hz.
Belgium uses the standard European two-pin plug and socket.
Tipping is not common in Belgium. Restaurant, taxi and hairdresser bills include the service charge. In case you highly appreciated the service a tip of max. 10% can be paid.
AMT services are widely available in Brussels.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks as well as at some foreign currencies offices in airports and train stations.
Central European Standard Time = GMT+1
Central European Summer Time = GMT+2 (last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
The majority of internationally credit cards, especially American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa, are widely accepted in Belgium. Cashless transactions are widespread in this country. It is very common to pay by card even for small products.
Nowadays, traveller’s cheques not anymore necessary, because of many 24-hour ATMs. Cheques can be obtained at most bank and the service fee varies from 1 to 4 %.