Population: 11.3 Million
Area: 30,528 km² (11,787 sq mi)
Official Languages: Dutch, French and German
Timezone: GMT +1
Emergency Nr: 112
Passport and Visa Requirements
EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens
As citizens of the European Union and European Economic Area, you will not need a visa to enter the country. This includes Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania and Sweden.
American citizens travelling to Belgium for less than 90 days do not need a visa. However, they will need a valid passport for at least six months beyond their stay. They may also be asked by the Immigration officers to show enough funds for their stay and a return airline ticket.
Australian citizens visiting Belgium for less than 90 days do not require a visa. Passports need to have at least six-month validity from the planned date of return.
Money & Banks
ATM’s or Cash Machines are widely available. For cash withdrawals it’s recommended to use a Debit Card since Credit Cards will hit you with a larger fee. Many stores and restaurants will accept debit and credit cards. Make sure you have a card with the Visa, Mastercard , Maestro or Cirrus logo.
Citizens of the European Union have access to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that provides access to the Belgian healthcare at reduced cost or even for free.
Citizens from other countries should find out if there is a reciprocal arrangement for free medical care between their country and Belgium. If not, a good travel insurance is recommended, but not obligated.
In Belgium the standard voltage is 230V and frequency is 50 Hz.
The power sockets are of type E.
You can use a European Travel Plug Adapter for most of your electronics, but always check the maximum input voltage of your device first. If your device doesn’t support volt rates up to 230V it will most likely get damaged and might even cause a fire hazard. Most high-end electronics have a build in voltage convertor allowing voltages between 100-240V.
Prices, taxes and Tipping
All prices are advertised incl 21% taxes.
Tipping is not expected in bars, restaurants or hotels as an amount is included in the bill. Of course, if the service has been particularly good, a small tip is always appreciated. However for taxi rides it’s normal to round up the fare and include a small tip.
- New Years: 1 January
- Easter: Date varies
- Easter Monday: first Monday after Easter
- Workers’ day: 1 May
- Ascension: sixth Thursday after Easter
- Whitsun: seventh Sunday after Easter
- National Belgian holiday: 21 July
- Assumption: 15 August
- All Saint’s Day: 1 November
- Armistice Day: 11 November (End of World War I)
- Christmas Day: 25 December