Customs in Belgium

Belgium's official languages are German, French and Dutch.

The currency used in Belgium is the Euro (EUR) - €

The people of Belgium are very family oriented, and obligation to their family is first priority. Most residents remain in the towns in which they grew up, creating close family ties.

Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization

Until you form a personal relationship, an acceptable greeting between two people is a brief, firm handshake. Handshakes are standard upon greetings as well as departure. After a friendship has been built, three kisses on the cheek can replace the handshake (kissing the air, not the skin, left, right, left).

When invited to dinner, if you have received a written invitation, the proper way to accept (or decline) is by written response. It is polite to bring your hosts a bouquet of flowers (odd numbers only, but do not give 13, as it signifies bad luck) or a box of chocolates. Wine can be given as well, but only if your hosts are relatively good friends.

Wait to be seated, and take note that the women sit down before men. Do not take a sip of your drink until you have verified that the host will not be offering a toast. Make sure to eat everything on your plate, as leftover food is seen as wasteful and impolite.

Send your hostess a thank you note the following day.

When it comes to gratuity, tipping is acceptable and appreciated in Belgium.

• Restaurants: 10% if no service charge, or if service was exceptional
• Taxis: Round up cab fare
• Porters and Bellhops: €1.5 per bag

Customs and Etiquette in Business

When attending a business meeting, men should don dark colored suits with white shirt and tie, and the shoes should be polished lace up shoes; loafers are unacceptable for meetings. Women should wear conservative dresses or business suits and modest pumps.

Most times, initial meetings will be very casual and sort of a getting to know you period, in order to feel out how to go about business dealings. Be punctual and ready to sit through long meetings as communication is key, and Belgians prefer to have lengthy, critical discussions regarding the matter at hand.

When exchanging business cards, there is no strict protocol to follow. Having one side printed in French, German or Dutch shows great attention to detail and respect for your colleagues.

Belgium Flights
Children (under 11):