Etiquette in Belgium

Belgium is a European nation of 11 million people on the borders of France, Germany, and The Netherlands.

The official languages of Belgium are Dutch, French, and German.

Belgium is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy led by a King and Prime Minister.

Belgium has three officially recognized religions: Christianity (Catholic, Protestantism, Orthodoxy and Anglicanism), Islam and Judaism, however Roman Catholicism strongly influences society and politics.

Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Union and uses the Euro as official currency.

General Etiquette

Personal subjects and religion are conversation topics best avoided when talking with someone in Belgium. The typical U.S. icebreaker of “What do you do?” is not appropriate.

Consider it a great compliment if invited to someone’s home. As a guest, do not help yourself to food until it is offered and be sure to complement the food, as it is a great source of pride for Belgians. Belgians are also known for frugaltiy, so make every effort to finish any food or drink you are given.

Upon entering and leaving a room, be sure to shake hands with everyone.

If you are meeting with a Flemish speaker, choose to use English instead of French, unless you are fluent in Flemish.