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Belgium

General

Belgium is a member of the EU.

Time

The time in Belgium is the same as Amsterdam, Paris and Rome and one hour ahead of London.

Languages

Dutch, French and German.

Border formalities

Many formalities and agreements about matters such as necessary travel documents, car papers, requirements relating to your means of transport and accommodation, medical expenses and taking pets with you do not only depend on the country you are travelling to but also on your departure point and nationality. The length of your stay can also play a role here.

We advise you to consult the relevant authorities before your departure about:

  • which travel documents you will need for yourself and your fellow passengers
  • which documents you need for your car
  • which regulations your caravan must meet
  • which goods you may import and export
  • how medical treatment will be arranged and paid for in your holiday destination in cases of accident or illness
  • whether you can take pets. Contact your vets well in advance. They can give you information about the necessary vaccinations, proof thereof and obligations on return. It would also make sense to enquire whether any special regulations apply to your pet in public places at your holiday destination. In some countries for example dogs must always be muzzled or transported in a cage.

You will find plenty of general information on www.europa.eu but make certain you select information that is relevant to your specific situation.

For the most recent customs regulations you should get in contact with the authorities of your holiday destination in your country of residence.

Read more

Currency

The currency in Belgium is the euro. Approximate exchange rates September 2016: £1 = € 1.18.

Credit cards

You can pay by credit card in many places.

Opening times and Public holidays

Banks

Banks in Belgium are open from Monday to Friday until 16:00 with a break between 12:00 and 14:00.

Shops

Generally, shops are open from Monday to Saturday until 18:00. In a few large towns the shops are open until 21:00 on Friday.

Chemists

Most chemists are open from Monday to Friday until 18:00/19:00. Some are also open on Saturdays.

Public holidays
  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter
  • 1 May (Labour Day)
  • Ascension
  • Pentecost
  • 11 July (Flemish Community)
  • 21 July (National holiday)
  • 15 August (The Assumption)
  • 27 September (Walloon Community)
  • All Saints
  • 11 November (Armistice)
  • Christmas Day

Communication

(Mobile)phones

The mobile network works well throughout Belgium. There is a 3G network for mobile internet.

Wifi, internet

You can make use of a wifi network at more and more public locations, often for free.

Post

Open from Monday to Friday until 17:00, Saturday until 12:00. Postal agencies in supermarkets and other shops have often replaced smaller post offices.

Roads and traffic

Road network

Secondary roads in French speaking Wallonia can be of inferior quality. On motorways you can get help with a breakdown by using the emergency phones. Ask for Touring on 070-344777.

Traffic regulations

Remember, all traffic in Belgium drives on the right and overtakes on the left! Headlight deflectors are advisable to prevent annoying oncoming drivers. Belgium uses the metric system, so distances are measured in kilometres (km) and speeds in kilometres per hour (km/h). All drivers coming from the right, including slow vehicles, have priority. When you are on a roundabout you have priority over someone entering the roundabout. Trams always have priority.

Maximum permitted alcohol level is 0.5‰. Phones must be used hands-free. It is not compulsory to drive with dipped headlights during the day. Driving through an amber light is an offence. You are not permitted to leave the engine running when the car is not moving. The use of winter tyres is not compulsory.

Navigation

Notification of fixed speed cameras by navigation systems or mobile phones is permitted.

Caravans, motorhomes

If travelling with a caravan in Belgium be aware that the road surface can sometimes be damaged. If you have a motorhome weighing more than 7.5 tonnes you may not overtake on motorways or main roads. Overnight stops by the roadside in a caravan or motorhome are permitted provided you are not camping.

Maximum allowed measurements of combined length

Height 4 metres, width 2.55 metres and length 18.75 metres (of which the trailer maximum 12 metres).

Fuel

Lead-free petrol, diesel and LPG are widely available.

Filling stations

Filling stations on motorways are usually open day and night. Other service stations are generally open on Monday to Saturday between 08:00 and 20:00 and on Sunday until 19:00.

Tolls

There are no toll roads in Belgium. You do however have to pay a toll for the Liefkenshoek Tunnel in the vicinity of Antwerp.

Emergency number

112: national emergency number for fire, police and ambulance.

Camping

There are no toll roads in Belgium. You do however have to pay a toll for the Liefkenshoek Tunnel in the vicinity of Antwerp.

Practical
  • Make sure you always have a world adaptor for electrical equipment.
  • It is safe to drink tap water.