Your guide to being an expatriate in Belgium

Caffeinate Your Belgium Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe, situated near the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, and Germany. The country has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German, symbolizing its unique heritage as a crossroads between northern and southern European cultures. Brussels, the capital city, is also the headquarters of several major international institutions, including the European Union. With its strong economy and open-minded population, Belgium has long been a desirable destination for foreign talent looking to work, live, and integrate.


Expat destinations in Belgium

Demographics of Belgium:

Ethnic groups

The majority of the population is of European descent. Belgians of Arab, Turkish, and African origin make up 4% of the population. The remaining population is made up of individuals of Asian and other origins.


Dutch, French, and German. Each region has its own official language: Flanders (Dutch), Wallonia (French), and Brussels (bilingual in Dutch and French). Additional languages spoken include Berlin-Brandenburg German, Standard German, Brabantian Dutch, and Limburgish.

Religion Overview

Belgium is primarily a secular nation, with a significant percentage of the population identifying as non-religious or atheist. However, there are still significant religious communities present, with Roman Catholicism being the largest, followed by various Protestant denominations and Muslims.

Major Religions


Belgium's climate is temperate oceanic with mild winters and cool summers. Average temperature ranges from 1°C to 17°C, with occasional extreme weather events.

Economy Overview

Belgium has a strong and diversified economy, with a history of innovation and a strong research and development culture. The country's key industries include finance, biotechnology, engineering, and the creative sector. Notable players in the finance industry include BNP Paribas Fortis, ING Belgium, and KBC Bank.

Key Industries

  • Finance
  • Biotech
  • Engineering
  • Creative Sector

Major Companies

  • BNP Paribas Fortis
  • ING Belgium
  • KBC Bank
  • Umicore (focusing on materials science)
  • Beaulieu International Group (specializing in flooring)
  • Mepsa (produces carparts)

Culture and Language Overview

Belgium has a rich and nuanced culture, influenced by its linguistic and ethnic heritage. Festivals celebrating music, art, theater, and dance are prevalent throughout the year. Key cultural highlights include Belgian cuisine (such as chocolate, waffles, and beer), carnivals, and annual events like the Kite Festival in Blankenberge.

Cultural Highlights

  • Chocolate: Belgian chocolate is world-renowned for its high quality and range of flavors.
  • Beer: Belgium is famous for its beer scene, with over 1,500 breweries producing all varieties of beer.
  • Waffles: Crispy, sweet, and delicious - waffles are a Belgian staple, often enjoyed with hot chocolate or fruit.
  • Meuse River Carnival: An annual festival that celebrates winter and the local culture, packed with sweet treats, lantern Parades, and ice sculpture productions.
  • Chimay Cherry Beer Festival: A fabulous event focused on Beers from Chimay Abbey enjoyed with traditional Belgian cuisines, live music, and variety shows in a magnificent setting.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Belgium is a small but beautiful country, with a rich and varied geography. The Flemish and Wallonia regions stretches from coast to mountains, with the Ardennes Forest (a UNESCO biosphere reserve) being a standout attraction.

Notable Landmarks

  • Atomium: A whimsical monument modeled resembling an atom, housing a set of museums and an observation deck offering breathtaking views of the cityscape.
  • Grand Place: Brussels' central marketplace, filled with café terraces and an ornate guild hall building.
  • Manneken Pis: A small bronze statue depicting a peeing boy, a peculiar attraction in Brussels.
  • Atomium Park: A grand park hosting regular local events, surrounded by cafes & restaurants and showcases lawns for children's activities.(situated next to Atomium)
  • The Diamond Castle: A royal building located in Sint-Pietersleeuw, hosting exhibitions about the Belgian diamonds.

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Carnival Monday (Relocates Each Year)
  • Good Friday (Movable Date)
  • Easter Sunday (Movable Date)
  • Easter Monday (Movable Date)
  • Liberation Day: on May 6,1940 Belgium began defence against German invasion.
  • Ascension Day (Movable Date)
  • Corpus Christi (Movable Date)
  • Belgian National Day: July 21 is a must-see for all expats. The national holiday recognizes the Belgian Revolution in 1830.
  • Assumption Day (August 15)
  • All Saints' Day (November 1)
  • All Souls' Day (November 2)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • Second Christmas Day (St. Steven's Day) (December 26)

Political Stability

Belgium’s political system balances a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy, with recurring power-sharing debates between the Dutch and French-speaking communities. However, the country has a long-standing tradition of political stability, frequently ranking highly in global indexes for political freedom and stability.

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