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Belgium’s central location in the wealthy region of Europe makes it  a natural as an entryway into the region. It’s also viewed as a test market because it contains separate socio-demographic groups.

Belgium flag

Thick vertical stripes of black, gold and red, colors taken from the coat of arms of the Duchy of Brabant. The vertical stripes area rumored to be based on France’s flag, although it also resembles Germany’s flag, which is comprised of black, red and gold horizontal stripes

Location: Western Europe (bordering North Sea, between France and the Netherlands

Comparative size: About the size of Maryland

Government: Federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy

Royalty: King Philippe (since July 2013); Heir apparent is Princess Elisabeth

Law: Civil law based on the French Civil Code

Population: 10,449,351 (July 2014 estimate)

Urban population:  97.5 %

Languages: Dutch (60%) and French (40%) are the official languages; German is also recognized, however only a small portion of the population speak it. Brussels, the capital, is officially bilingual, French and Dutch. But fortunately, English is widely spoken in the business community.

Business cultures: There are two distinct cultures in Belgium. The Belgians are considered friendlier than the  Dutch.

Religion: 75% Roman Catholic 

Capital: Brussels

Belgium map

Median age: 43 years

GDP: $508.1 billion USD

Internet usage: 82.2 % (2013 figure)

Literacy rate: 99% (described as those age 15 and over who can read and write)

Unemployment of 15-24 year olds: 19.8%

Time difference: Six hours ahead of EST

Standard of living: Among the highest in world

Visa required: No

U.S. Commercial Service office: 

E-mail: office.brussels@trade.gov

Tel: +32 2 811 4600

Fax: +32 2 512 3644

Address: American Embassy – FCS
Regentlaan 27, Blvd. du Régent, BE-1000 Brussels Belgium

Electricity production:  83.37 billion kWh

Ease of doing business rank by World Bank: 36th out of 189 economies

Ease of starting a business: 49th

How dates are written: day first, then month and year

Prime vacation times: July and August; the week before Easter; and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day

Sources: Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook, Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands, U.S. Commercial Service, World Bank Group, Internet searches

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