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  TRABEL : Belgium Travel Network
  GENERAL
The country
History
Hotels


USEFUL INFO
Transport
Weather
Airports
Airlines
Map of Belgium
Belgian Links
FAQ's

TRABEL
Reservation Policy
Contact us
Copyright


CITIES
Brussels
Antwerp
Ghent
Bruges
Other cities


EXTERNAL LINKS
The Belgian Government
European Union
Nato
Restaurants
Expats site

 



The Belgian Royal Family & Monarchy
(click on picture)




Vanberg & Dewulf,
experts on the good Belgian life





Belgium's online Telephone directory


The tower of the Brussels Town Hall (1402)


 

THE COUNTRY

Belgium is a small country (11,730 square Miles, the size of Maryland) with a population of  10 million. It has been a constitutional monarchy since 1830. There are three languages (Dutch, French and German). However, English is widely spoken. The three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) have self-government in many spheres. Belgium has retained its old-world charm in the preservation of its ancient buildings and historical traditions.

Time
Six hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. One hour ahead of GMT.

Customs formalities

  • Passports and visas.
    Requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens : valid passports without visa, provided their stay does not exceed 90 days. For nationals of other countries, consult the Belgian Consulate in your area.
  • Pets, cats and dogs
    A veterinarian's certificate is needed, issued not less than 30 days or more than one year prior to entry, certifying that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated against rabies within one year.
  • Working permits
    For information on working permits, contact the nearest Belgian Consulate

Currency
Since 1 January 2002 the official currency is the EURO (Ä). In case you should come accross prices that are still indicated in Belgian Francs, the conversion rate is : 1 Euro = 40.3399 BEF.

Airport
Brussels Airport is connected with frequent trains to the center of the town. The ride takes 17 minutes.

TRAVELING

By car

  • Rules of the road
    There is a speed limit of 90 km per hour (56 mph) on all roads throughout the country, with the exception of highways and trunk roads with four traffic lanes, where speed is limited to 120 km per hour. In most main towns the speed limit is 50 km.p.h. and is indicated by traffic signs. Traffic of the right has right of way.
    Safety belts must be worn at all times and children under 12 are prohibited from sitting in the front seat, unless no other seat is available.
  • The roads
    Roads are very good. Since Dutch is spoken in the northern part of the country and French in the Southern part, several towns and villages have two names, one in French and one in Dutch. Here is a list of the most important towns and their different language names.
    Antwerpen - Anvers - Antwerp
    Gent - Gand - Ghent
    Kortrijk - Courtrai
    Brugge - Bruges - Bruges
    Brussel - Bruxelles - Brussels
    Liege - Luik
    Mons - Bergen
    Namur - Namen
    Oudenaarde - Audenarde
    Tournai - Doornik
    Mechelen - Malines
    Aalst - Alost
  • Accidents
    Dial 101 in case of accident when medical help is needed.
  • Breakdowns
    On highways, orange phones enable you to call for assistance (police, garage, medical help)
  • Parking
    Most cities and towns have parking meters.
  • Taxis
    Available in most towns. the tip is included in the price shown on the meter
  • Car rental
    You must have a valid driver's license and be at least 23 years of age.

By Train

The Belgian National Railways operate the densest rail network in the world and the majority of the international lines pass through Brussels, the center of this network. There is a frequent efficient train service from Brussels to almost all parts of the country. Look in our special train section for the departure schedules of the most important lines.

USEFUL INFORMATION

  • Electricity
    Current is A.C. 220 volts 50 cycles
  • Luggage lockers
    These lockers are available in most train stations and other locations in large towns.
    If you wish to leave your luggage for more than a few days, it is advisable to do so at a baggage check room in a railway station.
  • Postal service
    Hours : 9 AM to 12 AM and 2 PM to 5 PM
  • Bank service
    Hours : Monday through Friday 9 AM to 3 PM (some closing for an hour at lunch time)
  • Public Holidays
    New Year (January 1)
    Easter Monday
    Labor Day (May 1)
    Ascension Day
    Whit Monday
    National Day (July 21)
    Assumption Day (August 15)
    All Saints' Day (November 1)
    Armistice Day (November 11)
    Christmas Day (December 25)
  • Religious Services
    Practically every religion is represented in the main towns in Belgium
  • Tips, VAT, Taxes
    In Belgium prices are quoted "all inclusive". No additional tipping necessary
  • Telephones
    The main international operators (AT&T, Sprint, etc.) have free call-in numbers in Belgium.In most of the Belgian street phone boots, international calling is possible.
 

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