Belgium is located at the western edge of Europe and its strategic location makes it headquarters for many international organisations, including the European Union and NATO. The population is almost 11 million, of which 1.1 million live in the capital, Brussels. The population is expected to reach 12.2 million by 2030, with the proportion of people over 65 expected to increase from 26% to 37% over the same period. Dutch is spoken by 60% of the population in the Flemish part of the country, while French is spoken by 40% in the other part, Wallonia. 75% of the population is Catholic, with the remainder predominantly Protestant. The Euro is the official currency. The standard VAT rate is 21%.

 Belgium                               Capital: Brussels



11 million à 12.2 million (2030)

Proportion of people over 65 is 26% à 37% (2030)


60% Dutch (Flanders), 40% French (Wallonia)


75% Catholic

GDP / head

€ 33,600   (EU average: € 25,100)





GDP growth (volume)



-0.1% in 2012 (f)

1.5% in 2013 (f)

Unemployment rate

(Feb 2012)

7.2%   (EU average: 10.2%)

Inflation rate

3.5%   (EU average: 3.1%)


Figures relate to 2011, except where indicated.                                      Source: Eurostat, Searce (2012)


Belgium has a GDP per capita of €32,600, compared to the EU average of €24,400 in 2010. According to the OECD, the Belgian economy grew by 2.0% in 2011, and is expected to grow by 0.5% in 2012 and 1.6% in 2013 (compared to the Eurozone average of 1.6%, 0.2% and 1.4% respectively). The inflation rate was 3.2% in 2011, compared to 3% in the EU. The unemployment rate was 7.2%, compared to 9.8% in the EU as a whole in 2011.

In terms of doing business, Belgium is not a homogeneous country. Family is very important and many people stay close to where they were born. Personal appearance is very important. Belgium is an egalitarian country. There is also a tendency to bureaucracy. Belgians prefer subtlety in their use of language rather than the more direct approach of the Dutch and other northern Europeans. They prefer to get to know those they deal with before making commitments.