Brussels is the capital of Belgium and the administrative centre of the European Union. This has earned the city the title of the Capital of Europe. Brussels has been given its character by the coexistence of French and Flemish culture, and it is nowadays home to nationalities around the world, adding a cosmopolitan flavour to its atmosphere. The vibrant atmosphere of Brussels is further enhanced by picturesque medieval streets, lively squares, beautiful boulevards, impressive monuments, spacious parks, cosy cafés, interesting restaurants and an active cultural life.
General Information for Travellers
Belgian Tourist Office
30, Rue Saint-Bernard
B - 1060 Brussels
Phone: +32 (0) 70 221 021
Fax: +32 (0) 2 513 04 75
BI-TC (Bruxelles International)
2 rue royale, B-1000 Brussels
Phone: +32 (0) 2 513 8940
Fax: +32 (0) 2 513 8320
Belgium has three official languages: French, Dutch and German. English is understood and spoken almost everywhere.
Banking and Currency
Banks are open Monday to Friday from 0900-1200 and 1400-1600. Most large cities have currency exchanges, which have longer opening hours. Exchange facilities are also available at airports, at main railway stations and in exchange offices. The national currency is the Euro.
In most cities, shops are open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 6 or 7pm. Whilst Sunday is the official closing day, in many towns, souvenir shops will also be open on Sundays during the tourist season. Sunday is the ideal day for Flea Market fans. Bakeries and Patisseries are also open on Sunday mornings.
For further information about things to do, where to eat, to book local entertainment tickets, please visit http://visitbrussels.be.
Never an easy matter, is not normally expected in Belgian cafés, restaurants or hotels as service and V.A.T. are included in the bill. You can, of course add an additional tip if the service has been particularly good. Taxi fares also include in amount shown on the meter, but it is normal to round up the sum.
Telephones kiosks tend to be located at railways stations, supermarkets and cafés. They contain a notice with instructions in several languages including English. Some telephones require phone cards, which can be bought at the post offices, some newsagents and supermarkets. Credit cards can sometimes be used to make calls. The code for calling Belgium is +32 followed by the area code minus the initial 0.
Belgium is on Central European Time (CET).
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are the 2-pin round types.
'100 Ambulance '100 Fire brigade '101 Police '112 European emergencies
Health & Chemist
Chemists, Pharmacie in French, are normally open from 0900-1800. During the weekends, special arrangement applies for them. The name of the closest pharmacist on duty is indicated at every pharmacy.
For available health care services in Belgium, please visit the site of the British NHS. As a European resident, it is advisable to have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which can be obtained free of charge from the resident's health insurer. In the UK, this card can be obtained by visiting https://www.ehic.org.uk or by calling: +44 845 606 2030. If you are unable to obtain EHIC, please ensure that you carry your passport and your health insurance details with you at all times. A travel insurance should still be taken out in all cases.
Disabled Travellers: For information and advice please contact the Belgian Red Cross, well in advance of travel.
Belgian Red Cross
Crois Rouge de Belgique/Belgian Red Cross
96, Rue de Stalle
Phone: +32 (0) 2 371 31 11
Fax +32 (0) 2 646 04 39
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