Practical A to Z
Practical A to Z
- Eating out
- Embassies and consulates
- Public holidays
Tips and customs
Prices are inclusive of service, but a tip can be added (5 to 10%) should you feel the service warrants the extra reward. Bread is generally placed on the table at the beginning of the meal and is included in the price, however tap water is rarely requested.
The voltage in Belgium is 220V, but plugs are standard two-pin continental plugs, so you will probably need an adaptor.
Embassies and consulates
British Embassy –Avenue d’Auderghem 10, Oudergemlaan, 1040 Brussels – t 02 287 6211 – http://ukinbelgium.fco.gov.uk/en/
Irish Embassy – Chaussée d’Etterbeek 180, Etterbeeksesteenweg, 1040 Brussels – t 02 235 6676 – http://www.embassyofireland.be/
Also see Know before you go.
Universal European emergency number: t 112.
Police: t 101. Fire brigade and medical emergencies: t 100.
Open from 8.30am to 6.30pm except Sundays. When a chemist is closed, the name and address of the nearest out-of-hours chemist is indicated on the door or window.
The currency of Belgium is the Euro.
Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 12.30pm and 2 to 3.30pm (Fridays 4pm or 7pm near large shopping centres); town centre branches are open from 9am to 3.30pm (with an occasional break for lunch); some branches are open on Saturday mornings.
Credit cards and traveller’s cheques
Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept all the main international credit cards. Traveller’s cheques, little used, should be exchanged for cash in banks or exchange offices.
Euro zone residents should note that bank charges for withdrawals and payments are identical to those in their country of origin.
Budget / cost of living
The cost of living is roughly equivalent to that of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Ticket offices close between 30min-1hr before the museum closing time. Most museums are closed on Mondays.
Post offices are open Monday-Friday from 9am to noon and 2 to 5pm; those in the centre of large cities stay open at lunchtimes. Some of the main post office branches are also open on Saturday mornings.
Postage stamps can also be purchased from Points Poste/Postpunten (supermarkets, neighbourhood shops and town halls bearing the logo).
Ascension Day –Forty days after Easter Monday
21 July – National holiday
15 August – Assumption Day
1 November – All Saints Day
11 November – Armistice
Some local holidays can result in the closure of public services:
11 July – Flemish Community Festival
27 September – French-speaking Community Festival
Shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to noon-12.30pm and from 2 to 6-6.30pm. In large cities, many stay open at lunchtime.
Calling Belgium from abroad
00 + 32 (Belgian country code) + area code without the 0 + number of the person.
Calling home from Belgium
00 + country code. For the United Kingdom: 44; for Ireland: 353.
Always dial a 0 before the area code.