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Leaving for Belgium

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Practical A to Z

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Practical A to Z


Eating out

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.


Electricity

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/


Health

Also see Know before you go.

Emergencies

Universal European emergency number: t 112.

Police: t 101. Fire brigade and medical emergencies: t 100.

Chemists

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.


Money

Currency

The currency of Belgium is the Euro.

Banks

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.


Museums

Ticket offices close between 30min-1hr before the museum closing time. Most museums are closed on Mondays.


Post

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).


Public holidays

1 January

Easter Monday

1 May

Ascension Day –Forty days after Easter Monday

Whit Monday

21 July – National holiday

15 August – Assumption Day

1 November – All Saints Day

11 November – Armistice

25 December

Some local holidays can result in the closure of public services:

11 July – Flemish Community Festival

27 September – French-speaking Community Festival


Shopping

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.


Telephone

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.

National calls

Always dial a 0 before the area code.

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