BELGIUM

BELGIUM

BELGIUM

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Name: Grand Place
Location: Brussels, Belgium
The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city's Town Hall, and the King's House or Breadhouse building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels. The square measures 68 by 110 metres (223 by 361 ft).

The Grand Place is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It is also considered as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Festivities and cultural events are frequently organised on the Grand Place, such as light and sound shows during the Christmas period, or concerts in the summer. Among the most important and famous are the Flower Carpet and the Ommegang.

Every two years in August, an enormous flower carpet is set up in the Grand Place for a few days .A million colourful begonias are set up in patterns. The first flower carpet was made in 1971, and due to its popularity, the tradition continued, with the flower carpet attracting a large number of tourists.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Place
Name: Manneken Pis
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Manneken Pis, meaning "Little Pisser" is a landmark small bronze sculpture (61 cm) in the centre of Brussels (Belgium), depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder [nl] and put in place in 1618 or 1619. The current statue is a copy which dates from 1965. The original is kept in the Museum of the City of Brussels. Manneken Pis is the best-known symbol of the people of Brussels. It also embodies their sense of humour (called zwanze in the dialect of Brussels) and their independence of mind.

Manneken Pis is located only five minutes' walk from the Grand Place, at the junction of Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat and the pedestrian Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat.

Manneken Pis is dressed in costumes, several times each week, according to a published schedule, which is posted on the railings around the fountain. Since 1954, the costumes are managed by the non-profit association "The Friends of Manneken-Pis", who review hundreds of designs submitted each year, and select a small number to be produced and used.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manneken_Pis
Name: Atomium
Location: Brussels, Belgium
The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair (Expo 58). It is located on the Heysel Plateau, where the exhibition took place. It is now a museum.

Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (60 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected, so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes of 3 m (10 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres, which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere includes a restaurant which has a panoramic view of Brussels.

By the turn of the millennium, the state of the building had become quite deteriorated and a comprehensive renovation was sorely needed. Renovation of the Atomium began in March 2004 and remained closed until 18 February 2006.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomium
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO BELGIUM.
FACTS:
Official Languages: French / Dutch / German
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1) / CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +32
Local / up-to-date weather in Brussels (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Belgium travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Belgium, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO BELGIUM.

Belgium uses the euro, like several other European countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on one side and a national country-specific design on the other. The latter side is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design on the national side does not affect the use of the coin.

Being such a small country (300 km as its maximum distance), you can get anywhere in a couple of hours. Public transport, when fully functioning, is fast and comfortable, and not too expensive. Between larger cities, there are frequent train connections, with buses covering smaller distances. A useful site is InfoTEC, which has a door-to-door routeplanner for the whole country, covering all forms of public transport (including train, bus, subway and tram).

A look on the map may suggest that Brussels is a good starting point to explore Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Namur and Leuven on day trips. Antwerp is popular among those who want to be in a cosmopolitan place, and Ghent is tops with those who like a good mix of open-minded provincialism. Liège is beautiful, but too close to Germany to be a good base for day trips. Mechelen is considered boring by tourists, but has a very good youth hostel next to a train station with trains to everywhere else every 30 min.

To do some local sightseeing, especially in Flanders, a lot of infrastructure is available for cycling. Bikes can be rented virtually everywhere. In the country side of Wallonia, mountainbikes are available, and rafting is popular along the border with Luxembourg.

BY TRAIN:

Belgianrail.be journey planner. Use this journey planner operated by Belgian Rail to find train itineraries and prices.

Most of Belgium is well connected by train, run by NMBS (SNCB in French) with most of the main routes passing through Antwerp, Namur or Brussels. This is where you’ll arrive on international trains, and both can be reached by train from Brussels airport or by coach from Antwerp or Charleroi airport. Transfers are very easy. All ICE and some Thalys tickets allow free same-day transfers by domestic trains to any other Belgian station. Also, there are Thalys trains from Paris directly to Ghent, Bruges and Oostende with no need to switch trains in Antwerp or Brussels. From London (by Eurostar) you need to switch in Brussels for Antwerp, Leuven or Ghent, but for Bruges, you can already switch in Lille (France) with no need to make the detour via Brussels. In Lille and Brussels the staff are very helpful and willing to smile.

The trains are punctual and mostly modern and comfortable.

Normal fares on Belgian trains are cheap compared to Germany or the UK, with no need nor a possibility to prebook or reserve. 2nd class fares don’t go much higher than €20 for the longest domestic trips, and 1st class costs 50% extra. Trains can get very full during the rush hours, so you might need a 1st class ticket to get a seat at those times. You can buy normal tickets online or in stations, but not usually in travel agencies. If you want to buy a ticket on the train, you have to warn the train conductor and a supplement will be charged, unless ticket offices in the departure station are closed. In the train station, you can pay with cash or credit card. Not buying a ticket can cost you up to €200. Return tickets are 50% cheaper at the weekend.

Normal tickets are sold for a designated day, so there is no extra validation when you step on a train.

The cheapest option if you’re planning several train trips is a Go Pass, which gives you 10 single 2nd class trips (including train changes if necessary) for €50. It’s valid for a year and can be shared with or given to other people without any restrictions. The only problem is you have to be younger than 26, but there’s a more expensive version for older people called a Rail Pass. This costs €77 for 2nd class or €117 for 1st. When using these passes make sure you have filled in the line before you get on the train (strictly speaking: before you enter the platform). The train conductor can be very picky when the pass is not correctly filled in. However, if you address train station staff before boarding, they will be glad to help you.

If you’re visiting a certain event or concert, be sure to check if your train travel isn’t already included in the ticket. Some mayor festivals and concert like Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop or I Love Techno include train travel in the ticket price. For visiting special places like theme parks or museums, inform for the option ‘B-Excursions’. That way you buy your entrance ticket and train ticket in one at the train station. This always is low-priced, normally resulting in normal entrance ticket price plus €4-5 for travel. The desk agent will surely point you out the details.

The NMBS website has a searchable timetable with delay information, and a fare calculator. You can also find a map of Belgian railways and stations.

Train schedules usually change around December 10. Those changes are usually limited to introducing a few new train stations and adding a few regular lines. No lines have been discontinued in a very long time.

The national rail network also operates local trains (L-trains). Recently, a few major cities have gotten S-trains (suburban rail networks) – Brussels in 2015 and Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent and Liege in 2018. These systems usually replace maost of the L-trains within 30 km of the city. They are not well publicized and it can be difficult to find information on them in English, especially for the ones not in Brussels. The systems are mainly built for commuters in nearby areas, but can also be used for some in-town trips. Each S-train line in the entire country has a different number. S1 is shared by Antwerp and Brussels due to the short distance between the cities and the small size of the country in general, so it can be used for slower intercity journeys there (although the IC can go between the cities faster for the same price, 45 min vs 1hr 20min).

BY BUS AND TRAM:

Buses cover the whole country, along with trams and metro in the big cities. Most routes cover short distances, but it is possible to go from city to city by bus. However, this is much slower and only slightly cheaper than taking a train. There is also the Kusttram, running along almost the whole Flemish seaside from France to the Netherlands—definitely worth a trip in the summer.

Within cities, a normal ticket for one zone never costs more than €2, and there are various travelcards available. Local transport is provided by different companies: STIB/MIVB in Brussels, De Lijn in Flanders and TEC in Wallonia, and, outside Brussels, they don’t accept each other’s tickets. Tickets are cheaper when bought at ticket machines.

Most tourists will not need the bus companies, as it is much more user-friendly to take trains between cities and go on foot inside them. Only Brussels and Antwerp have a subway, but, even there, you can make your way around on foot. The historic center of Brussels is only about 300 m (980 ft) by 400 m (1,300 ft) long. Antwerp is much bigger, but a ride on a horse-pulled coach gives a better view than the subway.

BY CAR:

Belgium has a dense network of modern toll-free motorways, but some secondary roads in Wallonia are poorly maintained. Signs are always in the local language only, except in Brussels, where they’re bilingual. As many cities in Belgium have quite different names in Dutch and French, this can cause confusion. For example, Mons in French is Bergen in Dutch; Antwerp is called Antwerpen in Dutch and Anvers in French; Liège in French is Luik in Dutch and Lüttich in German, and so on. This even applies to cities outside Belgium; driving along a Flemish motorway, you may see signs for Rijsel, which is the French city of Lille or Aken, which is the German city of Aachen. Exits are marked with the word Uit (out) in Flemish areas, Sortie in Walloon areas and Ausfahrt in German-speaking ones.

Drivers in Belgium should also be aware of the “priority from the right” rule. At road crossings, traffic coming from the right has the right of way unless otherwise indicated by signs or pavement markings. You’re most likely to encounter such crossings in urban and suburban areas. Observant visitors will notice a lot of cars with dents along their right sides! Drive defensively and your car will avoid the same fate.

In Belgium the motorway signs are notoriously inconvenient, especially on secondary roads. There is no uniformity in layout and colour; many are in bad state, placed in an awkward position or simply missing. A good roadmap (Michelin, De Rouck, Falk) or a GPS system is recommended. Belgium is one of the few countries to solely use the European E numbers on major routes.

As well as fixed-speed cameras on motorway and secondary roads there are also average-speed cameras that run for a good number of miles on motorways around major cities.

EAT:

Belgians like to eat. Belgium is famous for its good cuisine and people like to go to restaurants frequently. Best description for Belgian food would be “French food in German quantities”.

General rules:

  • As anywhere else in the world, avoid the tourist traps, where the touts are trying to get you in the restaurants. You will get average to bad quality food for average to high prices, and, at busy times, they will try to get rid of you as soon as possible to make space for the next customer. A good example of this is the famous “Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat” in Brussels in this picture.
  • Belgium is a country that understands what eating is all about and can be a real gastronomic paradise. You can have a decent meal in about every tavern, from small snacks to a complete dinner. Just pop into one of those and enjoy it.
  • If you want to eat really well for not too much money, ask the local people or the hotel manager (that is, supposing he does not have a brother restaurant-manager) to give some advice for a good restaurant. Not a bad idea is to find a restaurant or tavern a little bit outside of the cities (if advised by some locals) they are usually not too expensive but deliver decent -> high quality food. And ordering the specialties during the season will be both beneficial for your wallet and the quality of the food.
  • Quality has its price: since the introduction of the euro, price for eating out in Belgium nearly doubled. Expensive food like lobster or turbot will always cost a lot of money at any restaurant. But you can also find some local and simple dishes, rather cheap and still very tasty (such as sausages, potatoes and spinach). Normally a dinner (3 dishes) will be around €30-50 depending your choices of food and restaurant. And for cheap, greasy food, just find a local ‘frituur’, also called a ‘frietkot’, it will be the best Belgian Fries you’ll have had in ages. However, when you are in such a frituur, it may be best to avoid snacks (other than the fries themselves, and the rich choice in sauces that comes with them), which are generally fried and made out of low-quality scrap meat. Do NOT order a cheeseburger or hamburger in such a place! The so-called Bicky Burger which you would get if you do, is especially notorious for being fried and containing a mixture of horse meat, pork and chicken.

Specialities:

A number of dishes are considered distinctly Belgian specialities and should be on every visitor’s agenda.

Mussels are a firm favorite and a side-dish of Moules et frites/Mosselen met friet (Mussels with French fries). The traditional way is to cook them in a pot with white wine and/or onions and celery, then eat them up using only a mussel shell to scoop them out. The top season is September to April, and as with all other shellfish, do not eat the closed ones. Belgium’s mussels always come from the nearby Netherlands. Imports from other countries are looked down on.

Balletjes/Boulettes are meatballs with fries. They will either be served with a tomato sauce or with the sauce from Liège, which is based on a local syrup. For this reason they will often be introduced as Boulets Liégeois.

Frikadellen met krieken are also meatballs, served with cherries in a sauce of cherryjuice. This is eaten with bread.

Stoemp is mashed potatoes and carrots with bacon and sausages. It is a typical meal from Brussels.

Stoofvlees (or Carbonade flamande) is a traditional beef stew and is usually served with (you have guessed it already) fries.

Witloof met kaassaus/Chicons au gratin is a traditional gratin of chicory with ham and a cheesy bechamel sauce, usually served with mashed potatoes or croquettes.

Konijn met pruimen: rabbit cooked in beer and dried plums.

Despite the name, French fries (frieten in Dutch, frites in French) are proudly claimed as a Belgian invention. Whether or not this is true, they certainly have perfected it — although not everybody agrees with their choice of mayonnaise over ketchup as the preferred condiment (ketchup is often considered to be “for kids”).

Every village has at least one frituur/friterie, an establishment selling cheap take-away fries, with a huge choice of sauces and fried meat to go with them. The traditional thing to try is friet met stoofvlees, but remember the mayonnaise on it .

Waffles (wafels in Dutch, gaufres in French) come in two types:

  • Gaufres de Bruxelles/Brusselse wafels : a light and airy variety.
  • A heavier variety with a gooey center known as Gaufres de Liège/Luikse wafels.

The latter are often eaten as a street/ take-away snack while shopping and therefore can be found at stands on the streets of the cities.

Last but not least, Belgian chocolate is famed around the world. Famous chocolatiers include Godiva, Leonidas, Guylian, Galler, Marcolini and Neuhaus, but the best stuff can be found at tiny boutiques, too small to build worldwide brands. In nearly all supermarkets, you can buy the brand Côte d’Or, generally considered the best ‘everyday’ chocolate (for breakfast or break) among Belgians.

BUDGET:

  • Couchsurfing. has a lot of members in Belgium
  • Vrienden op de fiets. If you are travelling in Flanders by bicycle or by foot, there is a list of 260 addresses where you can stay at private homes with bed and breakfast for no more than €18.50 per person per night, although you must also pay €9 for membership of this scheme.

HOTELS:

Belgium has many fine hotels. Capital Brussels has countless rather expensive business hotels catering to the European Union’s bureaucrats, and while you can usually get a good room for under €100, prices can spike if there’s a big EU shindig in town.

ITEMS:

  • Belgian chocolate: A long tradition has given Belgian chocolate a superior refinement process that is recognized worldwide.
  • Laces in Bruges
  • Designer fashions in Antwerp
  • Jewelry in one of Antwerps many jewelry shops
  • Beer
  • Belgian comic books and related merchandising, especially in Brussels
**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Belgium
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PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Grand Place
Location: Brussels, Belgium
The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city's Town Hall, and the King's House or Breadhouse building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels. The square measures 68 by 110 metres (223 by 361 ft).

The Grand Place is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It is also considered as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Festivities and cultural events are frequently organised on the Grand Place, such as light and sound shows during the Christmas period, or concerts in the summer. Among the most important and famous are the Flower Carpet and the Ommegang.

Every two years in August, an enormous flower carpet is set up in the Grand Place for a few days .A million colourful begonias are set up in patterns. The first flower carpet was made in 1971, and due to its popularity, the tradition continued, with the flower carpet attracting a large number of tourists.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Place
Name: Manneken Pis
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Manneken Pis, meaning "Little Pisser" is a landmark small bronze sculpture (61 cm) in the centre of Brussels (Belgium), depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder [nl] and put in place in 1618 or 1619. The current statue is a copy which dates from 1965. The original is kept in the Museum of the City of Brussels. Manneken Pis is the best-known symbol of the people of Brussels. It also embodies their sense of humour (called zwanze in the dialect of Brussels) and their independence of mind.

Manneken Pis is located only five minutes' walk from the Grand Place, at the junction of Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat and the pedestrian Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat.

Manneken Pis is dressed in costumes, several times each week, according to a published schedule, which is posted on the railings around the fountain. Since 1954, the costumes are managed by the non-profit association "The Friends of Manneken-Pis", who review hundreds of designs submitted each year, and select a small number to be produced and used.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manneken_Pis
Name: Atomium
Location: Brussels, Belgium
The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair (Expo 58). It is located on the Heysel Plateau, where the exhibition took place. It is now a museum.

Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (60 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected, so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes of 3 m (10 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres, which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere includes a restaurant which has a panoramic view of Brussels.

By the turn of the millennium, the state of the building had become quite deteriorated and a comprehensive renovation was sorely needed. Renovation of the Atomium began in March 2004 and remained closed until 18 February 2006.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomium
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
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...WHO ARE WE?

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My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

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We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

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