Belgium

Background to Business in Belgium

Belgium plays a role in the global business world, which is probably disproportionate to its size and economic power.

Brussels, with its armies of Eurocrats, Natocrats and multi-nationals, has become one of the most important business centres in Europe. Antwerp has developed into one of the largest ports in the world, servicing massive volumes of inward and outward trade for the EU.

Yet Belgium is itself not internally cohesive with massive differences of approach and attitude being discernible between the two ethnic groupings of the Walloons and the Flemish. The traditional supremacy of the French-speaking Wallonia in the south has been superseded over the past twenty years or so by the growing affluence of Flanders in the North. This change of fortune only serves to further heighten tensions. Brussels sits uncomfortably as a French-speaking enclave in the midst of a Flemish speaking-region.

Indeed, Belgium finds itself at times unable to form a government – mainly due to the very real tensions that exist between the North and the South of the country and the question which is being increasingly asked is, ‘can Belgium survive as a single country’? Nobody seems to be able to answer this.

An awareness of this central dichotomy at the heart of the nation of Belgium is critical for an understanding of the Belgian approach to business. Everything has to be a compromise; inflexibility of opinion is unacceptable. Thus, to consider the Flemish as honorary Dutchmen or Walloons as quasi-French would be to underestimate the country and its people. Belgians do, in many instances, exhibit a tangible Belgian approach to many business issues. This country profile attempts to highlight some of the unique qualities of the Belgians, as well as bringing out some of the dilemmas resulting from Belgian dualism.

 

Author

This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture.  Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working.  We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Australia only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.


Author

This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture

Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working.  We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Belgium only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.

Country Breakdown

11

Million

Population

Euro

Currency

$ 466

Billion

GDP

30,528

km2

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