Etiquette

  • Say hello, wave goodbye

Entering a shop or arriving at a cash desk it's polite to offer a cheery greeting to staff. And as you leave say thank you and 'good day'/'good evening' (in French using the specific terms bonne journée/bon soirée).

  • Giving gifts

When visiting someone's home it's appropriate to bring wine, flowers or chocolates – choose the brand carefully!

  • The wrong language

In Flanders don't think it's clever to speak French. English will generally be better understood and better appreciated.

  • Liberal or conservative?

Local ideas about political correctness might not match your own. Don't jump too quickly to conclusions. A lighter hearted approach to serious issues is common, and underneath, many attitudes are very liberal.

  • Kissing

Traditionally Belgians welcome good friends with three kisses on alternating cheeks. But knowing when that's appropriate confuses even the locals.