Etiquette

  • Say hello, wave goodbye When entering a shop or arriving at a cash desk, it's polite to offer a cheery greeting to staff. When you leave, say thank you and good day/good evening.
  • 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.