Travel in Belgium and Luxembourg presents very few health problems. The standard of care is extremely high; English is widely spoken by doctors and medical clinic staff and tap water is safe to drink.
Specific travel vaccinations are not required for visitors to the region.
Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) are covered for emergency medical treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), though they will be liable to pay a per-appointment fee as a local would. You can then take the official receipt to claim a reimbursement of up to 75% through a Belgian mutual health-fund office (Ziekenfond/Mutualité).
Enquire about EHICs at your health centre, travel agency or (in some countries) post office well in advance of travel.
Citizens from other countries should find out if there is a reciprocal arrangement for free medical care between their country and Belgium or Luxembourg. If not, health insurance is recommended.
Doctors’ bills are generally payable immediately in cash, so visit an ATM beforehand. At a hospital (ziekenhuis/hôpital in Dutch/French), you are more likely to be able to pay your bills with plastic.
Checking insurance quotes…
Before You Go
For minor self-limiting illnesses you might save a doctor’s fee by asking advice at a pharmacy (apotheek/pharmacie in Dutch/French).
Most are open from about 8.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday, plus Saturday mornings.
At night or weekends 'duty’ (wachtdienst/de garde) pharmacies charge higher prices. Use these websites to check which is open when:
Belgium Pharmacies (www.pharmacie.be in French, www.apotheek.be in Dutch) Search Pharmacie de Garde (French) or Apotheek van Wacht (Dutch).
Luxembourg Pharmacies (www.pharmacie.lu/service_de_garde)