Belgium buildings on the riverCapital:
Brussels is in the valley of the Senne River in southeastern Belgium in Flemish Brabandt Province.

Time zone:
Belgium’s clocks are 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States, and 1 hour ahead of Greenwich mean time in the winter and 2 hours ahead in the summer under daylight saving time.

Local calls :
Pay phones work with telecards, available in a number of denominations, starting at bf200. These cards can be purchased at any post office and at many newsstands. Most phone booths that accept telecards have a list indicating where cards can be bought.

International calls :
Telephones are operated by Belgacom.
The country code is 32.
The Brussels city code is 02.
To dial abroad, 00+ the country code + the area code, + subscriber number.
Information 1207/1307 (local) or 1204;1304 (International.)

Tipping:
A service charge is included in restaurant and hotel bills, and tips are also included in the amount shown on the meter in taxis. Additional tipping is unnecessary unless you wish to say thank you for very good service

Visitor information:
Tourist information Brussels (TIB: tel. 02/513-8940 in the Hôtel De Ville On The Grand-place, is daily 9-6 during the main tourist season (off-season, Sunday 10-2; December through February, closed Sunday).

Electricity:
To use U.S. purchased electric powered equipment, bring a converter and an adapter The electrical current in Belgium is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take continental-type plugs, with two round prongs.

Passports:
All U.S. citizens, even infants, need a valid passport to enter Belgium for stays of up to 90 days.

Visas:
U.S. and Canadian residents do not require visas to visit Belgium for pleasure or business trips not exceeding three months.

Embassies:
U.S. Embassy (Boulevard du régent 27 tel. 02/513-3830

Emergencies:
police 101;
accident and ambulance 100
Doctor 02/479-1818.
Dentist 02/426-1026.

Language:
Brussels is the official bi-lingual capital of Belgium. All official notices such as names of streets and traffic indications, fire prevention notices, fire exits, etc …are given in two languages: French and Dutch. The majority of the people in Brussels speak French. The French language in Brussels has sometimes been influenced by Dutch phase-structures that the people in France wouldn’t understand.
The other language is Dutch. Dutch in Belgium is also sometimes called Flemish but it is the same language as the one spoken in Holland, with differences in accent, vocabulary and influences from French phrase structures. Visitors will have no problem finding English speakers.

VAT:
In Belgium, VAT ranges from 6% on food and clothing to 33% on luxury goods. Restaurants are in between; 21% VAT is included in quoted prices. Many shops advertise that goods are available tax-free. At the time of purchase, by credit card, you pay the price without VAT and you also sign a guarantee in the amount of the sales tax. You are given two invoices: one is your record and the other must be stamped by customs when you leave Belgium (or the last EU country on your itinerary). You must return the stamped invoice to the store within three months, or you forfeit the guarantee.