Belgium Currency Exchange Guide

A small yet enchanting country nestled in the heart of Europe., Belgium offers a perfect blend of rich history, stunning architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine. With its medieval towns, majestic castles, world-class museums, and vibrant festivals, Belgium promises an unforgettable experience for every type of traveller. As you wander through its cobblestone streets and savour the taste of delectable chocolates and legendary beers, you’ll quickly discover why Belgium should be at the top of every globetrotter’s bucket list.

General Belgian Currency Information

What is the currency of Belgium?

The official currency of Belgium is the Euro (EUR).

What do Belgian euro notes & coins look like?

Portuguese euro notes

As a member of the Eurozone, Belgium proudly circulates the Europa series of banknotes, which have been introduced in phases over several years. The €5, €10, €20, and €50 notes made their debut between 2013 and 2017, while the €100 and €200 notes joined the series on May 28, 2019. Named after Europa, a figure from Greek mythology who is featured in two security elements on the banknotes, this series elegantly showcases Europe’s diverse cultural heritage. The captivating image of Europa, embodying the continent’s unity and human touch, was inspired by a vase displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Portuguese euro coins

As for Belgium’s euro coins, they are indeed a work of art, meticulously crafted to pay tribute to the nation’s longstanding monarchy. Adorned with King Albert II’s portrait and his monogram – a capital “A” beneath a crown – these coins serve as a commemoration of Belgium’s royal legacy. Interestingly, the coins also feature 12 stars, symbolising the European Union, in which Belgium plays an integral role in. Upon holding these exquisite coins, you’ll be captivated by their intricate details and impeccable design. In essence, Belgium’s euro coins beautifully represent the country’s rich heritage and its close ties with the EU.

Economy

Belgium boasts a highly developed, high-income, mixed economy capitalising on the country’s central location. With a well-developed transport network and a diversified industrial and commercial base, Belgium was the first European nation to join the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century. Today, it possesses an impressive transportation infrastructure consisting of ports, canals, railways, and highways, seamlessly integrating its industry with neighbouring countries.

The country imports raw materials and semi-finished goods for further processing and re-exportation. Although Belgium has limited natural resources and relies heavily on its fertile soils, its economy encompasses various traditional industrial sectors such as textiles, steel, refining, food processing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics, automobiles, and machinery fabrication.

Remarkably, services contribute to 74.9% of Belgium’s GDP, while agriculture accounts for a mere 1%, showcasing the nation’s economic adaptability and resilience.

Brief currency history

Belgium’s fascinating currency history can be traced back to the 15th century, with the captivating tale of the gulden (guilder). This currency remained influential until 1832 when it gracefully made way for the Belgian francs. Throughout the years, Belgium’s monetary landscape was enriched by various standard coins, including the patagon, kronenthaler, and Dutch guilder. However, it was the arrival of the French franc during the Napoleonic Wars that truly revolutionised Belgium’s financial story.

In a bold move in 1865, Belgium joined forces with France, Switzerland, and Italy to create the groundbreaking Latin Monetary Union, later welcoming Greece in 1868. Each member nation had its own legal tender, with all units being freely exchangeable at a 1:1 rate. By the 1870s, the gold value became the unwavering fixed standard, a steadfast arrangement that lasted until 1914. But as times changed, Belgium decided to withdraw from the union in 1926 due to depreciation and waning confidence, introducing the innovative Belga currency for international transactions. Meanwhile, the enduring monetary union between Belgium and Luxembourg continued to thrive, eventually forming the foundation for a robust economic union in 1932.

The Belgian franc, though resilient, faced several devaluations throughout its existence, especially during World War II and in 1982. Yet, on January 1, 1999, a new era dawned as the Belgian/Luxembourgish franc ceased to exist. The sleek euro banknotes and coins debuted in Belgium on January 1, 2002, and by February 28, 2002, the dual circulation period came to an end. While the National Central Bank of Belgium exchanged national coins until the 31st of December 2004, it continues to exchange national banknotes indefinitely, preserving a piece of Belgium’s captivating monetary legacy.

Taking Travel Money to Belgium

Belgium Travel Banner

What currency should I take to Belgium?

If you’re travelling to Belgium, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollar (AUD) for Euro (Euro). Get information on how to exchange your AUD to EUR.

Is it better to convert currency in Australia or Belgium?

Based on convenience alone, converting currency in Australia is the better option. Not only will it save you from having to find a currency exchange upon arrival, but it also allows you to have travel funds on hand prior to departure. This means you can budget your travel funds more effectively and enjoy your trip without worrying about running out of money.

How much money can I take to Belgium?

It’s important to note that if you’re carrying over €10,000 (or its equivalent in a different currency) when entering or leaving the European Union, you’ll need to declare it at Customs. Don’t worry though, simply filling out a form and being transparent about your finances is all it takes to abide by the regulations.

Where to convert currency?

Crown Currency Exchange is here to provide you with everything you need. From a competitive exchange rate to a vast network of stores located all over Australia, obtaining travel money has never been easier. As a trusted name in the industry with years of experience, we pride ourselves on our reliable and efficient service, ensuring that you can access the currency you need for your travels without any additional stress. With over 50 stores throughout the country, it’s easy to see why we’re the ultimate solution to all your travel money needs. 

Is tipping customary in Belgium? How much is expected?

When you’re travelling to Belgium, it’s helpful to know the local customs when it comes to tipping. While Belgium doesn’t have as strong of a tipping culture as some other countries, there are still situations where it’s appropriate to show your appreciation for excellent service.

Here are some common tipping customs in Belgium and when you might want to leave a little extra:

Restaurants: Typically, a 10-15% service charge is already included in your restaurant bill, so there’s no need to tip extra. However, if you feel that the service was exceptional, such as the waiter accommodating dietary restrictions or offering great recommendations, you might want to leave a few extra euros to show your gratitude.

Bartenders: There’s no real obligation to tip at bars in Belgium, but if a bartender goes above and beyond, like offering a complimentary drink or engaging in friendly conversation, you could consider leaving a few euros to thank them for their outstanding service.

Tour guides: Most tour prices already account for gratuity. However, if your tour guide shares personal stories, provides unique insights, or makes your experience particularly memorable, it’s always nice to show your appreciation with a few extra euros.

Taxi drivers: While tips aren’t expected, you can always let the driver keep the change. If they help with luggage or share valuable local knowledge, you might want to give them a few euros as a token of your appreciation.

Housekeeping: The overall cost of your stay usually covers housekeeping services, so additional tips aren’t necessary. However, if you feel that they’ve gone above and beyond, such as providing extra towels or toiletries, you could leave a few euros to acknowledge their exceptional work.

Salons: In Belgium, tipping your hair stylist isn’t a common practice. But if you’re thrilled with your new hairstyle, especially if they took extra time to consult with you or fixed a previous haircut mishap, feel free to leave a few euros as a thank-you.

Spas: Gratuity is generally included in the cost of spa services. That said, if the staff goes out of their way to create a relaxing atmosphere or tailor treatment to suit your preferences, you might consider leaving a few euros at the reception desk to express your gratitude.

What is ATM access like in Belgium?

ATMs can be found all around the country, from bustling cities to quiet villages. To make sure you don’t get hit with any unexpected fees, make sure to check the logos on an ATM to ensure it’s connected to your bank network. Most mainstream bank cards from the US, UK and Australia will work, with Visa being the most commonly accepted. It’s good to know that Mastercard/Maestro is a close second, as some shops and restaurants may only accept one or the other. Just keep in mind that American Express and Discover cards aren’t as widely accepted, so it may be best to have a backup option just in case.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

When it comes to backpacking in Belgium, a daily budget of around €60-70 (AUD $99-115) should do. This budget allows for a comfy hostel dorm to rest your head at night, cooking meals in a shared kitchen or hostel, exploring the city by walking or public transportation and enjoying a night out with drinks limited to save some cash. And the good news is, there are plenty of free activities to indulge in, like walking tours and wandering through the local markets.

Moderate

If you’re looking to have a comfortable mid-range trip, then budgeting around €140-160 (AUD $230-263) per day should do the trick. This will allow you to splurge on a private Airbnb or private hostel room, indulge in some delicious local food, and enjoy a couple of drinks. You’ll also have enough cash to take a taxi to get around when you’re feeling lazy, rent a bike to explore the city, and even visit museums and castles, and take a canal cruise. 

Luxury

Looking to indulge in the finer things in life while travelling to Belgium? A luxury budget of €285 (AUD $469) or more per day should suffice. With this amount, you can enjoy all the luxuries you desire, whether it’s staying in a fancy hotel, dining at top-notch restaurants, or taking a taxi to all your destinations. And, of course, don’t forget to treat yourself to some drinks throughout the day because why not? The best part is that this is just the starting point for a luxurious experience in Belgium. Whether it’s shopping at designer boutiques or taking a helicopter ride, the sky’s the limit with a luxury budget like this.

Currency details

Currency:

Euro

Currency code:

EUR

Currency symbol:

Central bank:

National Bank of Belgium

Nickname:

None

Currency sub-unit:

Cent = 1/100

Bank notes:

€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500

Coins:

1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2

Must-dos while you are in Belgium

Brussels Belgium

Visit Brussels

As the capital city, Brussels is the hub of culture and politics not just for Belgium but for the European Union. This city is a chocolate paradise, especially if you’re a fan of the infamous chocolate truffles. The Grand Place is the most stunning square in Brussels and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also visit the Manneken Pis statue, St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, and the Atomium structure. Don’t forget to taste the famous Belgian waffles and fries.

Bruges

Explore Bruges

Bruges, known as the “Venice of the North”, is one of the most picturesque and popular tourist destinations in Belgium. This medieval city is famous for its canals, cobblestone streets, and historic architecture. You can take a boat ride through the canals, visit the Market Square and Belfry Tower, and explore the Beguinage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chocolate lovers should also try some of the world-famous Belgian chocolate at local chocolate shops.

Antwerp

Visit Antwerp

Antwerp is a city full of history, art, fashion, and diamonds. This city is located on the River Scheldt and is famous for its diamond district, where over 70% of the world’s diamonds pass through. Antwerp also has a rich history and culture, evident in its stunning architecture, museums, and churches. You can visit the Cathedral of Our Lady, the Rubens House Museum, and the Antwerp Central Station, considered one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

Belgian Beer

Try Belgian Beer

Belgium is famous for its world-class beers, known for their unique flavours and brewing methods. There are over 180 breweries and 2000 types of beers in Belgium, from refreshing lagers to strong ales and artisanal lambics. You can visit a local brewery or stop by a pub in any of the cities to try some of the best beers in the world. Don’t miss out on trying the famous Trappist beers brewed by monks and considered some of the rarest and most exclusive beers on the planet.

Ardennes

Explore Ardennes

Ardennes is a picturesque region in the southeast of Belgium, bordering Luxembourg and France. This region is famous for its beautiful forests, scenic rivers, and charming towns. You can go hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, or canoeing in the region. You can also visit the Caves of Han, a natural reserve with a stunning cave system that extends for over 5 kilometres. Ardennes is also known for its gastronomy, especially its game dishes such as wild boar and venison.

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