Understanding Belgian visitors and exhibitors

Visitor’s portrait

(posted on 28/10/2015)


It’s tempting to think that because Belgium is so close to France, the two countries are comparable or even similar. But nothing could be further from the truth. Identifying opportunities and making inroads into the Belgian market require patience and perseverance. Cornering this market takes time.

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Flemish is Belgium’s first national language. The predominant language in the south (Walloon Region) is French, even though some words have a different use or meaning than in France. Making routine references to the Netherlands or France, or thinking that Belgium’s two main communities are similar to those two countries, is a huge mistake and very badly perceived.

Belgian professionals are extremely pragmatic and more receptive to solutions or things that are practical than talk and theory.

They are open and cordial but precise and demanding in terms of expectations.

They use the informal “tu” sooner and more readily than in France, but this is a sign of friendliness rather than familiarity.

Belgians are often humble, even about their successes. They don’t show off or swagger. A major buyer might, for example, prefer a regular visitor badge so he can browse the show privately.

Belgian industry professionals like to be independent when visiting a trade show.