Belgium dating

A guide to dating Belgian women and Belgian men

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Before you jump into the Belgian dating game, understanding Belgian women and Belgian men can do wonders for your love life. Here are some tips to dating in Belgium.

Belgian dating has shifted to the digital world like elsewhere, as online dating in Belgium and dating apps have increasingly become popular. However, meeting someone at a bar or through a friend is still a common way to meet Belgian women and Belgian men, especially in smaller Belgian cities.

Dating someone from any foreign country can be complex. Different cultures around the world place different appreciation on what qualities make someone desirable. What might be considered romantic, polite or respectful back home, might not be well received when dating in Belgium.

You may notice differences between Belgium's three language communities, and as you wouldn't stereotype your own dating traits, nor is it possible to stereotype Belgian dating traits. But there are some general tips about dating a Belgian man or dating Belgian women that can help you avoid making a Belgian dating blunder.

Belgium dating

Belgians are known for being reserved and conservative, which can at first make them appear distant, unemotional or, sometimes mistakenly, disinterested. Belgians tend to be formal and closed when meeting people for the first time, and relationships can take a long time to develop; it's not common to discuss personal matters, or at least at the beginning of your acquaintance. However, once all the aspects of your potential partnership (or even friendship) have been considered and approved, Belgians who enter a relationship are serious and thereafter comfortable with opening up.

On the other hand, a Belgian won't mess around with 'dating standards' if they are interested – there's no taboo around contacting someone straight away, calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend after one date or being invited to join them at a wedding. In this way, Belgians can be incredibly romantic.

Yet Belgians are not renown for being overly passionate or touchy-feely, although they make up for it by generally being hard-working and stolid in nature. Their dependability and calm nature can make them great partners in times of crisis.

Good manners and presentation are also key when looking to impress someone, especially when dining. With access to an array of top Belgian foods and gourmet restaurants, an inner foodie hides in every Belgian; cooking skills, appreciation of fine food and proper table manners are great starting points to impress your date.

Belgians are also particular about their surroundings, and take pride in clean and well-maintained homes, as well as organisation in their social lives and careers. Thus appearing careless or irresponsible in your habits or manners are not generally attractive traits to Belgian men or women.  

Punctuality is also a prided trait, and turning up late is a sign of disrepect. If your date is picking you up, this means being ready well in advance – they'll likely be on your doorstep before the agreed time.

Belgian women – dating Belgian womenSilvy De Bie is a Belgian singer often found on lists of the most beautiful Belgian women.

Meeting Belgian women and men

With Belgium's long history of immigration, there is no typical stereotype of what Belgian women or Belgian men look like.

It's typical for both Belgian women and men have active schedules and many committments – including with family – and it can be hard to get a place on their agenda. Likewise, your Belgian date is less likely to be available for last-minute plans or impromptu dates. Belgians tend to love their comfort zone – whether it's their village, close friends or family – which sometimes can be hard to break into.

Introductions with strangers tend to be a handshake and formal language, while acquaintances will go for cheek kisses. Conversations are generally soft-spoken and calm, and many online forums talk about the 'gentle' nature of Belgian people.

Unlike in some countries, Belgium does not have a homogeneous culture. The country is divided into three language regions, where they speak Flemish/Dutch, French and Germany. Confusing Belgium's distinct cultures or being unaware of Belgian history would not impress your Belgian date.

If you are ever invited to someone's house, you should accept any drink offered by your host but don't ask for one if it's not offered. At dinner parties, it's not uncommon that partners or husbands and wives are not seated together. Belgians also tend to be thrifty and don't appreciate waste, so finishing all the food on your plate is important. It's also common to take a gift when invited to someone's home, such as flowers, wine or even candy, if children are there. By no means give chrysanthemums, as they symbolise death.

Belgian women

Belgian women know good food and how to enjoy a meal, yet will never forget to maintain their poise or table manners, which are also vital to reciprocate if you want to impress a Belgian woman. Similarly, if you opt to give Belgian chocolates as a gift or take a Belgian woman to a restaurant, low quality won't win you any points – although Belgian women are not strangers to enjoying a good Belgian waffle or frites on the street.

Belgian women are typically independent, with Belgium boasting good wage equality and employment conditions. It is not a taboo for women to pay on a date, although Belgian women still appreciate chivalry and value politeness above all, so paying or taking a small gift will win you points. Belgian culture is typically modest, and Belgian women do not expect lavish gifts on a first date – add the Belgian trait of being thrifty, and it may even be seen as poor taste.

Despite Belgian women being socially and economically empowered, it hasn't replaced the traditional family values in Belgium. Belgian women tend to marry early and in some homes traditional gender roles play out.

With the emphasis placed on manners in Belgian culture, behaviour is important to Belgian women. It's important not to put your hands in your pockets, yawn or use toothpicks in public places. Your feet should never be put on chairs or tables. Your hands should also stay on the table during the whole meal, and never in your lap. If your manners are below par, you can expect to get judging looks from your date.

In fact, being courteous to everyone and waiting your turn in all interactions of social life is the premise that holds together Belgian culture. In this respect, losing your temper with Belgian women or raising your voice can be the quickest path to a break-up.

Belgian men – dating a Belgian manBelgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is one of the most internationally renown Belgian men.

Belgian men

Neatness and order are highly regarded both in Belgian culture and appearances, and Belgian men are penchant to self-grooming, down to clean and tidy fingernails. Likewise, showing up in torn-jeans or very casual clothes to a date will unlikely impress a Belgian man.

Belgian men are known to be polite, soft-spoken and courteous. They will sometimes rise when a woman enters the room or stand on public transportation until women are seated, which is a sign of respect. Do not be surprised to get a 'judging look' by people in Belgium if you don't adhere to social norms; they are especially keen on good manners in public places.

Belgian men are hard-working but also know how to enjoy a good work-life balance and dedicate time to their family. Family plays an important role in Belgium, with some Belgian men living with parents into their 20s or 30s, as well as visiting parents or grandparents weekly or even talking daily.

If you are invited to a group event or dinner party, it is common for Belgian men to shake the hand of the host, as well as everyone else in the room, or kiss the cheeks of women who are close acquaintances.

Marrying a Belgian

It's not uncommon for married couples to work side-by-side in either business or farming. Instead of divorcing, couples who are in business together may remain legally married in order to protect their assets, while maintaining separate households with new partners.

Foreigners marrying Belgians may have to go through extra paperwork procedures to get a marriage approval. Read about getting married in Belgium.

Men and women usually marry in their teens and 20s, and begin their families early. This is why it is possible to find single men and women in their 30s or 40s, as they married young and are now divorced. Most families have between two and four children.

It is of course possible to live happily-ever-after with a Belgian; as the Belgians value good manners, if yours are not up to Belgian standards, try changing them to win their hearts or resolve issues.



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Updated 2017 / Photo credits (CC-Licence): Wikipedia (Belgian man), SuperCarFreak (Swiss woman).


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15 Comments To This Article

  • Mehdreamer posted:

    on 2nd August 2016, 17:17:47 - Reply

    You won't find many mixed couples in Belgium. Maybe few White belgian men/ Foreign female but the opposite is quite rare.

    Belgiuan girls seem to prefer to stick to their own.
  • 50 posted:

    on 13th May 2016, 13:08:23 - Reply

    What ever happened to judging people on an individual basis vs. their nationality? Not every Belgian is the same. Moreover, people confuse "culture" with "lifestyle." Big difference. Just because someone doesn't accept YOUR lifestyle doesn't mean their don't accept your culture. Examples of Belgian culture are Manneke Pis, beer, chocolates, soccer, etc. What you feel comfortable discussing with another or the way you treat another is a PERSONAL choice.

  • Sigrid posted:

    on 24th March 2016, 13:43:59 - Reply

    Dear Cat, I am sorry to hear about all the problems you seemed to have in your relationship with a Belgian. I am also sorry that you are using those experiences to paint a portret of all Belgians that is quite negative, definitely unkind and fortunately all but accurate. I'm not doubting your personal experiences with this one person but I will passionately deny that this description characterizes Belgians.
    Just picture this for one moment: think of how this Belgian person would describe you. Do you think it would be an accurate description of someone from your country? Would you think that description is at least somewhat vindictive? Would you like it?
    If you wouldn't like it, you would know how I feel right now, being Belgian and being depicted in a totally unfair way because of your personal feud with a Belgian.
    And if I may add: isn't it striking how you did go for a relationship with a Belgian anyway? It seems to me he wasn't so bad at some point... :-) What also strikes me is that you blame Belgians for speaking their own language in their own country... You clearly expected everyone to adapt to you and speak (I assume) English. As they would need to do in your country!!! Belgian people are well known for speaking several languages (on average 3: Dutch, French and English) so communicating with them can't be all that hard. I personally speak at least 3 different languages every day in an effort to accommodate all the foreigners in our country, who quite often have not mastered even one foreign language...
    I am a Belgian woman in a relationship with a Greek man for 13 years now and I have not heard any complaints about not being accepted, not receiving unconditional love or having to deal with our Belgian 'inferiority complex', as you describe it! I believe you ought to come back to Belgian for a corrective perspective on this country and it's people!
    I wish you all the happiness in the world, clearly with someone that is not Belgian ;-)
  • cat posted:

    on 12th November 2015, 20:32:33 - Reply

    Please note that what the person said previously- won't find unconditional love as we don't let go of what we have already established and even if love doesn't work out you can still have a healthy relationship and also note the inferior complex of the Belgians in general- put this all together with a catholic patriarchal conditioning and you are going to have issues if you are an outsider getting involved with a divorced Belgian. For one, you will never be loved in the way you should be as the first partner who has the children is always going to take prevalence as they can't let go of what has already been established... This means that you will never receive the unconditional or true love you seek in the divorced Belgian partner because the other or previous partner is always going to be in the pic as well as their kids and families- do not date or get involved with a divorced Belgian unless you can accept all these and accept being secondary. The couple though separated or divorced will still hold on esp when residing in another culture as they have an inferiority complex that will always bond them together as Belgian culture. If you are not Belgian, you will not be accepted unless you conform to Belgian ways as the culture is very hierarchical- they won't change or be sensitive to you or your needs if you are an outsider. Often down-to-earth can be dysfunctional behaviour to some as their are no boundaries in this culture. I also noted that women can be looked-up to for having affairs or flings in their marriages as it appears to be socially acceptable. Men can even stay with their wives or partners not knowing who the child is of the woman- their's or someone else's.

  • What18 posted:

    on 8th November 2015, 18:38:00 - Reply

    It is weird to read it! Really is... But in general I think all cultures have become a lot more similar, so I don't see difficulties in dating foreigners except for the minor hurdle of learning either language. Some people seem to have had bad experiences with one Belgian inhabitant and they tend to put every Belgian in the same boat. That's a bit painful to read. I can say for a fact that Belgians have a lot of pride, but that mostly comes because of a low self-esteem, we have constant need for approval, approval of other countries, other people. Since we are small we want to be recognized and that's why a lot of Belgian people are hardworking and don't want to see that effort go to waste, that's also why in a Belgian relationship work will always be an important part of it, but we aren't unable to seperate love and work from each other. It's true that you can't say "Belgian" like I did, since Wallonia and Flemish part are day and night. But the one thing we all have in common is that we are a friendly bunch. We are quite down to earth people and because of that we are sometimes stiff or distant, we are definitily not the type of people to throw everything away to chase after love and all the uncertainties it brings with it. But that also includes that we are responsible and trustworthy, someone you can build on. Faithfulness to one another is really important, that's why divorces in Belgium will always linger on with both parties and I don't see any problems with that, we aren't the people to hold grudges against each other if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, plain simple. But that's no reason for us to be conceited. You should be able to seperate "what was" from "what is" or "what needs to be done". Not being lovers anymore, doesn't mean you can't have a healthy relationship anymore, even if it's only practical. If you've read all this, you've probably come to the conclusion that a person looking for unconditional love won't have much chance finding it here, since most of us will have a hard time letting go what they already have established.
    I'm almost done and to end this rant I just want to say that there aren't any rules you should follow when it comes to love, just find it out for yourself step by step. The article is exaggerated and you shouldn't lump a whole country in one box. You'll find the same kind of people in every country. I'm certain there will be at least one Belgian person out there that connects in a way no other could. Good luck finding that person and always welcome to come visit Belgium ;)

  • cat posted:

    on 13th September 2015, 23:22:19 - Reply

    I dated a Belgian for a year and he was the most difficult man I had ever been with. Some things resonate in this article but both him and his ex wife did not have good boundaries after their divorce nor during it. Belgian culture has not dealt that much with divorce overall as it is still new there but if you want his or her ex to remain in the pic for a very long time then marry a divorced Belgium. And the kids and ex will always take priority as image is very important to Belgian families even when divorced. I find the culture way too traditional and women's positions very defined and that men have rights that women don't have as I experienced it. I would never date a Belgian again or get involved with one who was divorced with kids as forever in a day that ex Belgian wife is going to remain in the pic and take prevalence over you and so will the kids and his family will also put her first. Exteriorly the culture is patriarchal but interiorly matriarchaI. I found Belgian culture more similar to Italian culture structurally than French culture as I have many friends from France who are not like Belgians at all but for some reasons Belgians like to act like they are French and into French culture. I also found Belgians to be too proud and want to impose their culture onto everyone else. Flemish is also not a pretty sounding language to be frank. They tend to speak in Flemish around you without a care that you cannot understand them- I think they think that is your fault for not being a Belgian. I found this to be rude and disrespectful. My overall experience with Belgian culture being an American was negative and I have no desire to be involved or around Belgian people ever again.

  • Hichal posted:

    on 26th May 2015, 23:40:04 - Reply

    I remember that I was thought not to put my hands in my lap while having dinner. And to keep our elbows next to you (and not on the table).

    Putting your hands in your lap feels like bad etiquette to me, but in real life everybody does it all the time though.
  • Waitwhat posted:

    on 25th March 2015, 16:24:49 - Reply

    As a born and raised Belgian (Flemish) I find this article complete bull.
    Every country likes manners, but this is excessive, this article looks like it was written a century ago. This is ridiculous.
    I yawn in public when I feel the need to yawn and I almost always have my hands in my pockets.
    If you were to write an article about dating a Belgian, at least make it accurate.

  • Sofie posted:

    on 16th December 2014, 17:13:31 - Reply


    Wonderfully bizarre article!

    Some commentary on this article:

    Nobody has ever given up his or her place for me on the bus. Oh wait. Once! Not bad.

    Why would you go on a date and not discuss personal matters? We certainly won't discuss how much we earn!

    > 'Do not be surprised to get a "judging look" by people in Belgium' .
    Living in Liege the judging look is to judge assess and then gossip accordingly. Usually everybody considers everybody else to have ulterior motives.

    For Wallonia: Men are expected to be macho and sexist, in my opinion. . And homephobic insults towards others usually signs of hegemonic masculinity. Trans and homo are usually conflated and demonized due to lack of education and intolerace. Any homosexual friends I had left, and I know lots who did not get jobs because they were deemed too feminine. Men seem to have an idea that women and femininity are inferior, and feminine men are unwanted. Some women seem to think the same!

    I really noticed all of this when I came back recently after living in Netherlands for 10 years. If this is culture shock I hope it'll pass.

    Kind regards, Sofie.

  • ibc24 posted:

    on 11th July 2012, 14:24:33 - Reply

    This article in itself it's quite good. Having said that, good manners and being polite goes beyond borders and culture, I must say, I do appreciate a man opening the door of a car, or any place we go together, for which this has been lost in our culture somehow. So going back to your article, I have lived in Wallonia, Brussels and now in Flanders and I do say they are vast differences in all, I find people in Brussels more open to foreigners for the fact that is a multicultural city, Wallonia is also pleasant as long as you have the ability of speaking french and ones the "ice" is broken you may find very pleasant people, and in Flanders, people are also reserved in the beginning and once you have established a good rapport, you can and may become really good friends, but romantic relashionships are sure difficult, I met my husband in America, He was a man who had seen the world, in travel and professionally, so we clicked immediately and we were together until he passed away, I would say he was my "soul mate" and although we had many times "differences of opinion", we always found our "common ground". So to summarize, I would say that cultural differences can be challenging, but not impossible to start a spark in your heart. If you are looking you may find lasting romance in Belgium.
  • Manfred posted:

    on 10th May 2012, 21:43:56 - Reply

    The biggest mistake in this and most other articles lies in the use of the word "Belgian".
    There is no such thing as a Belgian when it comes to cultural and interpersonal aspects.
    Basically, you have the north and the south. Both of which have their own customs and culture.
    The northern part, Flanders, is much more related to The Netherlands, Germany, The U.K. in terms of history, culture and habits.
    The southern part, Wallonia, tends to be more "southern" and shows more relation to countries as France, Italy and Spain.
    An example is the greeting between men. In Wallonia it is not uncommon for men to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, as it is in other southern european countries.
    In Flanders this will always be seen as "gay" (in the sense of homosexual).
    A Belgian only exists as a nationality, a stamp on a passport, not as a cultural entity.
    As far as customs go when you're invited: don't worry to much about it. Firstly, the world has become a village and especially the "western" world has mostly the same values and customs, no matter where you go.
    Secondly, as a foreigner you will be cut some slack in terms of manners and customs.
  • Fekhar posted:

    on 9th February 2012, 18:05:57 - Reply

    I find strange, the "dont put your hands in your lap", doest it really matter all that ?? any belgians to answer this plz
  • Married2a FlemishGuy posted:

    on 18th January 2012, 19:31:10 - Reply

    I agree with Gauthier! Great fun to read the article, but please also take into account the differences of culture between linguistic groups as well!

    Also, I don't think anyone has ever given up their seat for me on the bus in Brussels?? Am I surrounded by non-Belgians?
  • Gautier posted:

    on 27th November 2011, 21:27:19 - Reply

    Is that an article written in the sixties? Things have changed a bit since then ;-)
    Quite fun to read, being a Belgian...
  • Haf Linger posted:

    on 17th November 2011, 20:20:52 - Reply

    I could not have said it any better!