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Country report: Belgium

Food logistics in the land of culinary diversity

It will not come as a surprise to many people that Belgium is famous for chocolates, waffles, and chips. What does come as a surprise is that Europe's second-largest port is in Belgium, and that Belgium has one of the best road networks in Europe, from which Nagel Belgium, the Belgian subsidiary of the Nagel-Group, also profits.

Belgium is bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and the North Sea. Belgium is a constitutional monarchy under King Philippe. However, his powers are limited by the Belgian constitution. The current Prime Minister of the "Kingdom of Belgium" is Charles Michel.

With a population of around 11.3 million inhabitants living on an area of 30,000 square kilometres, this kingdom is one of the smaller countries in Europe. Despite its small size, Belgium is one of the six founding members of the European Union which was established in 1957. Belgium is also a member of Benelux (the economic union between Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg).

Logistics — one of the best road networks in Europe

Belgium has a road network of about 154,000km. The Belgian road network with its seven international motorways is one of the best in Europe. The rail network spans more than 3,500 kilometres. Toll was introduced in Belgium in April 2016 for trucks weighing more than 3.5 tonnes. This toll applies to all motorways and public roads within easy reach of major cities.

The amount is calculated using an electronic on-board unit and depends on the region, type of road, emissions, and the weight of the vehicle. In Flanders and Brussels regions, toll is deemed as tax; whereas in Wallonia, the toll is collected as a fee, hence it is subject to 21% VAT. The Belgian authorities want to use the toll to continually invest in the road infrastructure thus improving mobility in Belgium.

Brussels — tradition meets modernity

Brussels, a city with two faces, is the capital of Belgium. On the one hand, you have the old town with its narrow winding cobbled streets, quaint pubs offering traditional food, and the spectacular Town Hall Square. On the other hand, the modern Brussels, where the tourists are catapulted in a completely different world thanks to the buildings of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission, skyscrapers covered in glass, and noisy traffic that rarely seems to ebb.

The region of Brussels is located between the Dutch-speaking Flanders to the north and the French-speaking Wallonia in the south. Belgium consists of ten provinces. Three languages, Dutch, French, and German, are spoken in multicultural Brussels, but French is still the preferred language. German is widely spoken in the east of the country.

Something for every taste: chocolates, waffles, chips or beer

Belgium is especially famous for its wide and varied range of chocolates. Surprisingly, Belgium does not top the list of per capita consumption of chocolate in Europe. It has an average per capita consumption of 4.3kg per year. According to CHOCOSUISSE & CAOBISCO Statistical Bulletin that honour goes to Germany and Switzerland, who take first and second places with an average per capita consumption of more than 11kg.

The Belgian waffle is known beyond its borders. The Liège waffle identifiable by its round, uneven edges is different from the rectangular shaped Brussels waffle. As recommended by the Belgian tourist office in Wallonia-Brussels, those who have had enough of sweets can try the Belgian "frites" (chips) or choose from more than 500 different beers, available in all possible varieties and colours.

Headerimage: © fotolia - Miro Novak

Nagel Belgium, the Belgian subsidiary of the Nagel-Group

Nagel Belgium was founded in 2005 and has one branch in Nazareth, about 15 kilometres from Ghent. The branch specialises in the transport of chocolate products and confectionery as these local specialties are internationally known and appreciated.

From its base in Nazareth, Nagel Belgium is responsible for the western part of the country. Nagel's German branch in Eschweiler near Aachen is responsible for transports to the eastern part of Belgium. Nagel Belgium coordinates daily departures to almost every country in Europe.

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