Belgians are not renowned for being overly passionate or touchy-feely and tend to be more formal and reserved. They will usually greet strangers with a handshake and acquaintances with a kiss on the cheek. They will also kiss the cheeks of women who are close acquaintances.
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Remember, this is a culture that highly values honesty and good manners. Therefore, deliberately leading someone on or sending mixed signals is not seen as acceptable behavior.
If they are interested in a relationship, they will let you know. Because Belgians are known for being reserved and conservative, they may come across as being distant or disinterested, to begin with. With access to an array of top Belgian foods and gourmet restaurants, local cuisine is a great talking point, however.
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And chances are they will know a lot about food. Women in Belgium are typically independent and happy to pay their way, therefore splitting the check is not a taboo. In fact, in this progressive nation, women are generally socially and economically empowered; enjoying good wage equality and employment conditions. As a result, men and women are seen as equals. And by no means give her chrysanthemums, as they symbolize death in Belgium! Read more about the meaning of certain flowers around the world. There are no set rules in Belgium regarding when to become exclusive or invite your partner to meet your family, and so on.
In this respect, they can be incredibly romantic.
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Generally speaking, a relationship with a Belgian needs to be fairly settled before they invite you to meet their parents. After all, family is extremely important in Belgium, and not just anyone is invited to enter the circle of trust. When you do meet their parents, however, it is likely to be an informal and cozy affair because hospitality is extremely important in this culture. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that it is customary to kiss people three times on the cheeks when you greet them hello and goodbye.
In fact, in , the average age at first marriage was It appears, therefore, that people generally like to take their time to find the right partner to settle down with. This might explain why the marriage rate in Belgium remains fairly stable; staying within the lines of 37 to 45 thousand between and Since same-sex marriage was legalized in , the number of marriages between same-sex couples has also remained consistent; accounting for 2. It is worth noting that expats marrying Belgians may have to go through extra paperwork procedures to get a marriage approval in Belgium. Family plays an important role in Belgium; with some people living with their parents into their 20s or 30s.
Therefore, as the partner of a Belgian man or woman, you can expect to have many of your Sundays dedicated to long three-course lunches or dinners with your in-laws. You are also likely to visit grandparents weekly or even talk daily.
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While Belgian men and women are hard-working, they also know how to enjoy a good work-life balance and dedicate time to their families. In , the average number of children per woman was 1. Like with marriage, Belgian women are also choosing to have children slightly later in life. According to a study by the European statistics agency Eurostat , in , mothers in Belgium gave birth to their first child at an average age of So again, it seems that women are not in a rush to settle down and start a family.
Despite Belgian women being socially and economically empowered, traditional family values still remain strongly intact in Belgium. The country has a strong tradition of women fulfilling a predominantly domestic role, rather than a professional one. That said, the occupational gender gap has been slowly decreasing in recent years; primarily due to an increase in part-time jobs.
For instance, in , It is also not uncommon for married couples to work side-by-side.
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