One of Belgium’s three autonomous regions, Flanders has the city of Brussels as its capital: home to the European Commission, the EU Council, European Parliament, NATO, and other public and private international decision-making centers.
Furthermore, Flanders has five easily accessible provinces, each with its own provincial capital. From west to east:
- West Flanders (Bruges)
- East Flanders (Ghent)
- Flemish Brabant (Leuven)
- Antwerp (Antwerp)
- Limburg (Hasselt)
Flanders is centrally located within a megalopolis stretching from Greater London to the Netherlands, Belgium and parts of Germany and France. As a result, the region gives your business smooth access to one of the world’s highest concentrations of people, money and industries.
In Flanders, global enterprises play important economic roles, in addition to their impact on the region’s employment and the added value generated by their economies of scale. Despite its small area of 13,522 km², Flanders boasts over 650 European distribution centers (EDCs) – the highest density of EDCs in Europe.
In addition to ranking consistently among the world’s most globalized economies, Flanders is situated at the crossroads of three major European cultures: Germanic, Roman and Anglo-Saxon. People in the region are also fluent speakers of Belgium’s three official languages – Dutch, French, German – as well as English.
Consequently, Flanders offers access to a diverse society and test market for your products and concepts. The region’s comprehensive distribution network also makes it easier for your company to get innovations to consumers more rapidly.
It’s an understatement that Brexit has transformed the way companies do business in Europe. Trade barriers and changing regulations have an impact on your competitiveness. Flanders’ central location, proximity to EU institutions, varied funding opportunities and other assets make it a great place for safeguarding your European business, while granting smooth access to the European single market.
Flanders not only sits in the epicenter of Europe’s purchasing power, it’s also the economic driving force behind one of the most globalized economies in the world.
Only adding to the region’s globalized fabric, foreign companies contribute much of their expertise and productivity to Flanders’ economy – leading to even faster internationalization and more economic integration.
Thomas Friedman once said that Belgium, and Flanders as region, is a “super trading nation” – and it’s not an exaggeration. When it comes to foreign direct investment (FDI), Flanders overperforms at both European and global levels.
It’s a fact that the vast majority of all Belgian exports come out of Flanders and are shipped to markets around the world. Some of the region’s main export sectors are:
- chemicals and pharmaceuticals
- transport equipment
- machines, devices and electronics
- food and beverages
- pearls, gems and diamonds
- optics and precision equipment
It’s no secret that Flanders’ workforce is consistently ranked among the world’s most productive and talented. This significantly levels out employment costs in the region.