Belgium is a founding member of the European Union and one of the first-wave countries to adopt the euro on 1 January 1999.
Last update: 4 may 2009
Surface area: 30 530 km2
Population: 10 741 048 (Eurostat 2009)
Joined the European Union: founding member (25 March 1957)
Currency: euro since 1 January 1999 (formerly Belgian franc, BEF)
Status: Euro-area member since 1 January 1999
Fixed conversion rate: €1 = 40.3399 BEF
Adoption of the euro: The euro banknotes and coins were introduced in Belgium on 1 January 2002, after a transitional period of three years when the euro was the official currency but only existed as 'book money'. The dual circulation period – when both the Belgian franc and the euro had legal tender status – ended on 28 February 2002.
Exchange of former national currency: The Banque nationale de Belgique – Nationale Bank van België (National Central Bank of Belgium) exchanged national coins until 31 December 2004 and will continue to exchange national banknotes for an unlimited period.