Independence Day in Belgium in 2024

  How long until Independence Day?
Independence Day
  Dates of Independence Day in Belgium
2025 Belgium Mon, Jul 21 Public Holiday
2024 Belgium Sun, Jul 21 Public Holiday
2023 Belgium Fri, Jul 21 Public Holiday
2022 Belgium Thu, Jul 21 Public Holiday
2021 Belgium Wed, Jul 21 Public Holiday

Independence Day celebrates the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands in 1831

  Local name
Nationale feestdag van België

When is Belgian Independence Day?

The National Day of Belgium is celebrated annually on July 21st.

Independence Day celebrates the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands in 1831, as well as the formal establishment of the Kingdom.

If Independence Day falls on a weekend, no official public holiday is observed in lieu, but many employees, particularly in the public sector, will be given an extra day of vacation instead to use at a later date. Many employees are encouraged to use these extra days between Christmas and New Year.

History of Belgian Independence Day

Belgium had been part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1815, but the majority of the population were Roman Catholic and increasingly felt the rule of King William I favoured the Northern Protestants. The discontentment was heightened by high levels of unemployment in the South.

In August 1830, riots led to a wider uprising and calls for Belgium to secede from the Netherlands. A London Conference of major European powers then recognized Belgian independence.

After Belgium asserted its independence from the Netherlands on October 4th 1830, the Belgian National Congress considered several candidates to become king.

After deliberation, they asked Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg to become king of the newly formed country. Leopold accepted and was proclaimed "King of the Belgians" on June 26th 1831.

Leopold I then sailed from Dover to Calais, in France, after which he was taken to the Belgian border village of De Panne on July 17th 1831.

He travelled through the country, visiting, among others, Bruges and Ghent, and on July 21st 1831, he took the constitutional oath as the first king of the Belgians on the Place Royale in Brussels.

This day became the Belgian National Day.

How is Belgian Independence Day Celebrated?

During the national day, the Parliament chambers, the central bank and other institutions all open to the public, while parks and venues across town hold concerts and other activities. A large military parade takes place in Brussels attracting over 100,000 spectators.

Every year, several ceremonies are held to commemorate the day, starting with the Belgian royal family, as well as the country’s political institutions, ambassadors and representatives of various European institutions, attending the Te Deum hymn in several religious venues across the country.

Belgians sing "La Brabançonne," the national anthem, and observe their independence with festivities, especially in the capital city of Brussels.

And it wouldn’t be a proper Belgian celebration without some crispy and delicious frites, served with a variety of sauces and condiments. Many frites stands (French: friterie or Flemish: frietkot) can be found throughout the country on National Day. In fact, there’s even a museum in Bruges, Belgium called the Frietmuseum dedicated entirely to celebrating frites! 

As French, Dutch, and German are the three official languages of Belgium - Joyeuse fête nationale, Gelukkige Nationale feestdag, and Alles Gute zum Nationalfeiertag, Belgium!

Celebrate Belgian Independence Day with your Hue lights!

The Flag of Belgium

The Belgian flag was first flown in 1830 at the start of the Belgian Revolution, though the stripes were horizontal. The colours of red, yellow and black come from the red lion of Hainaut, Limburg and Luxembourg, the yellow lion of Brabant, and the black lion of Flanders and Namur. The stripes changed from horizontal to vertical in January 1831 in homage to the French Tricolore.

Did you know?

Three facts about Independence Day

The name 'Belgium' dates back to the Romans. They called the province in the north of Gaul, 'Gallia Belgica' after its previous inhabitants, the Belgae, who were a mixture of Celtic and German tribes.

Audrey Hepburn was Belgian.

The longest tram line is in Belgium. This 42-mile-long tram operates from the French border to the Dutch border.

More facts about Independence Day

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