Imagine waking up one fine morning and heading out to a cafe down the street, you sit down and order a plate of the most scrumptious Belgian waffles to go with your coffee. As you walk down the street you might chance upon a jewelry shop and come across a shiny diamond ring.
Whilst wandering the streets, you get to meet the friendliest people, and then the aroma of fried delicacies pulls you to a corner where you find the best fries you have ever had, you may even grab a beer to pair them with and pass a sign for yet another amazing music festival.
And so, you might glimpse a small part of the experience Belgium has to offer. Our Belgium SWOT analysis explores more strengths and opportunities for the European country, along with some threats it is facing. Before proceeding, make sure to also check out our PESTLE analysis of Belgium.
Belgium’s central location within Europe allows for it to have an amalgam of cultures, languages, and traditions however, the ones that stand out are French and Dutch. While English serves as the official language and a few people speak german.
Belgium’s strategic position also makes for interesting history, for instance, it served as a battlefield for the Battle of Waterloo and the two world wars.
Belgium’s location is one of the reasons for its strong economic condition. Its central location within Europe makes it possible for many international corporations to set up shop there, and the excellent transport system makes investments even more lucrative.
In fact, the headquarters for both the European Union (EU) and NATO are set up in Belgium’s capital Brussels.
Another advantage that Belgium has, due to its location, is that it can reach around sixty percent of the European consumers which provides nearly endless business opportunities. In addition to that, most of Belgium’s GDP is associated with its service sector.
While 2020 has not served anyone well, Belgium is expected to fight the good fight (and remain standing!) due to the considerable amount of domestic demand for goods and services. The GDP is expected to decrease by a whopping 9.3 percent.
Belgium’s culturally and ethnically diverse population is a gift that keeps on giving! For instance, due to the fact that there are people who speak multiple languages, representing most of Europe’s population, Belgium has one of the most culturally diverse workforces.
Furthermore, Belgium’s excellent education system develops technically trained individuals, which allows for the country to have a well-equipped workforce.
We all know that Belgium is known for its chocolates, and we all love to wander through the airport to kill time before our flights, but did you know that Belgium’s Zaventem airport sells the most chocolate in the world!
Looking to unwind? We’ve got you covered! You can wander through the Grand Place, or take a stroll along the canals while indulging in the architectural wonder of the Belfry.
History buffs can even visit the battlefield preserved after the world war or the Gravensteen fort that may just be an architectural wonder from the medieval era. Or maybe you’d like to visit the house (turned museum) of one of the most popular twentieth-century architects/designers.
If you are hoping for something a bit more upbeat, Belgium’s famous music festivals are just the thing for you. From jazz, to rock music, you can have your pick of pretty much any kind of music.
You also get to experience unique, ancient, cultural festivals, the likes of which you may have never seen before.
While you’re at it, do try out Belgium’s famous waffles and maybe have a serving (or ten) of their heavenly fries, because one can never have enough of that greasy goodness.
Belgium’s aging population, which requires extensive investment for the improvement of healthcare facilities and the maintenance of pension funds, is not doing any favors by piling onto the large mound of existing debt.
As the cost of hiring and keeping employees rises and the productivity of those employees remains more or less the same, Belgium stands to lose its competitive position within Europe.
Belgium’s multicultural population provides for a unique opportunity, due to the fact that the ethnicity, language, etc. of the citizens represents the majority of Europe’s population. This is why, for firms that want to launch their products across Europe, it can serve as a market to test the response to their products.
The fact that Belgium is one of the few countries where small-medium enterprises (SMEs) perform better than larger organizations, may prove to be a blessing for the country because most of the organizations owned locally can be classified as SMEs.
Belgium’s economy allows for international firms to set up shop and compete with relatively fewer hurdles. When these companies operate within the country they provide value in the form of employment, taxes, etc. and hence elevate the economic condition.
In fact, Belgium holds the forty-sixth position amongst one hundred and ninety countries, in terms of how easy it is to do business there.
Who knew that being culturally diverse could be such a blessing? But Belgium is blessed indeed! The aforementioned diversity suggests that the people (and consequently the country) can easily change according to the situation at hand.
This means that Belgium can gain from investing in newer technologies and become the leader instead of the follower.
Unfortunately, the threat of terrorism is very real for the people of Belgium, the effects, however, are not limited to just the population but to the economy as a whole. Terrorism may make Belgium a less desirable travel destination for tourists and a riskier investment for investors which may negatively affect the economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spared no one and this case is especially true for Belgium which is not equipped to handle the strain brought about by the pandemic, especially with regard to medical resources.
In addition to that tourism has decreased significantly, especially due to the fear of contracting the disease in a country that is not fully equipped to provide proper healthcare.
Belgium SWOT Analysis: Bottom Line
Belgium stands to gain a lot from its strategic location within Europe and its multicultural and multilingual population, especially with regard to its economy.
The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and terrorism, however, is very real and may have a dire effect on Belgium’s tourism potential as well as its economic viability (from the perspective of investors). These threats need to be realized and handled effectively (and efficiently) if the country hopes to rise above its current predicament and perform well in the future.