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International organisations

Brussels is one of the world's largest centres for international organisations, NGOs, industry associations, interest groups and diplomatic missions.

There are many reasons for Brussels’ popularity among international organisations. As the capital of Europe, Brussels is seen as a neutral and international environment. Hence locating a secretariat in Brussels avoids any national or linguistic bias. Moreover, Brussels’ location at the heart of Western Europe and its favourable transportation links make it easy to reach international institutions in major cities such as London, Paris, Strasbourg and Geneva.

As home to the key political and decision-making institutions of the EU, Brussels is the logical location for lobbying activities, and a unique place from which to monitor EU policies and political and economic developments. Industry associations and other lobby groups can also assist with the implementation of policies and legislation that have a direct or indirect effect on their stakeholders. The high level of education and presence of top universities, international schools, business schools and advanced technical programmes also make Brussels an important base for international organisations.

Services essential to international organisations are also readily available in Brussels, with easy access to professional services such as print and communication facilities, and a pool of highly qualified, multi-lingual staff for translation and interpretation. With around 225 major international conferences and meetings taking place in Brussels each year, a full range of services has evolved to meet the needs of this industry.

Furthermore, Brussels is home to Union of International Associations and the Federation of European and International Associations which provide support to international organisations.

Last but not least, Belgium is one of the few places in the world to accord associations special legal recognition and registration status in terms of legal entity.

Brussels leads the way for the international organisations Source: UIA 2008 report