Belgium is an old country that has a very long history. Because of that, the history of its diplomatic service go back a long way as well. But the modern history of the Belgian diplomatic service could trace its beginning in 1830 when a Belgian Diplomatic Committee was setup. After a year it was succeeded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry was responsible for representing the interests of Belgium throughout Europe and the rest of the world during that tumultuous period. It was the office primarily responsible for carrying out the foreign policy of the country.
During that time most members of the Belgian diplomatic service have aristocratic backgrounds or came from rich families. The role of the ministry was vastly changed however when the Industrial revolution began. The country was one of the first countries in Europe to undergo a significant change in this area and its foreign relations had to undergo a significant change as well.
During the two world wars the ministry was moved to other countries, since Belgium itself was overrun by the Germans. In World War One it was moved to France and in World War Two it was moved over to Britain.
The Consular Service Today
Today Belgium is represented internationally by more than 100 consulates-general and embassies. These embassies are placed in the capitals of the nations where they are supposed to represent Belgium. Sometimes they would have a jurisdiction over a country that does not have an embassy on its own.
Tasks and Services of the Consular Service
The task of the embassies and the consular offices in other countries is to represent Belgium there, but it also helps Belgian citizens who might be living or traveling in the said country. Any Belgian citizen traveling abroad, who is in need of assistance should call the consular office that has jurisdiction over the area that he is traveling before getting in before contacting authorities back in Belgium.
They have additional tasks and services as well, such as registration of Belgian nationals, notary services, passport applications and processing. They can also help in processing of citizenship. Another important task provided by these offices is the processing of visas for traveling in Belgium. That is one of the more important service provided by the consular offices.
The Belgian consular service has a rich and illustrious history and it has been at the forefront of world events. They have been at it for almost two centuries now.