Illustration of a hedge sparrow Prunella modularis (Linnaeus, 1758)from Coloured illustrations of British birds, and their eggs. London: G.W. Nickisson,1842-1850. Via the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Travel, accommodation and venues

Travel requirements for entering Belgium

GB29 participants are responsible for arranging their own travel and to ensure that they have the documentation required for entering Belgium (Schengen area).

Schengen Visa and Passport requirements

If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:

  • valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting,
  • which was issued within the previous 10 years, and possibly a visa. You should apply for a visa from the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting (Belgium). If your visa is from a Schengen area country, it automatically allows you to travel to the other Schengen countries as well. If you have a valid residence permit from one of the Schengen countries, it is equivalent to a visa. You may need a national visa to visit non-Schengen countries.

Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter, proof of lodging, return or round-trip ticket. For the precise requirements, please contact the local consular services of the EU country in question.

There are a number of countries whose nationals do not need a visa to visit the EU for three months or less. The list of countries whose nationals require visas to travel to Belgium differs slightly from other EU countries.

You can find information on entering Belgium on website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Belgium:

If a visa is required, make sure to apply well in advance of the meeting. Also, if you require an official letter of invitation for visa puposes, please contact the Secretariat at

See also information on visa requirements and travel documents from the Belgium Immigration Office:

  • Information on visa requirements here
  • List of countries which requires a visa here


GB29 participants are advised to ensure appropriate travel insurance for travel to Belgium.


All meeting attendees are requested to check the travellers Covid information page for the latest information.

Important: You are not allowed to travel when in quarantine or isolation. If you are in quarantine or isolation abroad, you must complete the quarantine or isolation before entering Belgium. Only in exceptional cases and in consultation with the health authorities can this rule be deviated from.

Arriving in Bruxelles

Right in the heart of Europe, Brussels has superb air, road and rail connections.

More than 60 million Europeans live within 300 km of Brussels, less than two hours by high-speed train. For those who fly in, it takes only 20 minutes from the airport to the city centre. And when you have arrived, it’s easy to move around the compact city, by public transport or on foot. More info!

Brussels by train

Brussels South railway station is the major hub for international trains (Thalys, Eurostar, TGV Brussels-France, ICE, InterCity) and can be a comfortable and durable transport solution for people coming from near European countries.

Brussels by plane

Brussels Airport (BRU)

Brussels Airport is the main international plane transit point of Belgium. It is located North of Brussels.

Bus services:
From the airport the city centre can be reached by bus. It is suggested to take bus 12 from STIB and then off of at the Trône station.

Train services:
From the airport the city centre can also be reached by train.

There is a direct train that runs from Brussels Airport – Zaventem station to the city centre of Brussels (station Brussels-Central) every 10 minutes practically 24/7. Tickets cost just 12.70€ (diabolo tax included) one-way and the journey takes 17 minutes. Buy your ticket at the Brussels Airport train station.

Official taxi stands are located in front of the arrival hall. A taxi fromm the airport to the centre of Brussels costs around €45.

Licensed taxis can be identified by the yellow-blue licence marks. Please do not use taxis that do not have a license.

More information on taxi services is available here.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL)

Brussels-South Charleroi Airport, the second busiest airport in Belgium is located in Gosselies, South of Brussels). Going to Brussels City centre by public transport is a burden. We suggest to take the Flibco bus to Brussels Midi, which leaves every 20 minutes.

Schiphol, the Netherlands (AMS)

From Schiphol Airport it is fairly easy to take a train to Brussels. Fast trains between Schiphol and Brussels need upfront reservation.

Charles de Gaulle Airport, France (CDG)

From Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, it is fairly easy to take a train to Brussels. Fast trains between CDG and Brussels need upfront reservations.

Getting around in Brussels

Brussels is very simple to navigate and easily accessible. If you want to travel around the capital, choose soft mobility and public transport over the car. Traffic in the city is heavy, so you can often get around more quickly by public transport, bicycle or even electric scooter. More info!

Whether your journey takes you to Trône or to the Brussels South train station, public transportation will allow you to easily reach the European district where the conference and the suggested hotels are located (metro 2 and 6, bus 71).

Different formulas for Brussels public transports can be found here.


The Governing Board meeting attendees are asked to organize their own accommodation.

The local organisers recommend booking a room in one of the hotels mentioned below. There is an accommodation quota in some of the hotels listed below. Please make your reservation in advance directly at the conference hotels by using the specific reservation codes.

We have listed below some nearby hotels which will have available rooms for GB29 attendees, and we suggest early booking. The possibilities of accommodation near the GB29 venues are not limited to these hotels and we suggest having a look at or AirBnB.

Please note that Brussels Tourism Tax will be asked per room per night (€3.00 - €4.24).

Radisson Collection Hotel, Grand Place Brussels
Rue du Fosse Aux Loups 47
1000 Brussels

Rooms: 189-219 €/night
Reservation website here
Reservation code: GBIF22
Block booking of 30 rooms
Info: 5 star hotel, 400 m from meeting venue, 5 minutes walk

NH Grand Place Arenberg
Rue d’Assaut 15
1000 Brussels

Rooms: 115-165 €/night
Reservation website: here
Block booking of 25 rooms
Info: 4 star hotel, 400 m from meeting venue, 5 minutes walk

NH Collection Brussels Center
Bd Adolphe Max 7
1000 Brussels

Rooms: 140-195 €/night
Reservation website: here
Block booking of 25 rooms
Info: 4 star hotel, 650 m from meeting venue, 8 minutes walk

Easy Hotel
Rue d’Argent 1
1000 Brussels

Rooms: 70 €/night
Reservation: please contact the reservation manager Mr. Aart van der Sluis by email, mentioning the block booking name ‘Belgian Biodiversity Platform’
Block booking of 10 rooms
Info: 2 star hotel, 450 m from the meeting venue, 5 minutes walk

Check the map (here) for hotel locations.


2 October:

  • Radisson Collection Hotel, Grand Place Brussels - GBIF committee meetings (Budget committee, Science committees, Nodes Steering Group and first meeting of the Executive Committee)
  • Comics Art Museum - Icebreaker

3 October:

  • Comics Art Museum - Governing Board meeting Day 1

4 October:

  • Comics Art Museum - Governing Board meeting Day 2
  • Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), Dinosaur Gallery - Hosted Dinner

5 October:

  • Comics Art Museum - Governing Board meeting Day 3
  • Comics Art Museum - Public event: Looking forward: working together to achieve GBIF’s strategic priorities
  • Comics Art Museum - Second meeting of the Executive Committee
  • Meise Botanic Garden - Excursion

6 October:

  • Centre De Conférences Albert Borschette (CCAB) - Biodiversa+/GBIF joint event: Data beyond borders: collaborating to support biodiversity information needs in Eureop and beyond

Radisson Collection Hotel, Grand Place Brussels

Rue du Fosse Aux Loups 47
1000 Brussels

The GBIF committee meetings will take place at the Radisson Collection Hotel, Grand Place Brussels on 2 October.

Comics Art Museum

Rue des Sables/Zandstraat 20
1000 Brussels

The Icebreaker on 2 October and the official Governing Board meeting on 3-5 October will take place at the Comics Art Museum.

The Comics ARt Museum, a true temple dedicated to comic strip art and also an undisputed masterpiece of the Art Nouveau, opened in 1989. In no time, this impressive museum became one of the main attractions of Brussels. Every year mroe than 200,000 visitors come here to explore 4,200 m2 of permanent and temporary exhibitions. It is also a cultural ambassador for Belgium, its regions and communities, a reference in the world of comics as well as a unique documentation center.

This kingdom of imagination is home to some of Belgium’s best-known comic strip heroes: Tintin, Spirou, Bob and Bobette, the Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Blake and Mortimer, Marsupilami, etc.

Rue Vautier/VautierStraat 29
1000 Brussels

The hosted dinner on 4 October will take place at the RBINS in the Dinosaur Gallery.

RBINS is a world-class research institute with more than 250 scientists and scientific collaborators covering a wide range of disciplines from biology to geology, oceanography to taxonomy and palaeontology to ecology. For their research, scientists and researchers often make use of the vast collections which contain almost 38 million specimens.

With a surface area of over 3,000 m2 and dozens of specimens, the Dinosaur Gallery is the largest room in Europe entirely devoted to dinosaurs, their discovery, lives and evolution. Of course, the famous Belgian dinosaurs, the Bernissart Iguandons, have the place of honour: their new glass case alone takes up a tenth of the room.

Meise Botanic Garden

Nieuwelaan 38
1860 Meise

The Excursion on 5 October will take you to the Meise Botanic Garden.

The history of Meise Botanic Garden goes back more than 200 years. The Botanic Garden is located in the grounds of Bouchot Castle, just North of Brussels. It is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world, with its 92 hectares, hosting approximately 18,800 living plants species and its herbarium of about 4 million specimens!

There is always something going on in the Batanic Garden, in sunshine or rain. You can immerse yourself in the topics in the Plant Palace, get to know the Bouchot Castle, or explore the WOODlab

Meise Botanic Garden is also an internationally renowned centre of excellence for plant diversity research, conservation, and documentation. Their science centres on collection-based research of plant diversity, evolution, ecology, and conservation and covers a wide range of taxonomic groups, including plants, algae, fungi, and lichens from all over the world.

Centre De Conférences Albert Borschette (CCAB)

Rue Froissart 36
1040 Etterbeek

The Biodiversa+/GBIF joint event: ‘Data beyond borders: collaborating to support biodiversity information needs in Eureop and beyond’ will take place at the Centre De Conférences Albert Borschette.

Please note that in order to access the CCAB meeting room, all attendees will be asked to submit information on name, nationality, etc.


The location of the meeting venues and some of the nearest hotels can be found in the google map here or by clicking on the map below.

General information


Check here if you need a power plug travel adapter? In Belgium, types C, F and E are the official standards, and operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.


Check for updates of the rules linked to COVID-19 and traveling to Belgium.


Belgium is a small country, but encompasses 3 communities using distinct languages : Dutch (Flemish community), French (French community), German (Germanish community). Most residents in Belgium can understand English and will be happy to help if needed.


Belgium is considered the heart of the European union. The country is a world leader in financial services and has the highest rate of card payments in the world. For your trip to Belgium, you will need a product that lets you spend euros minus the extra international transaction fees. While it is true that the majority of payments in Belgium are made with cards, it is always a good idea to have some Euro cash. You will find some smaller vendors that only accept cash.

Travel money guide: Belgium

Currency: € (Euro’s)

Almost all shops accept cash, credit cards and debit cards (Maestro cards).

Opening hours (for banks and shops)

Most shops will open from 8.00-20.00, varying depending on the type of commerce.
Banks usually have shorter and more variable opening hours, but offer 24-hour access to ATMs.

Personal security

It is always good to know these two urgency phone number when in belgium:

  • 112:Emergency medical assistance and fire services
  • 101: urgent police assistance

The everlasting question of all tourists once they decide to visit a certain city is whether it is safe or dangerous. All in all, Brussels is considered a safe city with a safety score of 60%.

When the risk of using taxis in Brussels is concerned, there is a constant possibility of being overcharged or driven around the city. Licensed taxis are always a better solution. You should be vigilant when in public transport because pickpockets or bag snatchers might happen to be there.

Unfortunately, Brussels is considered one of the top capital cities where pickpocket risk is at a very high level. The whole of Belgium is believed to be unsafe regarding thieves, especially at train stations and subways.

More information:

Telecommunication and internet (mobile phone networks, internet services)

There is good coverage 4G and 5G networks in Belgium, especially in Brussels. Hotels and venues will offer free wifi connections that will also be available in most public/commercial places.

Tips and service gratuities (rules for tipping)

Tipping is not standard in Belgium. Bills do usually include the service charge. Service staff in Belgium do not rely on tips to make up their income. Leaving a tip for cab, restaurants and other services is a welcomed but not mandatory gesture.


In the month of October, maximum temperature is 16°C and minimum temperature is 9°C (for an average temperature of 13°C). The climate is relatively cool in that area in October, but it is bearable by dressing cosy. With 79 mm over 5 days, rain may occur during your stay, with only temporary showers.

As the weather remains unpredictable, we advise you to check the weather in Brussels a few days in advance to adapt your luggage!

Tourist information

General tourism information can be found here and here. TripAdvisor can also help you to find worthwhile activities in Brussels or Belgium.

The Brussels Card is an ideal travelling companion for discovering the fascinating capital of Europe. For 24/48/72 hours, the Brussels Card allows you to benefit from:

  • free access to 49 museums of Brussels, including all highlights. For as long as your card is valid, you can visit the same museum as many times as you like. The Brussels Card gives you free access to all permanent collections of the museums and to most of the temporary exhibitions (except for the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Art & History Museum where you pay the normal entrance fee if you want to visit the temporary exhibitions.
  • discounts to tourist attractions, guided tours, shops, restaurants and bars.
  • free illustrated information guide (100 pages, in 3 languages), free city map and free museum map presenting all Brussels museums.