Practical Details

GENERAL INFORMATION ON MECHELEN
Mechelen or Mechlin is a historically important city located on the river Dyle in the center of Flanders, one of the three regions in Belgium. It lies about halfway between Antwerp and Brussels. It was notably a centre for artistic production during the Northern Renaissance, when painters, printmakers, illuminators and composers of polyphony were attracted by patrons such as Margaret of York, Margaret of Austria and Hieronymus van Busleyden.
ENTRY REQUIREMENT TO BELGIUM

Every person entering Belgium must possess a valid Passport with a minimum of two blank pages, or an internationally recognized Travel Document valid for travel to Belgium. Belgium is a party to the Schengen Agreement therefore the documents must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. Please contact your local the Belgium Embassy or consulate to verify if you require a visa to enter Belgium.

  1. Do you need a visa in an Ordinary/National passport?

Please check on www.ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/apply_for_a_visa_en

  1. Do you need a visa in a diplomatic /service passport?

Please check with the Embassy / Consulate of Belgium that is competent for your place of residence  www.diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/embassies_and_consulates/belgian_embassies_and_consulates_abroad

Being exempted from visa for the Benelux (=Belgium, The Netherlands & Luxemburg) does not automatically imply that there is an exemption for other Schengen countries. This is to be taken into account should your travel plans include a transit or visits in a third Schengen country.

  1. How do I proceed if there is no Belgian consulate in my country of residence?

Countries where a Schengen Partner represents Belgium.

In countries where Belgium has no Embassy or Consulate or in countries where the Belgian Representation does not deliver visas, the competent Belgian Embassy /Consulate will draw the attention of the Schengen Partner that represents Belgium on the applications that will be made there within the framework of the Conference.

Countries where Belgium is not represented by a Schengen Partner.

 In countries where Belgium is not represented by a Schengen Partner, the applicant has to contact the competent Belgium Embassy/ Consulate to introduce his application.

  1. What documents are required in my application?
  • Valid travel document (national passport  – validity at least 3 months longer than the delivered visa)
  • Official invitation to the Conference
  • If your travel expenses are not covered by the organizers: proof of sufficient financial means
  • For holders of ordinary/national passports only : a travel insurance
  1. When to apply?

At least three weeks prior to the date of intended departure.

  1. Special remarks.
  • Some nationalities are subject to a compulsory security clearance by the Schengen partners. Do note that this clearance takes on average 12 days to obtain once the file is sent by the Embassy /Consulate. Apply well in time.
  • Some Belgian Consulates  or Schengen partners representing Belgium have an electronic appointment system. For obvious reasons it wise to check well in advance whether an appointment has to be made.
  1. How to contact us for more info on the visa?

Contact e-mail address of Foreign Affairs, Visa Direction Brussels infovisa@diplobel.fed.be

GETTING TO MECHELEN

Mechelen is centrally located and is easily accessible from the various airports and by train from practically any Belgian or European city. It only takes 20 minutes from Brussels, Leuven and Antwerp. For additional information, please refer to the following link.

Taxi’s in Mechelen are officially licensed by the City of Mechelen. The drivers are well-versed about the city, and can direct or take you to anywhere you may want to visit within the city. The taxi’s provide personalized airport pick-ups which cost approximately €60. For more information, please contact: TAXI VANDER AA +32478552424 or email: vanderaajan@hotmail.com.

  1. From Brussels Airport

The airport is 25 km from Mechelen and you can either travel by train, bus or hire a car to Mechelen. The simplest and fastest way is by train.

  1. By train:

    The Brussels Airport railway station is on level 1. The Brussels Airport Express leaves for Brussels Central Station four times an hour. From Brussels Central Station, there are regular departures by train to Mechelen. The journey takes approximately half an hour. There is also a direct express train that will get you to Mechelen Central Station in just eight minutes! A ticket costs approx. €7. For more information please check: www.nmbs.be

  2. By bus:

    The airport bus station is on level 0. The bus service is De Lijn and it has a direct bus to Mechelen station twice an hour, including lines 282, 681, 682, 683 and 686. Bus line 686 only runs on weekdays. The bus journey takes between 45 and 50 minutes. A ticket costs approx. €3. For more information please check: www.delijn.be

  3. By (hire) car:

    At Brussels Airport you will find various car hire companies, including Hertz, Avis and Europcar. On leaving the airport car park, you immediately come to the motorway. Travel towards Antwerp (E19) and take exit 10 (Mechelen-Zuid) or exit 9 (Mechelen-Noord). The journey takes approximately 25 minutes.

  1. From Charleroi Airport (Brussels South)

The airport is 95 km from Mechelen and you can either take the bus or the train to Mechelen.

  1. By bus and train:

    At Charleroi Airport you can buy a ticket which combines the bus to Charleroi-South with the train to Mechelen Central Station. The two ticket- vending machines are located outside the airport, adjacent to Door 2. Your journey will take approximately one and a half hours. A bus and train combination ticket costs approximately €15. The train to Mechelen leaves twice an hour, as does the bus between Charleroi airport and Charleroi-South station. For more information please check: www.infotec.be, www.nmbs.be

  2. By (hire)car:

    Several car hire companies have desks at Charleroi Airport, including Avis, Europcar and Hertz. On leaving the airport car park, take the E42 direction Brussels and then the N5 direction Waterloo or the A54 direction Brussels. When you get to Brussels, take the ring road and then the E19 direction Antwerp. You then take exit 10 (Mechelen-Zuid) or exit 9 (Mechelen-Noord). The journey takes approximately one hour.

  1. From Antwerp Airport

The Antwerp airport is 25 km from Mechelen and you can save a lot of time both on arrival and departure by using this small airport. Distances between the departure lounge and the planes are short which means you can check in up to twenty minutes before your flight leaves. On arrival at Antwerp Airport you can expect to leave the airport building some ten minutes after landing. From there you can easily get to Mechelen by bus and train.

  1. By bus and train:

    Bus 14 will take you from Antwerp airport to Antwerpen-Berchem railway station in ten minutes. A ticket costs approx. €2. From Antwerpen-Berchem station there is a frequent train service to Mechelen, with approximately four trains an hour destined for Central Station. The journey takes between 15 and 20 minutes. A ticket costs approx. €4.

  2. By (hire)car:

    Both Avis and Hertz have desks at Antwerp Airport. On leaving the airport, drive straight on into Vosstraat. At the first roundabout turn left into Deurnestraat. At the end turn right into Antwerpsestraat. After approximately 500m turn left into Jozef Hermanslei, and then right into Frans Van Dunlaan. Then get onto the Antwerp ring-road. Take the E19 direction Brussels. Once in Mechelen take exit 10 (Mechelen-Zuid) or exit 9 (Mechelen-Noord). The journey time by car is approximately 25 minutes.

TRANSPORT WITHIN MECHELEN - Public Transportation and Taxis

Since 7 December 2011, the heart of the Mechelen centre has been car-free. Lamot Conference and Heritage Centre can still be accessed easily by car. However, we would still like to encourage our visitors to use public transport. If one chooses use private transport, there is relatively inexpensive peripheral car parks ‘Zandpoortvest 1 & 2’, for those coming from Brussels, and the ‘Rode Kruisplein’ car park for those coming from Antwerp. Both car parks are within walking distance of Lamot.

By Train

Mechelen has 2 stations: Mechelen Central and Mechelen-Nekkerspoel. Both stations are a walking distance from the city centre. From Mechelen Central, it takes about fifteen-minutes to walk to the Grote Market, and barely 10 minutes from Mechelen-Nekkerspoel. Please bear in mind that not all trains stop in Mechelen-Nekkerspoel.

There is also a station in Muizen that is a walking distance from Planckendael zoo.

You will find more information about the timetables of the trains on the website of the nmbs (Belgian Railways) or in the stations.

By Bus

There are short distance bus rides within Mechelen. A day ticket which allows you to use the bus as many times as you like, costs about €10 and a 5-day pass costs €15. There is also a subsidized bus ticket which costs about €3.

The bus operating company De Lijn, has buses that operate short distance within the city and long distance to the rest of the region. The regional lines buses depart on an hourly basis and the urban lines usually after every fifteen minutes. There are reduced services on weekends and during the school holidays.

Consult the network map for detailed information about the bus lines in Mechelen.

By the Centrumpendel or Centre shuttle

Mechelen’s Central Station is within walking distance of Grote Markt but there are also plenty of shuttle buses (no. 1) that can take you to and from these locations. The Centre shuttle or “centrumpendel” leaves from platform 11 to Grote Markt. If you want to get to the station from Grote Markt, then hop on the shuttle bus in Schoenmarkt or Veemarkt.

By Taxi

Taxi’s in Mechelen are officially licensed by the City of Mechelen. The drivers are well-versed about the city, and can direct or take you to anywhere you may want to visit within the city. The taxi’s provide personalized airport pick-ups which cost approximately €60. For more information, please contact: TAXI VANDER AA +32478552424 or email: vanderaajan@hotmail.com.

MEETING VENUE

The Global Conference on Cities and Migrants will be held at the Lamot Conference and Heritage Centre which is a multifunctional and integrated house.  The commercial conference Centre provides 8 multifunctional rooms and facilities for business meetings, events and parties. It is situated at the waterside, in the historic centre of Mechelen.

It was formerly a brewery, where up until the eighties the legendary Lamot beer was produced. Today, it is one of the most daring feats of contemporary architecture right in the heart of Mechelen.

There are a range of parking facilities and hotels within walking distance of Lamot. Lamot is centrally and strategically located between Brussels and Antwerp and is easily accessible. Lamot plays host to both national and international companies.

ONLINE REGISTRATION

If you are a confirmed participant to the Global Conference on Cities and Migration through the Expression of Interest process then you will have received a password by email in order to fill out the online registration for the conference.

CURRENCY

Belgium is one of the 15 countries that use the Euro as its national currency.

The Euro (€) is a decimally-based currency, 1€ comprising of 100 cents.

  • Coins – 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, 1 and 2€
  • Notes/Bills – 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500€

You can exchange your foreign currency for Euros at the usual outlets, banks, post offices and foreign exchange counters. Banks are generally open 9:30 to 16:00 Monday through Friday. Post Offices in Belgium are open 9:00 to 17:45 Monday to Friday and 9:00 to 12:00 on Saturday in the larger towns and cities.

Credit cards are widely used and accepted in Belgium, VISA is the credit card of choice, but MasterCard will be accepted in most outlets. American Express and Diners Club are not as widely accepted.

For the tourist, debit cards should be enabled on the Maestro or Cirrus network in order that you can use these in Belgium. Proton, Bancontact and Mister Cash are Belgium’s three debit networks, but these are only available to use if you hold a Belgian bank account.

WEATHER CONDITION

Weather in Mechelen is influenced by Marine – Mild Winter climate. The average temperature of all months is lower than 22°C (72°F). In November the normal temperature is 6.5°C with a high of 9.2°C and a low of 3.6°C.

LANGUAGE
Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German. The primary language is Dutch, spoken by nearly 60% of the population, while French is spoken by just over 30% and German by less than 1%.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

The standard voltage in Belgium is 230 V, the standard frequency is 50 Hz and the power sockets are of type E. This socket also works with plug C and with plug F if it has an additional pinhole. You can use your electric appliances in Belgium, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 – 240 V.

TIME DIFFERENCE

Mechelen is located in CEST (Europe/Brussels) time zone. Difference to Greenwich mean time in hours: GMT+2.

COMMUNICATION

There are three main cell phone operators in Belgium: Proximus, Base and Orange. They provide good cell phone coverage and roaming services. The locals call their SIM Cards chips or kartes, and can be purchased by using identification, passports and SIM registration. Credit can be purchased from official stores, supermarkets and Brussels International Airport. Top-ups can also be made online through official websites.

Internet is widespread in Belgium and the service is also available to the public via internet cafes, hotels, and many outlets offer free WiFi to their patrons.

Belgium’s international calling code is +32.

HEALTH INFORMATION

There are no special immunizations or medications necessary when traveling to Belgium. Belgium has high-quality medical facilities and services widely available. In case of emergency you can contact the emergency services by dialing 112.