Campaign promotes Belgium as a country of innovation

"Embracing openness" is the slogan of a new international campaign launched by prime minister Alexander De Croo on Wednesday to market Belgium abroad.

De Croo did not opt for usual suspects like the Manneken Pis statue in Brussels, chips or chocolate. By instead promoting Belgium as a country of innovation, the PM aims his campaigns at economic decision-makers. "We should be a bit less modest," he says.

It is not the first time the prime minister's office has launched a branding campaign. The previous one dates from 2017 and was called "Belgium, uniquely phenomenal", a campaign that came about after the 2016 Brussels terror attacks and had a more tourism-oriented angle, touting Belgium as a place worth visiting.

Analysis shows that the country is gaining international recognition as a pole of innovation and technology , marked by openness, diversity and willingness to cooperate. A downside, in turn, is that Belgium suffers from a lack of visibility and is "far too modest". "We tend to put our problems on display abroad and hold our assets close to the chest," De Croo said.

According to De Croo, the new campaign, launched today with an event at the Residence Palace in Brussels, fits into the context of how the country has "put itself out there" over the past three years. This happened, for instance, with the production of vaccines against the coronavirus, semiconductor research and a leading role in offshore energy - all results of innovation.

"Beer and chocolate are great, but our real strengths lie in biotech and semiconductors. It may sound less sexy, but that is what really matters"

This is why the campaign does not zoom in on "traditional" Belgian assets but instead focuses on the country's economic strengths. "We need to strengthen that story," De Croo says. "Beer and chocolate are great, but our real strengths lie in biotech and semiconductors. It may sound less sexy, but that is what really matters."

The campaign will run until April 2026 and will cost around 1 million euros, but the PM's office expects it can deliver a good return. Digital ads in international financial-economic newspapers are being targeted, supported by stakeholder events.




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