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Old 18.09.2012, 23:02
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Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

Hi All

We are going to Antwerpen to visit some friends and relatives. We have decided do this by Car and as this is the first time I go to this country I was researching information about tolls and driving regulations there and found some things like that in Belgium is not allowed to use the cruise control on motorways, is this right? I have never heard about it before in other countries, does someone knows the reason? I'm also curious if I should have the CH stick on the car. I normally travel to Germany, Italy and France by Car and I have never used such stick and also never had problems there. By the way I'm thinking in go through Germany instead of France, does someone have any experience with this route and compare it with the french option?

thanks
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Old 18.09.2012, 23:08
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

You could go via a5, a61, Kaiserslautern, Trier, Ardennes. Should be quite nice at this time of the year.

Don't worry about driving there. belgians are very relaxed in driving - with the exception of Brussels
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Old 18.09.2012, 23:20
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

Driving in France would be more relaxing than in Germany. German Autobahns are fast & can be frightening to a novice!

Switzerland is not in the EU so your Swiss car needs a CH sticker.

The best route is via Basel, Strasbourg and Luxembourg, avoid going near Brussels at rush hour!

Buy fuel in Longwy Luxembourg it is cheaper.

http://maps.google.de/maps?hl=en&tab=wl E411 route is shortest, 702 Km, taking 7 hours 14 minutes

Belgium only began a driving test around 1980! Be careful, they are prone to accidents!

http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?24510-Over-60-of-failure-at-Belgian-driving-tests

http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2012...-license-test/

.

Last edited by Sbrinz; 18.09.2012 at 23:39.
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Old 18.09.2012, 23:29
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

Thanks for the advices, but I'm not a novice, I'm used with the German Autobahns as well with the French Autoroutes

I never used the stickers in Germany, France nor Italy and it was never an issue, but it will be my first time driving through the Netherlands and Belgium
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Old 19.09.2012, 00:52
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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I never used the stickers in Germany, France nor Italy and it was never an issue, but it will be my first time driving through the Netherlands and Belgium
Well you should have been, remember if you do end up through France to have your breathalisers along with everything else you have to carry and have access to from within the car in each country...
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Old 19.09.2012, 01:07
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

yes but its not enforced until november, but anyway its only a €11 fine if you dont have them
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Old 19.09.2012, 01:24
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

I do this trip once a month and remain in Germany for the duration. THen I go through holland for the final part. I live near maastricht so it is quicker that way.


WHATEVER YOU DO; do not follow your GPS as it will send you through every town, every farm road and every parking. I (no joking) smached mine after it made me go through all this (it was an older garmin that was on its way out but damn did it feel good )

I drive
Bulle -basel-karlsruhe- mannheim,koblenz-aachen-eindhoven.

Takes me 6.5-7h every time
in germany there is lots of traffic at the moment due to construction. but I like to drive fast so I go that way. 65-70% is 130 kph rest is unlimited speed


You do not need a CH sticker as I have done this trip 50+ times in the last 4 years. Likely noone will be at the border anyways.
Belgians are VERY good drivers since the test is "extremely" tough to pass. IN larger cities it is everyone for themselves however. Antwerp is a nightmare to drive in and for parking.

On the Autobahn 95% of the people are slow drivers 100-120kph in unristricted areas so no issue there either. Just be carefull for the ones going 200+
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Old 19.09.2012, 06:49
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

You must have a CH sticker fixed to the bodywork, (not the glass). Grumpy border guards can send you back to buy one.

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/0_741_10/a37.html
Ausser dem Kennzeichen muss jedes Kraftfahrzeug im internationalen Verkehr hinten, ein Unterscheidungszeichen des Staates (CH) führen, in dem es zugelassen ist.
Except for the registration plates for each motor vehicle in international traffic, there must be on the rear a distinguishing sign of the State (CH), in which it is licensed.


If you go via Germany there will be many delays due to heavy traffic. Some parts have very fast traffic.

It is a shorter journey & much quieter via France, and you can buy cheap petrol in Luxembourg. Both Google and TomTom send you via Strasbourg and Luxembourg. Use an up to date navigator and set it to the fastest route, not the shortest, or you will be sent via the towns and car parks!
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Old 19.09.2012, 07:06
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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. Just be carefull for the ones going 200+
They will be the swiss drivers that know the speed cameras in Belium are defective above 150kms/hr
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Old 19.09.2012, 07:24
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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You could go via a5, a61, Kaiserslautern, Trier, Ardennes. Should be quite nice at this time of the year.

Don't worry about driving there. belgians are very relaxed in driving - with the exception of Brussels
God, no! Belgians are some of the worst drivers in Europe - half of them is slower than the Dutch and the other half some sort of French hot hatch driving maniacs. I was more scared to drive in Brussels than in Italy, I think this says it all.

I am from Trier and lived in Zurich seven years, so I tested all alternatives...

1. By far the best is Basel-Strassbourg-Luxembourg. You can make a shortcut at Molsheim, which is not only faster but a really pretty area to drive through. The fees for the French highways really differ by region and here they seem to be only a fraction of what you pay in Paris or Southern France. It was something around 5 EUR for an empty and well maintained street.

2. If you go through Germany, take the A5 from Basel to Karlsruhe. You will not be intimidated by the speed as you will typically be either in some road works or some traffic jam. I like to drive fast but only do so when the situation on the Autobahn permits - on this one it hardly ever does... In Karlsruhe you can take the B10 and cut a long piece of the highway route - it is quite scenic and a nice country route, but heavy traffic can slow you down. Be aware that there are plenty of speed cams on the first five km you are driving around Karlsruhe.

Bottom line: France is more relaxing and depending on the time of the day usually faster (I usually went home on Friday afternoons where the a5 is just pure horror to drive). I did use the German route frequently, but only when I had a good reason for it, for example a stop at the huge designer outlets in Zweibruecken, which is really worth a visit if you do not like the prices Swiss retailers have...

P.S> I drove for years without the CH sticker and nobody cared, even in controls did I not get any fine or even warning. I know that you are legally obliged to, but since the other foreigners within the EU typically don't anymore (thanks to the EU number plates) did this one seem to have dropped from the typical cop's routine.

Last edited by Treverus; 19.09.2012 at 07:35.
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Old 19.09.2012, 07:28
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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They will be the swiss drivers that know the speed cameras in Belium are defective above 150kms/hr
That's a myth. I have photographic evidence that proves the opposite.
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Old 19.09.2012, 10:51
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

http://www.viamichelin.com/ will give you a cost estimate for fuel and tolls.
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Old 19.09.2012, 11:02
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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I never used the stickers in Germany, France nor Italy and it was never an issue
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Well you should have been
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You must have a CH sticker fixed to the bodywork, (not the glass). Grumpy border guards can send you back to buy one.
I thought we'd done this one to death. Regardless of the actual written rules, in practice you do not need a CH sticker. Over the years we must have been stopped on Swiss plates by police a dozen times, and by border Douaniers probably several hundred, given we cross the border nearly every day. Never once has the lack of a sticker been mentioned, including times when we've actually been done for some other infraction.

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, remember if you do end up through France to have your breathalisers along with everything else you have to carry and have access to from within the car in each country...
Likewise, in practice the French Police are not in the slightest bit interested in checking these things. I was stopped and fined in France last week (failure to stop at one of the stupid, completely unnecessary, revenue-gathering stop signs) and despite getting a bit arsey with the head man (there were four of them) they never asked to see anything except the carte gris.

Whether they'll start asking about the breath test kits after November 1st I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me if, like the reflective jackets, they don't bother about them.

Last edited by Guest; 19.09.2012 at 11:29. Reason: Speelung
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Old 19.09.2012, 11:06
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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You must have a CH sticker fixed to the bodywork, (not the glass). Grumpy border guards can send you back to buy one.

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/0_741_10/a37.html
Ausser dem Kennzeichen muss jedes Kraftfahrzeug im internationalen Verkehr hinten, ein Unterscheidungszeichen des Staates (CH) führen, in dem es zugelassen ist.
Except for the registration plates for each motor vehicle in international traffic, there must be on the rear a distinguishing sign of the State (CH), in which it is licensed.

If you go via Germany there will be many delays due to heavy traffic. Some parts have very fast traffic.

It is a shorter journey & much quieter via France, and you can buy cheap petrol in Luxembourg. Both Google and TomTom send you via Strasbourg and Luxembourg. Use an up to date navigator and set it to the fastest route, not the shortest, or you will be sent via the towns and car parks!
We have crossed the borders many times over the last 6-7 years, never with a CH sticker and have never been stopped and ordered to buy one. It may be the law, but they don't seem to enforce it very strongly. This has been at crossings in Basel, Vallorbe, St. Bernard, St. Margarethen, and over the Simplon pass/tunnel.
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Old 19.09.2012, 11:22
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

We do this route quite often and always go via France (Basel - Strasbourg - Metz - Luxembourg). If there is a lot of traffic around Basel, we do the first bit via Germany (just about 30km) and then switch to France (to Mulhouse, both highways are parallel the first bit and really close).
Some of our friends in Zürich who often go back to Antwerp tend to go via Germany (up to Aachen and then into Belgium) because you are allowed to drive faster. Rules for speeding have become a lot stricter in France recently.
Highway tolls in France are around 15€ (one time is around 9€, 2nd time 4€ something).
As mentioned here already, fueling up in Luxembourg will save you quite some money! You come across 2 stations along the highway in Luxembourg and the 2nd one is generally less crowded. If you have time and go off the highway, fuel is even cheaper.
Brussels and Antwerp are best avoided around peak hours, traffic jams are just part of daily life (god, one of the things I really don't miss!).
When it comes to speeding, there are quite some speeding cameras so watch out. What I have heard is that if they take your picture, they will not bother sending you the ticket as there is no agreement between Belgium and Switzerland to send speeding tickets (is also my experience). Just make sure you don't get stopped as in that case, you may have to pay up right away.
The CH sticker, might be legally obliged but they couldn't bother less in Belgium (a friend working with the police told me this).

Enjoy Belgium... good food, nice shopping, delicious chocolate and beers!
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Old 19.09.2012, 11:42
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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Switzerland is not in the EU so your Swiss car needs a CH sticker.
This is absolutely not connected with the EU in any way. For ex. a car with a Iranian license plate does not need a sticker. Why? Because it follows the international standard (Vienna road convention) and has the national distinction letters as part of the license plate. So, if you have a EU license plate w/o the blue strip you will theoretically need a sticker too.

De jure you need a CH sticker on the car. De facto it is enough to have one in the glove box. Exception is maybe around car tunning conventions where it is the last resort of the police to frisk and bugger you.

France or Germany? France, may cost you toll, but that is the reason why there are so fewer cars. Way more relaxing and less stressful as over taking trucks is so much easier. If you like cruise control then this may be your favorite. AFAIK, there is a construction site at Strasbourg.
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Old 19.09.2012, 16:32
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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This is absolutely not connected with the EU in any way. For ex. a car with a Iranian license plate does not need a sticker.
Which part is it difficult to understand? It is Swiss law, not Iranian law. The OP asked and she was told the facts http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/0_741_10/a37.html . Unlike EU plates, there is no CH incorporated into the Swiss number plate. A Bern car should not be confused with a Berlin car.

I have lived abroad in Germany, and then here, continually since 1977. I can really assure you there are some bloody minded border guards out there, and so why spoil a holiday for the sake of putting a CH sticker on the back?
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Old 19.09.2012, 18:12
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Re: Travelling to Belgium by Car Advices

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Which part is it difficult to understand?
This:
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Switzerland is not in the EU so your Swiss car needs a CH sticker.
The problem is not that Switzerland is not part of the EU but as you rightly state that the letters CH are not part of the Swiss number plate (as defined in the Vienna convention on road traffic Annex 2). Switzerland is free to come up with a new license plate design which follows the convention w/o joining the EU. (They may do shortly before Zurich or Berne will have more than 1 Million registered cars)

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Unlike EU plates, there is no CH incorporated into the Swiss number plate. A Bern car should not be confused with a Berlin car.
And as long as a Swiss car is only driven in Switzerland no CH Sticker is needed. And when a Iranian car which has IR as part of the license plate comes into Switzerland no IR sticker is needed. And when a German, French, or Belgian car w/o the blue stripe enters Switzerland the corresponding Sticker is de jure needed. But de facto nobody cares. (And as we will see later inside the EU too when such a car leaves its home country.)

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It is Swiss law, not Iranian law. The OP asked and she was told the facts http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/0_741_10/a37.html .
The OP asked what laws applies to a Swiss car in a foreign country.
You linked Swiss law that applies to foreign cars that enter Switzerland, how the hell does it apply to a Swiss car driving in a foreign country? Switzerland has (nearly) no jurisdiction on things happening aboard.

Now here comes the funny thing. The law you linked to is actually not only Swiss, but Iranian, Belgium, and German law altogether. It is international law and known as the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, you can find a list of all contracting parties at the UNECE. See, nothing to do with the EU at all, but indeed with with Iran.

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I have lived abroad in Germany, and then here, continually since 1977. I can really assure you there are some bloody minded border guards out there, and so why spoil a holiday for the sake of putting a CH sticker on the back?
Why ruin the paint of the car for an event that is a) very unlikely to happen b) can be solved with a spare sticker from the glove box? Ten years of recent experience with Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Slovenia, Croatia, and GB as well.
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