This section gives an overview of the Belgian business register.
The Belgian business register, the Business Hub Database (French Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises (BCE), Dutch Kruispunktbank van Ondernemingen (KBO)), is managed by an office in the Federal Department of the Economy. The register was created in order to simplify administration and provide a way of identifying businesses unambiguously. The database covers all enterprises, and the law requires all enterprises to register. It also lists businesses’ establishments (or ‘establishment units’): these are the addresses where - or from where - the business conducts its operations. The database also provides links to other databases. It covers not just businesses but other legal persons too. Sole traders, public bodies, and in some cases foreign businesses, are all included.
Everyone can consult the public data concerning businesses free of charge, using the online ‘Public Search’ function.
This search engine makes it possible to search for businesses or establishments using various search criteria. An ‘Open Data’ file is also available free of charge: this can be reused by any interested person provided they register. The ‘Public Search’ function makes it possible to include a large part of the public data in the user’s own applications. However, this latter service is provided for a fee.
The ‘Public Search’ function allows you to search data on all businesses, whether they are currently active or whether they have ceased trading, and whether they are legal persons or sole traders, and on their establishments.
At the level of the enterprise:
At the level of the individual establishment:
Companies are required to disclose certain information and documents. The purpose is particularly to ensure that these things can be relied upon in dealings with third parties. In Belgium, such information has to be published in the official gazette; annual accounts have to be published via the Central Balance Sheet Office (Centrale des bilans/Balanscentrale) at the central bank. Article 76 of the Companies Code sets out the rules governing when documents and information can be relied upon after disclosure.
Article 76 of the Companies Code stipulates that documents and information that have to be disclosed have effects vis-à-vis third parties only from the date on which they are published in extract form or reported in the annexes to the official gazette, unless the company can demonstrate that these third parties were aware of them earlier.
Third parties may nevertheless rely upon documents that have not been published.
Where a transaction takes place before the 16th day following the date of publication, it has no effect vis-à-vis third parties who can demonstrate that they had no way of knowing about it.
In the event of a discrepancy between the text that was filed and the text that was published in the annexes to the official gazette, the text published cannot be relied upon against third parties. However, third parties themselves may invoke it, unless the company can demonstrate that they were in fact aware of the text that was filed.
In the event of a discrepancy between documents that must be filed in an official language of the country and translations into one or more official languages of the European Union that are filed voluntarily, the translations published voluntarily cannot be relied upon against third parties. But third parties may rely upon such voluntarily published translations, unless the company can show that they were aware of the version referred to in Article 67(1)(2) of the Companies Code, which refers to certified copies of authentic documents, duplicates or originals of private deeds, and statements that must be filed, in electronic form or not, with the registry of the commercial court.
The information regarding enterprises that is accessible via the ‘Public Search’ function includes direct links to the notice published in the official gazette and to the central bank’s Central Balance Sheet Office.
How to search
This link will take you to the Public Search function:
There are four different search options, separated by tabs:
The internet site is available in four languages: English, Dutch, French and German.
You will find general information on the Business Hub Database through the website of the Federal Department of the Economy (in the section ‘Enterprises & Self-Employed’ (Entreprises & Indépendants/Ondernemingen & Zelfstandigen), under the heading Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises/Kruispuntbank van Ondernemingen.
The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.