Climate & weather
Belgium has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Since the country is small there is little variation in climate from region to region, although the marine influences are less inland. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with a dryer period from April to September. Especially in fall and winter strong atlantic low-pressure systems can bring gales and uncomfortable weather. Sometimes easterly winds can cause a more continental type of weather, warm and dry in the summer, but cold and clear in the winter with temperatures sometimes far below zero.
Belgium is a flat country and has often breezy conditions, although more in the winter than in the summer, and more among the coastal areas than inland. In the eastern regions hills cause a cooler and wetter climate with more rainfall and sometimes heavy snowfall in the winter.
A city with a fairly stable climate, the weather in Ghent changes only slightly month by month, meaning that the main seasons gently blur into each other and are often quite hard to distinguish. Ghent's winter climate is quite mild and night-time temperatures from December through February generally hover just above freezing, warming up gradually in March.
As the spring climate arrives in Ghent, the whole city is blessed with fresh bursts of springtime flowers, indicating that the winter weather is now long behind. Both the months of April and May are especially appealing times to pay a visit to Ghent, when daytime temperatures are generally around 15°C / 59°F and can even top 20°C / 68°F on the very sunniest of days, particularly in May.
Except during severe winter weather in the Ardennes, the weather and climate of Belgium are rarely unpleasant or uncomfortable. Average daily sunshine amounts range from about two hours a day in January to between seven and eight hours in June.
Get further information and your daily forecast at the Royal Meteorological Institute.
The coastal plain consists mainly of sand dunes and polders. Further inland lies a smooth, slowly rising landscape irrigated by numerous waterways, with fertile valleys and the northeastern sandy plain of the Campine (Kempen). The central part of the country is of moderate elevation and consists of gently rolling countryside. Here the climate is a little colder in winter and warmer in summer than along the coast. It is also rather wetter in summer and thunderstorms are more frequent. The north and centre of the country contain the most productive agricultural districts and the largest towns.
The southern third of the country is rather sparsely populated. This is the Ardennes region which consists of forested hills with an average elevation of 300-500 m/1,000-1,600 ft. The thickly forested hills and plateaus of the Ardennes are more rugged and rocky with caves and small gorges, and offer much of Belgium's wildlife but little agricultural capability.
Taking care of the environment and nature is a constant challenge for Belgium. A careful balance between densely populated areas and vunerable natural areas has to be achieved.
Besides the main city parks, Ghent offers smaller and often suprising green corners - exuding peace and quiet. Ghent's main nature reserve Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen is spread out over 230 hectares of flooding area. It is an important nesting place for migrating birds.
- Belgium's nature in pictures
- Belgian Government website: environment
- Dangerous animals in Belgium
- BirdLife Belgium - Natuurpunt (in Dutch only)
- Dutch website on Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen
- Ghent University Botanical Garden
Waste and recycling
The educational and civic authorities are fully committed to sustainable development and the creation of an environmentally friendly city.
They encourage citizens and students to reduce their garbage production, to properly sort their garbage, to use energy in a responsible and sustainable way and to adopt sustainable transportation.
In Ghent garbage needs to be sorted. This overview explains the different kinds of waste, and how they are collected. It also mentions some tips and tricks for reducing the amount of waste you produce.